The change allows a gathering of the cardinals who will elect the new leader of the Catholic Church to begin sooner than 15 days after he steps down Thursday, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
"The cardinals will be permitted to bring forward the start of the conclave, if they are all present," the decree said.
Before the decree was issued, the conclave could not have begun before mid-March.
Texas principal bans speaking Spanish, stirs controversy
Theater accidentally screens 'Nymphomaniac' trailer instead of Disney's 'Frozen'