PRAYING FOR A NEW POPE
The period of transition between the end of one papacy and the beginning of another is referred to by two names. "Sede vacante," in the Church’s official Latin, is translated "vacant see," meaning that the see (or diocese) of Rome is without a bishop. It is also referred to as the Interregnum, a reference to the days when popes were also temporal monarchs who reigned over vast territories. In the 20th century, this period of transition has averaged just 17 days. This situation has almost always been created by the death of a pope, but it may also be created by resignation, as is the case with Pope Benedict XVI who resigned as of February 28.