Does a cardinal take over the duties of the Pope in the time between one Pope’s death and another’s election?
Can. 335 When the Roman See is vacant or entirely impeded, nothing is to be altered in the governance of the universal Church; the special laws issued for these circumstances, however, are to be observed.
- During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, all the civil power of the Supreme Pontiff concerning the government of Vatican City State belongs to the College of Cardinals, which however will be unable to issue decrees except in cases of urgent necessity and solely for the time in which the Holy See is vacant. Such decrees will be valid for the future only if the new Pope confirms them.
Once a Pope dies all Church related appointments, legislation, etc. stops. Ordinary matters that cannot be avoided are handled by the College of Cardinals. The Dean of the College of Cardinals presides over all the College between the death of a Pope and the election of a new one.