Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will accompany cardinals
meeting to choose his successor, but only in prayer and from a
distance, in the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo.
"Now, silently, but with profound understanding, he is with all of us in prayer," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said Tuessday.
Benedict's private secretary, Georg Gaenswein - who attended Tuesday's special pre-conclave mass - is keeping the former pontiff up to date on goings-on at the Vatican, said Lombardi.
Gaenswein, a prefect of the papal residence, was also expected to accompany the cardinals into the Sistine Chapel, where they will deliberate and choose a new pope. However, he and all other non-voters will have to leave the chapel once the conclave starts.
Lombardi said the former pope, German-born Joseph Ratzinger, had also paid close attention to meetings of the cardinals - known as General Congregations - during the last week.
"He is thoroughly informed, he's watching it on television," said Lombardi. He added that Ratzinger, who stepped down on February 28, is aware of the details of conversations conducted between cardinals in the last week.
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