On Thursday, the last cardinal had arrived from Vietnam. The rest of the international college had intensively discussed in the days before in regular plenary sessions in the Nervi Hall and in numerous meetings in the palaces and in the corridors of the Vatican, as well as in many places around St. Peter's, the profile of a successor - and the tasks that are coming towards the poor man.
The cardinals themselves cannot speak a word, since they had to swear all individually before the Plenary strict secrecy. No wonder that the rumor mill since then has been working as has not seen for years.
What is known before the imposition of the information embargo was this: all the guests from the five continents will find in Rome finally precisely what has happened in the last few months at the Vatican.
The secret kingmakers
The Cardinal Julián Herranz (82) from Spain, Jozef Tomko (89) from Slovakia and southern Italian Salvatore De Giorgi (82) who last year on behalf of Benedict XVI scrupulously researched the background of the document leak from the table of the Pope, are therefore now already considered as the secret kingmakers.
Certainly, the three in any case more remove more than one cardinal from the race. Because they have made in individual meetings with their brothers certainly no secret of their findings. The 300-page dossier, in which they have recorded the findings and results of their investigations is destined only for the next Pope.
However, many details of their investigations have obviously spread anyway a long way in the corridors of the Vatican long ago - wherein many initiates did not need their own investigations to be in the picture, which normally does not penetrate through the walls of the Vatican to the outside.
"The Curia finished off Benedict XVI"
"The Curia finished off Benedict XVI", is therefore not an unusual assessment in the alleys and streets around Saint Peters. The future Pope must "clean up" the Vatican bureaucracy "from the ground up", the American Archbishop Charles Chaput told the Roman newspaper "Il Messaggero" on Thursday.
These "punishing tasks" requires an energy that Benedict XVI. obviously could not any more bring and therefore it was logical to abdicated his office. He also had thwarted several consequences and plans by this last step of his official resignation, although this was a personal option for himself, not just a possibility, which he for a long time saw joined in principle with this office .
"If the Pope can see that he can absolutely not continue, then surely he would resign," Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger already told on the 11 March 2002John Schießl, the chief editor of the Munich diocesan newspaper. His decision of 11 February sprang not only from his own personal well-being, but his understanding of the Petrine ministry as a whole. With this understanding of office still not all in the Catholic Church agree, not even among the cardinals.
No clear favorite to succeed
As opposed to the conclave of 2005, when Joseph Ratzinger was by far the best-known face, there are no clear favorites for the succession and also no clear clash between conservatives and progressives.
This time, Cardinals from around the world are united and divided, especially by the question of how much they agree with the spectacular last step of Benedict XVI- or how much they reject it. Only after the election of a successor, can therefore the complex meaning of his resignation be assessed.
In this game, the daring step of the last Pope was a gamble with the Holy Spirit. For his successor could again thwart all decrees, which he has taken for his future - or else he could be associated with a never before experienced double pontificate, as long as "Benedictus XVI emeritus." still lives.
Understanders of the Papacy quoted
Before this election but now especially, the pundits and understanders of the Papacy such as David Berger have the floor, who is currently a sought after interviewee about "gay cliques and networks pink" in the Vatican.
The network and server to Saint Peter therefore also breaks down these days every few minutes, with the incredible amounts of data that are spread in these days from Rome into all the world. Meanwhile, there are already more journalists than the death of John Paul II . A separate media center has had to be established because the Sala Stampa emergency provisions are nowhere enough.
The Sistine Chapel was already closed on Tuesday to begin the technical preparation for the conclave- providing seats, setting up the furnace in which the ballots are burned, searching carefully for possible bugs and the like.
Space must be secured
The room must also be electronically secured so that a Cardinal does not tweet the news about the new Pope before the rise of white smoke outside.
A high prelate from Lebanon has these days proposed in all seriousness, that the best thing would be for the Cardinals sin this conclave to simply choose again Benedict XVI again. He pointed out that such a procedure would be possible canoncially without any further ramifications. Then there would be in the church once again a few less problems. This choice, Benedict would necessarily accept and return immediately from Castel Gandolfo to Rome.
After his return, Benedict XVI would immediately govern like never before. With such a election mandate, the frail old man would now really be the most powerful Pope in the history of the church.