With the death of Pope John XXIII, the second Vatican Council was officially suspended, as Roman Catholic canon law requires, pending a decision of his successor whether it should be resumed.

The new pope, however, will be under great pressure to see that the council picks up where it left off. In fact, this consideration will be important in the papal selection processThe new pope will be elected by secret ballot at a closed-door conclave of the 82-member Sacred College of Cardinals. Pope John’s new rules call for a simple two-thirds majority. However, if the total number of cardinals present cannot be divided into three equal parts, one vote more than a simple two-thirds is needed. No cardinal may vote for himself. When a vote fails to produce a decision, the ballots are burned in a stove with damp straw, causing black smoke which indicates to the outside world that voting must continue. When the vote is conclusive, the ballots are burned without damp straw, producing a light-colored smoke. itself: informed observers are convinced that no pontiff will be elected who is not prepared to commit himself to reopening the council. There is an element within the Roman Catholic hierarchy which feels that John’s modernization program went too far. Some even deplored the calling of the council. It is generally expected that this conservative element will be overruled. But their influence could conceivably result in a measure of reorganization of committees, revision of recommendations, and amendments such as qualifying adjectives to statements on religious liberty.

Hopes that the council would be resumed were voiced in Rome by Msgr. Fausto Vallainc, head of the council press office. He said, however, that there was a strong possibility ...

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