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De herder van de gehele kudde van de Heer is de bisschop van de kerk van Rome, waar de heilige apostel Petrus, door soevereine instelling van de goddelijke Voorzienigheid, aan Christus de allerhoogste getuigenis van het martelaarschap bood door het vergieten van zijn bloed. Het is daarom begrijpelijk dat de wettige apostolische successie in deze zaak, waarmee "vanwege haar grote voorrang iedere kerk het eens moet zijn", H. Ireneüs van Lyon, Tegen de ketters, Adversus Haereses. III, 3, 2: SCh 211, 33 altijd het voorwerp van bijzondere aandacht geweest is.

Juist om deze reden, hebben de Pausen het door de eeuwen heen als hun speciale plicht beschouwd, evenals hun specifieke recht, passende normen vast te stellen om de ordentelijke verkiezing van hun Opvolger te reguleren. Dus, ook in meer recente tijden hebben mijn voorgangers de Heilige Pius X, Vgl. H. Paus Pius X, Apostolische Constitutie, Vacante Sede Apostolica (25 dec 1904) Pius XI, Vgl. Paus Pius XII, Apostolische Constitutie, Over de bijeenkomst van de kardinalen om een nieuwe Paus te kiezen, Cum Proxime (1 mrt 1922) Vgl. Paus Pius XI, Apostolische Constitutie, Over de Apostolische Prenitentiarus, Quae divinitus (25 mrt 1935) Pius XII, Vgl. Paus Pius XII, Apostolische Constitutie, Over de Sedes Vacante en de Pauskeuze (Samenvatting), Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (8 dec 1945) Johannes XXIII Vgl. H. Paus Johannes XXIII, Motu Proprio, Over het vacant zijn van de Apostolische Stoel en de Pauskeuze in Rome, Summi pontificis electio (5 sept 1962) en als laatste Paulus VI, Vgl. H. Paus Paulus VI, Apostolische Constitutie, Over de Romeinse Curie, Regimini Ecclesiae Universae (15 aug 1967) Vgl. H. Paus Paulus VI, Motu Proprio, Voor Kardinalen wordt een leeftijdsgrens bepaald om bepaalde taken te mogen uitoefenen, Ingravescentem aetatem (21 nov 1970) Vgl. H. Paus Paulus VI, Apostolische Constitutie, Over de Pauskeuze, Romano Pontifici Eligendo (1 okt 1975) dit gedaan, elk met de bedoeling om in te spelen op de behoeften van het specifieke historische moment. Zij vaardigden wijze en passende voorschriften uit om een ??geschikte voorbereiding en ordelijke bijeenkomst van de kiezers te verzekeren om, in het geval van het vrijvallen van de Apostolische Stoel, de belangrijke en zware plicht uit te oefenen om de Romeinse Paus te kiezen.

The Shepherd of the Lord's whole flock is the Bishop of the Church of Rome, where the Blessed Apostle Peter, by sovereign disposition of divine Providence, offered to Christ the supreme witness of martyrdom by the shedding of his blood. It is therefore understandable that the lawful apostolic succession in this See, with which "because of its great pre-eminence every Church must agree", H. Ireneüs van Lyon, Tegen de ketters, Adversus Haereses. III, 3, 2: SCh 211, 33 has always been the object of particular attention.

Precisely for this reason, down the centuries the Supreme Pontiffs have deemed it their special duty, as well as their specific right, to establish fitting norms to regulate the orderly election of their Successor. Thus, also in more recent times, my Predecessors Saint Pius X, Vgl. H. Paus Pius X, Apostolische Constitutie, Vacante Sede Apostolica (25 dec 1904) Pius XI, Vgl. Paus Pius XII, Apostolische Constitutie, Over de bijeenkomst van de kardinalen om een nieuwe Paus te kiezen, Cum Proxime (1 mrt 1922) Vgl. Paus Pius XI, Apostolische Constitutie, Over de Apostolische Prenitentiarus, Quae divinitus (25 mrt 1935) Pius XII, Vgl. Paus Pius XII, Apostolische Constitutie, Over de Sedes Vacante en de Pauskeuze (Samenvatting), Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (8 dec 1945) John XXIII Vgl. H. Paus Johannes XXIII, Motu Proprio, Over het vacant zijn van de Apostolische Stoel en de Pauskeuze in Rome, Summi pontificis electio (5 sept 1962) and lastly Paul VI, Vgl. H. Paus Paulus VI, Apostolische Constitutie, Over de Romeinse Curie, Regimini Ecclesiae Universae (15 aug 1967) Vgl. H. Paus Paulus VI, Motu Proprio, Voor Kardinalen wordt een leeftijdsgrens bepaald om bepaalde taken te mogen uitoefenen, Ingravescentem aetatem (21 nov 1970) Vgl. H. Paus Paulus VI, Apostolische Constitutie, Over de Pauskeuze, Romano Pontifici Eligendo (1 okt 1975) each with the intention of responding to the needs of the particular historical moment, issued wise and appropriate regulations in order to ensure the suitable preparation and orderly gathering of the electors charged, at the vacancy of the Apostolic See, with the important and weighty duty of electing the Roman Pontiff.

If I too now turn to this matter, it is certainly not because of any lack of esteem for those norms, for which I have great respect and which I intend for the most part to confirm, at least with regard to their substance and the basic principles which inspired them. What leads me to take this step is awareness of the Church's changed situation today and the need to take into consideration the general revision of Canon Law which took place, to the satisfaction of the whole Episcopate, with the publication and promulgation first of the Code of Canon Law and subsequently of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. In conformity with this revision, itself inspired by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, I then took up the reform of the Roman Curia in the Apostolic Constitution H. Paus Johannes Paulus II - Apostolische Constitutie
Pastor Bonus
Over de hervorming van de Romeinse Curie
(28 juni 1988)
. Furthermore, Wetboek
Codex Iuris Canonici
Codex van het Canonieke recht
(25 januari 1983)
of the Wetboek
Codex Iuris Canonici
Codex van het Canonieke recht
(25 januari 1983)
, restated in Wetboek
Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium
Codex van Canoniek Recht van de Oosterse Kerken (1 oktober 1991)
of the 574], makes clear the need to issue and constantly update the specific laws regulating the canonical provision for the Roman See, when for any reason it becomes vacant.

While keeping in mind present-day requirements, I have been careful, in formulating the new discipline, not to depart in substance from the wise and venerable tradition already established.

It is in fact an indisputable principle that the Roman Pontiff has the right to define and adapt to changing times the manner of designating the person called to assume the Petrine succession in the Roman See. This regards, first of all, the body entrusted with providing for the election of the Roman Pontiff: based on a millennial practice sanctioned by specific canonical norms and confirmed by an explicit provision of the current Code of Canon Law (Wetboek
Codex Iuris Canonici
Codex van het Canonieke recht
(25 januari 1983)
), this body is made up of the College of Cardinals of Holy Roman Church. While it is indeed a doctrine of faith that the power of the Supreme Pontiff derives directly from Christ, whose earthly Vicar he is, Vgl. 1e Vaticaans Concilie, 4e Zitting - Dogmatische Constitutie over de Kerk van Christus, Pastor Aeternus (18 juli 1870), 10-15 Vgl. 2e Vaticaans Concilie, Constitutie, Over de Kerk, Lumen Gentium (21 nov 1964), 18 it is also certain that this supreme power in the Church is granted to him "by means of lawful election accepted by him, together with episcopal consecration". Wetboek, Codex van het Canonieke recht, Codex Iuris Canonici (25 jan 1983), 332. § 1 Wetboek, Codex van Canoniek Recht van de Oosterse Kerken, Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium (1 okt 1991), 44. § 1 A most serious duty is thus incumbent upon the body responsible for this election. Consequently the norms which regulate its activity need to be very precise and clear, so that the election itself will take place in a most worthy manner, as befits the office of utmost responsibility which the person elected will have to assume, by divine mandate, at the moment of his assent.

Confirming therefore the norm of the current Wetboek
Codex Iuris Canonici
Codex van het Canonieke recht
(25 januari 1983)
Vgl. Wetboek, Codex van het Canonieke recht, Codex Iuris Canonici (25 jan 1983), 349, which reflects the millennial practice of the Church, I once more affirm that the College of electors of the Supreme Pontiff is composed solely of the Cardinals of Holy Roman Church. In them one finds expressed in a remarkable synthesis the two aspects which characterize the figure and office of the Roman Pontiff: Roman, because identified with the Bishop of the Church in Rome and thus closely linked to the clergy of this City, represented by the Cardinals of the presbyteral and diaconal titles of Rome, and to the Cardinal Bishops of the suburbicarian Sees; Pontiff of the universal Church, because called to represent visibly the unseen Pastor who leads his whole flock to the pastures of eternal life. The universality of the Church is clearly expressed in the very composition of the College of Cardinals, whose members come from every continent.

In the present historical circumstances, the universality of the Church is sufficiently expressed by the College of one hundred and twenty electors, made up of Cardinals coming from all parts of the world and from very different cultures. I therefore confirm that this is to be the maximum number of Cardinal electors, while at the same time indicating that it is in no way meant as a sign of less respect that the provision laid down by my predecessor Pope Paul VI has been retained, namely, that those Cardinals who celebrate their eightieth birthday before the day when the Apostolic See becomes vacant do not take part in the election. Vgl. H. Paus Paulus VI, Motu Proprio, Voor Kardinalen wordt een leeftijdsgrens bepaald om bepaalde taken te mogen uitoefenen, Ingravescentem aetatem (21 nov 1970), 2. II.2 Vgl. H. Paus Paulus VI, Apostolische Constitutie, Over de Pauskeuze, Romano Pontifici Eligendo (1 okt 1975), 33 The reason for this provision is the desire not to add to the weight of such venerable age the further burden of responsibility for choosing the one who will have to lead Christ's flock in ways adapted to the needs of the times. This does not however mean that the Cardinals over eighty years of age cannot take part in the preparatory meetings of the Conclave, in conformity with the norms set forth below. During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, and especially during the election of the Supreme Pontiff, they in particular should lead the People of God assembled in the Patriarchal Basilicas of Rome and in other churches in the Dioceses throughout the world, supporting the work of the electors with fervent prayers and supplications to the Holy Spirit and imploring for them the light needed to make their choice before God alone and with concern only for the "salvation of souls, which in the Church must always be the supreme law". Wetboek, Codex van het Canonieke recht, Codex Iuris Canonici (25 jan 1983), 1752

It has been my wish to give particular attention to the age-old institution of the Conclave, the rules and procedures of which have been established and defined by the solemn ordinances of a number of my Predecessors. A careful historical examination confirms both the appropriateness of this institution, given the circumstances in which it originated and gradually took definitive shape, and its continued usefulness for the orderly, expeditious and proper functioning of the election itself, especially in times of tension and upheaval.

Precisely for this reason, while recognizing that theologians and canonists of all times agree that this institution is not of its nature necessary for the valid election of the Roman Pontiff, I confirm by this Constitution that the Conclave is to continue in its essential structure; at the same time, I have made some modifications in order to adapt its procedures to present-day circumstances. Specifically, I have considered it appropriate to decree that for the whole duration of the election the living-quarters of the Cardinal electors and of those called to assist in the orderly process of the election itself are to be located in suitable places within Vatican City State. Although small, the State is large enough to ensure within its walls, with the help of the appropriate measures indicated below, the seclusion and resulting concentration which an act so vital to the whole Church requires of the electors.

At the same time, in view of the sacredness of the act of election and thus the need for it to be carried out in an appropriate setting where, on the one hand, liturgical actions can be readily combined with juridical formalities, and where, on the other, the electors can more easily dispose themselves to accept the interior movements of the Holy Spirit, I decree that the election will continue to take place in the Sistine Chapel, where everything is conducive to an awareness of the presence of God, in whose sight each person will one day be judged.

I further confirm, by my apostolic authority, the duty of maintaining the strictest secrecy with regard to everything that directly or indirectly concerns the election process itself. Here too, though, I have wished to simplify the relative norms, reducing them to their essentials, in order to avoid confusion, doubts and even eventual problems of conscience on the part of those who have taken part in the election.

Finally, I have deemed it necessary to revise the form of the election itself in the light of the present-day needs of the Church and the usages of modern society. I have thus considered it fitting not to retain election by acclamation quasi ex inspiratione, judging that it is no longer an apt means of interpreting the thought of an electoral college so great in number and so diverse in origin. It also appeared necessary to eliminate election per compromissum, not only because of the difficulty of the procedure, evident from the unwieldy accumulation of rules issued in the past, but also because by its very nature it tends to lessen the responsibility of the individual electors who, in this case, would not be required to express their choice personally.

After careful reflection I have therefore decided that the only form by which the electors can manifest their vote in the election of the Roman Pontiff is by secret ballot, in accordance with the rules set forth below. This form offers the greatest guarantee of clarity, straightforwardness, simplicity, openness and, above all, an effective and fruitful participation on the part of the Cardinals who, individually and as a group, are called to make up the assembly which elects the Successor of Peter.

With these intentions, I promulgate the present Apostolic Constitution containing the norms which, when the Roman See becomes vacant, are to be strictly followed by the Cardinals whose right and duty it is to elect the Successor of Peter, the visible Head of the whole Church and the Servant of the servants of God.

Document

Naam: UNIVERSI DOMINICI GREGIS
Over de Sede Vacante van de Heilige Stoel en keuze van de Paus van Rome
Soort: H. Paus Johannes Paulus II - Apostolische Constitutie
Auteur: H. Paus Johannes Paulus II
Datum: 22 februari 1996
Copyrights: © 1996, Libreria Editrice Vaticana / Stg. InterKerk
Engelstalige versie voorzien van gedeeltelijke Nederlandse werkvertaling
Aan bewerking en vertaling kunnen geen rechten ontleend worden.
Bewerkt: 25 november 2018

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