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Catholic Church leaderless, for now

01 March 2013, 17:36

Vatican City - The Catholic Church has awoken with no leader following Pope Benedict XVI's dramatic resignation, in which he pledged obedience to his successor as a "simple pilgrim" starting the final pilgrimage of his life.

Now begins a period known as the "sede vacante" or "vacant see”, the transition between the end of one papacy and the election of a new pope.

During these few days - no more than 20 - a few key players take charge running the Holy See, guiding the College of Cardinals in their deliberations and organising the conclave to elect Benedict's successor.

In one of his first official acts as dean, Cardinal Angelo Sodano on Friday officially summons the voting-age cardinals to Rome to participate in the conclave, a formality given that most are already here.



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