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As news of the white smoke spread, about 30 students gathered in the TV Lounge at the Newman Center to watch as Pope Francis was introduced. After the announcement, the prayers lead by the newly elected Pope and the Papal Blessing, the students went in the chapel and prayed for the new leader. Then the celebration moved outside where this photo was taken. __________________________
Fr. Barron's First Impression on Pope Francis
Ring of retired Pope Benedict no longer can be used as seal
The fisherman's ring -- the pope's signet -- is seen on the right hand of Pope Benedict XVI as he celebrates Mass in Havana, Cuba, last year. (CNS/Alessia Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo)
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When Pope Benedict XVI officially stepped down from office Feb. 28, his wardrobe changed -- right down to the ring on his finger.
He simply stopped wearing the familiar red shoes and the traditional white cassock with a white cape on his shoulder. He also stopped wearing the fisherman's ring, one of the main symbols of the papal office, and went back to wearing an episcopal ring he wore as a cardinal.
But it was not enough to simply leave the papal ring behind.
According to the rules governing the interregnum and election of a pope, the College of Cardinals must "arrange for the destruction of the fisherman's ring and of the lead seal with which apostolic letters are dispatched."
On March 6, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters that this "destruction" had been completed, although he explained that the ring is not smashed or destroyed completely; rather, two deep cuts are made in its face so that it can no longer be used as a seal.
Retired Pope Benedict received the ring at his inauguration Mass along with his pallium, the woolen stole symbolizing a bishop's authority. Both were based on ancient designs.
The gold ring, similar to the old rings that popes used also as seals, was designed by the Rome Association of Goldsmiths. It had Pope Benedict's name etched on it and a scene of St. Peter casting out his net, symbolizing how popes are successors of the apostle Peter.
Many Catholics pay their respects to the pope by kneeling and kissing his ring.
The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that the earliest mention of the fisherman's ring worn by popes is in a letter to Pope Clement IV wrote in 1265 to his nephew, stating that popes were to seal their private letters with "the seal of the fisherman."
During the 15th century, the papal ring also was used to seal official papal documents known as briefs.
Likely many will want to be home by Palm Sunday
ROME (CNS) - Two U.S. cardinals who will vote in the upcoming papal election say there is no rush to set a date for voting, which could start as late as March 20.
"This is the most important decision that some of us will ever make, and we need to give it the time that's necessary," Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston told journalists March 5, after the second day of the pre-conclave meeting known as the general congregation.
"I believe the feeling of the cardinals is we want to have enough time in the general congregation so that when we go to the conclave itself, it's a time of a decision," Cardinal O'Malley said. "The general congregation is the time of discernment, and as much time as we need for discernment in prayer, reﬂection and getting information, then we need to use as much time as we have."
The rules for papal elections state that voting must begin between 15 and 20 days after the Holy See falls vacant; but shortly before he resigned Feb. 28, Pope Benedict XVI issued a decree permitting the cardinals to move the date up if they choose.
Some cardinals have said that starting earlier would be an advantage for residential bishops among the cardinal-electors, since that would make it more likely that they could get back to their dioceses in time for Palm Sunday, March 24.
"The question about trying to be home for Holy Week has to do with simply practical matters," Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston told the same gathering of journalists at the North American College in Rome. "And practical matters always will fall by the wayside when more serious matters are at stake.
"It takes as long as it takes," the cardinal said. "If it takes longer to do the work of discernment that we're supposed to do, it will take that amount of time."
Thank You, Papa: A Tribute to Pope Benedict XVI
"The Church needs your faith, your idealism, and your generosity, so that she can always be young in Spirit." - Pope Benedict XVI
Pope's last Angelus:
I will not abandon the Church. I will serve in a different way.