First, Gladius, let me apologize for my tone i get very angry sometimes when people don't understand and on internet that happens often.
Indeed, I do understand your meaning, and I only acted as I did, in hope of helping you (as I would ask others to do for me, if I were to lose my temper). No worries, my friend, and if you called me a brainless dolt, I would not take it personally. Apology, though unnecessary, accepted.
I didn't mean the power absolutely comes from the person but from the person who holds the office (basically the Office is nothing without a person to hold it) and the source for these things when a Pope dies (i believe thought i'm not sure) is the whole Episcopacy.
The powers are essentially part of the office, and the man who holds the office is invested with said power (just like the Pres. of the USA). The Papacy is always what Christ intended it to be, Pope to fill the See or not.
The bps. alive after the Pope dies still exercise their power which is normal to their office, as the Pope himself had invested their office with a share of his own power, and this share remains unless they themselves die, resign, or exit for some other reason (heresy, etc.).
Neither can they do what a Pope can but they hold the power in such a way that they can only use it to elect a new Pope nor could they dissolve the Papal Office or even forget about it but must open a conclave for as long as it takes to elect a new Pope and keep it open until they elect a new Holy Father.
When did the conclave begin recently (after JP2's death)? I do not think it started immediately (although I cannot remember exactly). It starts whenever the electors can get there. In the old days, this took some time, but the Church was just fine. During the three year vacancy, the conclave did not just meet day after day and reach no decision. There were circumstances which made it impossible to even meet at all during long stretches of this three year period.
I'm sorry i thought you meant the 'sacerdotal powers' in the part i bolded above.
I figured you did, which is why I thought it good to clarify my meaning (which may have been poorly expressed originally by me).
Sorry again for my anger, you know how it is on forums like these. i excuse my ignorance I only know a little about a few Popes, i just know what i know and sometimes i can't even remember that.
No sweat, my good Jonathan, and I can sympathize with (rather serious) memory issues. If you would like to know some about John XXII, and why he is (wrongly) used as an example of an heretical Pope, let me know (I will gladly do a new thread, or whatever seems appropriate).
I just find it so very hard to believe that the Chair of St. Peter is empty especially when i was taught that the Papacy was the one of the most important foundations of the Church.
Who would not, as the Papacy is the foundation of the Church ("Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock I will build My Church")? I just do not see how keeping the V2 'Popes' as the foundation helps anything, as there has been nothing but an ever-increasing destruction of the Church of which they are supposedly the foundation - carried out principally by these very men.