Conclave down to 116 to elect pope

The conclave to elect the next pope is now down to 116 cardinals.

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Mons. Franco Comaldo, left, a pope aide, looks at Pope Benedict XVI as he reads a document in Latin where he announces his resignation, during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, at the Vatican, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. Benedict XVI announced Monday that he would resign Feb. 28 - the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The conclave to elect the next pope is now down to 116 cardinals after one decided he is too old and infirm to participate.

AsiaNews, a Vatican-affiliated missionary news agency, said Thursday that Indonesia's 78-year-old Cardinal Julius Darmaatjadja, emeritus archbishop of Jakarta, cited poor eyesight and inability to have an assistant inside the Sistine Chapel as reasons for staying home.

All cardinals under age 80 are eligible to vote. The full College of Cardinals must approve anyone renouncing their duty, but it has done so in the past for cases of illness or infirmity.

No date for the conclave has been set, but it's expected within two weeks after Pope Benedict XVI resigns Feb. 28.

The Vatican spokesman said Thursday he didn't anticipate any new cardinal nominations before Benedict's resignation.


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