Year of Faith: Sede Vacante
Sede vacante means “vacant seat.” It refers to the time between the end of one pontificate and the beginning of another. It can also refer to any diocese that’s temporarily without a bishop. Fifteen days must elapse before a conclave can begin in order for cardinals from around the world to travel to Rome. Since the traditional nine days of mourning will not take place and Pope Benedict XVI has given more than two weeks notice, the election process could take place as soon as the cardinals are able to reach Rome.Once a pope has been elected the sede is no longer vacant.