WHEN THE POPE IS DEAD ..
Catholic Herald Correspondent The papal decree, drawn up by Pope John makes a number of changes in the procedure to be followed after the death of a Pope.
Among other things it rules that the records of the election of a pontiff should he preserved in the Vatican secret archives rather than be burned as has been the law for centuries.
The ban on photographs is seen as aiming against a repetition of the scandal four years ago when newspapers were sold photographs and intimate details of the death agony of Pope Pius XII. The Decree, which modifies several points of the Apostolic Con
stitution Vat:antis Apostolic-a' sedis, issued by Pope Pius XII will be known by its opening words Summi Pontificis electio.
It rules in part that: I. Na one shall be allowed to take photographs or make recordings in the papal apartments while the Pope is dying or after his death. Anyone wishing to take pictures of a dead pope as "proof or evidence" must obtain permission to do so from the Cardinal Camerlengo. Such pictures will only be allowed when the body has been =lathed in pontifical vestments. 2. At the end of the funeral rites. the Pope's body will be taken immediately to the Vatican grottoes under St. Peter's Basilica, escorted by five cardinals and a number of canons of St. Peter's. Only those cardinals and the dead pope's relatives and specialised workers are allowed to be present when the coffin is sealed.
3. No one will be allowed to live in any part of the papal apartments between the pope's death and the election of his successor by a conclave of Cardinals. 4. Records of the outcome of each vote in the conclave shall be sealed and preserved in the Vatican archives rather than burned. No one will he allowed to see them except by personal permission of the reigning pope.
The changes ordered by Pope John. himself an historian, appear designed to preserve precious material for historians of future centuries, Other articles of the Motu Proprio modify some parts of the oath which cardinals take before the conclave and lift the threat of excommunication for any cardinals not convening for conclave sessions after three successive singings of a bell.
The Pope also changed the maiority required for the election of a pope. Under Pope Pius' Constitution the majority was two thirds of those voting plus one. The new decree makes it a simple twothirds majority if the number of cardinals present can be divided by threeIf it cannot, one additional vote is required. If the new pope is present in the conclave, he must also be included in the total.
The Motu Proprio of Pope John XXIII lays down that the conclave be canonically considered as closed as soon as the new pontiff has been elected.