Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Tag Archives: Conclave

Habemus Papam!

At about 7:06 Rome / 2:06 EDT white smoke billowed from the Sistine Chapel. And it has been proclaimed:

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum:
Habemus Papam;
Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum,
Dominum Jorge Mario Sanctae Romanæ Ecclesiae Cardinalem Bergoglio,
Qui sibi nomen imposuit Francisco

Here is his bio:
«Continue Reading»

Candid Conclave Candidates & Current Concerns

Here we are the night before the opening of the Conclave wondering what will happen tomorrow. Frankly, no one knows what will happen and who will emerge as the 266th Bishop of Rome. Two men whose opinion I value have weighed in on this occasion: John Allen and Fr. Robert Barron. First, John Allen and then Fr. Barron.

John Allen, a prominent Vaticanista, provides some important points to remember in his blog, Picking the pope a contest among four camps during the Conclave process. Initially, are a few thoughts to consider prior to the vote:
«Continue Reading»

Conclave Perspective: Fr. Barron

Fr. Barron during his second day in Rome was quite busy. After gleaning lots of information from heavy-hitters, he provides some timely, important and surprising thoughts concerning the politics and potential length of the upcoming conclave.


  • Two emerging parties: Curialists and Reformists
  • Paring down the candidates: No emerging front-runners with a long list of candidates within each party
  • Length of conclave: Due to no front-runner, expectations seem to indicate a longer conclave (In the last 100 years, longest has been five days)
  • Atmosphere: Tension and less of a spiritual “uplift” than the last conclave
  • Biggest surprise: Cardinal Dolan is the talk-of-the-town papabili hopeful among the hoi poloi and the media

Don’t take my word for it, listen to Fr. Barron himself.
«Continue Reading»

Conclave Cardinal Confessions

We are on the cusp of another historic conclave to elect the 266th Bishop of Rome. Below is another fantastic video by CNS explaning the details of the conclave process. As a teaser, just take a moment to read and experience the emotion of what Cardinal J. Francis Stafford said,

I am happy in way, that I am not being called to do it again. It’s too heavy a burden.


Pictoral Overview of the Conclave Process

Thanks to the Washington Post for a good overview:


To Start or Not to Start…That is the Question

CNS reported today that the College of Cardinals is working hard. We all are anxious to know what are the qualities that have been compiled for the next Pontiff. While the end is important, the process seems equally logical and important.

So what is happening:

  • Almost all the Cardinal-Electors are finally in Rome
    • Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam arrives tomorrow
  • A recommended time limit has been set for comments
    • Translation: Crunch time
    • The result: 18 commentary periods during a three-hour meeting
  • Sistine Chapel is almost set (Don’t believe me – check out the video below)
    • Platform is being erected, stoves being set up and the cloth wall hangings are being sewn

All that being said, the Italians want a conclave date set to elect a Pontiff quickly while the Americans want to take their time to get to know everyone. The former schema favors an election of a member of the Curia or a diplomat while the former favors the election of a non-institutional Cardinal.

At the core of the American’s concern to move slowly is scandal. Jean Lopez with National Review Online, reports during an interview with George Weigel that he stated:

But there is no doubt, here in Rome, that the dysfunction in the Vatican bureaucracy will be a major topic of the cardinals’ conversations before the conclave is enclosed. Benedict XVI was ill-served by men in whom he reposed trust and to whom he gave great authority, and everyone knows it — except, alas, those who ill-served him. (The Corner)

For this reason Cardinals O’Malley and George have been outspoken on the issue of first understanding the Vatileaks and Curial corruption and then the qualities really needed for the next pontiff. To be fair, it is not just the Americans who want answers reports Paolo Mastrolilli with Vatican Insider:

Foreign cardinals, on the other hand, would like more time, to get to grips with the Vatileaks case and possibly reach a consensus on a foreign figure for Pope: a pastor, a surprise. (U.S. bishops: “We aren’t ready to start the Conclave”)

So, we need to continue to “pray, hope and don’t worry”. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Shhh! We are trying to prepare for a Conclave.

Today, we find again, the Pope Emeritus in prayer for the Church. Each day it becomes clearer that he desired to continue the transformation of the Petrine ministry – bringing it back to its Patristic roots, begun by Blessed John Paul II, including a cultural change within the Curia. Even after two saintly Popes, the current culture is deeply ingrained. Nuncios unhappy, Curia is being severely criticized and it has been suggested that Cardinals are trying to influence a Papal election with the media:

Concern was expressed in the general congregation about leaks of confidential proceedings reported in Italian newspapers,” said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops media director. …The American cardinals have been the only ones to organize press conferences during the general congregation phase of the Sede Vacante period. Before the decision was made to maintain media silence, three press briefings were held at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, attracting outlets from all over the world. (College of Cardinals imposes media silence after breach) 

From a public affairs standpoint, the American Cardinals, in my opinion, were smart: answer questions you are able to and refuse the rest i.e., control the message. One of THE most important questions in public affairs is, “Are you going to be part of the conversation because the conversation will continue whether you are part of it or not.” It also seems that there may be a hint of jealously as John Thavis shares on his blog,

He [Fr. Lombardi] said it was not up to him to tell cardinals what they can and cannot say to the press. But he added that the conclave was not a congress or a synod, in which abundant information is given. On the contrary, he said, this process has “a tradition of confidentiality in order to protect the freedom of members of the college.”

Therefore, he said he was not surprised that the rest of the cardinals may have reacted to the U.S. availability to the press – especially as the cardinals deepened their discussions this week. He noted that no other national group had decided to give the kind of briefings as the Americans were doing. (Gag order on the cardinals)

I know my preceding comments sound unabashedly pro-American, and possibly to my detriment. Ad contra: One might think the Americans were the problem with info leaks – but not so as we are told…And, the Cardinals know how to “take care of their own”:

However, the real reason for the cancelation was that some Italian cardinals were divulging too much information to the Italian press. At this morning’s general meeting, the names of those who raised eyebrows were read off in front of the assembled cardinals. (College of Cardinals imposes media silence after breach)

It is clear that the transformation of the Vatican is a work in progress. Even with all the cordial criticizing and polite positioning among the Cardinals, I am truly convinced that the Lord is still in control. I am reminded what history reports when Napoleon took Pius VII prisoner and flew into another one of his tirades exclaiming to Secretary of State, Ercole Cardinal Consalvi that he would “crush” the Church. The Cardinal’s response? The cardinal sighed and shook his head over the emperor’s naiveté:

“If in 1,800 years we clergy have failed to destroy the Church, do you really think that you’ll be able to do it?”

Yep, we are Catholic and Jesus is in charge regardless of our stupidity and/or corruption. And this fills me with great hope.

Share with me your thoughts and choices: Papal Election 2013: Your Vote.

Conclave to Begin on March 11

It seems a date will be announced tomorrow by the College of Cardinals on the date of the Conclave reports Giacomo Galeazzi with the Vatican Insider:

As the Church strides towards the Conclave which is due to start on 11 March, the complete picture of Benedict XVI’s resignation is gradually forming…(Conclave to start)

Leading up to the Conclave, there seems to be some positioning and taking advantage of the Interregnum reports Marco Tosatti in his article, Diplomacy’s Revenge:

Relations between Benedict XVI and diplomats in cassocks have never been good; now, with the Conclave just around the corner, efforts are being focused on trying to give Vatican diplomats their lustre back. Nuncios – at least a good number of them, including their leaders who answer to his eminence Angelo Sodano, the Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, Sandri and the Patron of the Order of Malta, Cardinal Paolo Sardi – have suffered a number of decisions taken during Benedict XVI’s pontificate. First of all, the now former Pope’s decision to no longer receive nuncios in audience, with some rare exceptions. Instead, Bertone was supposed to receive them, but apparently nuncios did not find this solution satisfactory. The second decision was perhaps key to the fate of Benedict XVI’s papacy. Sodano chose Tarcisio Bertone, who was not a diplomat, as Secretary of State. Many Vatican diplomats saw this choice as a slap in the face.

So, it seems that the diplomates are acting out and need some love. We love you, move on.

Let me know who you think the next Pope will be: My Opinion.

As tomorrow begins the meetings, let’s pray for our Cardinals who include:

Making Sense of the Upcoming Conclave

The Holy Father took the Church and the world by surprise when he announced his abdication as the Supreme Pontiff as of 8:00 pm (2:00 pm EST) Rome time February 28, 2013. Presidents, parliaments, governments and even countries come and go while the Church is eternal. For this reason, the election of a new Bishop of Rome is so important and will be watched worldwide.

At 2:00 pm today, all images of Pope Benedict XVI will be removed all Catholic institutions worldwide. We will enter sede vacante or the empty seat. The Papal Crest’s tiara will be replaced by an umbrella to signify that there is no Bishop of Rome. All this signifies that the See of Rome is empty which will initiate a Papal Conclave to elect a new Bishop of Rome in accordance with:

Since the announce of his abdication, a media blitz has overwhelmed us all – the good, bad and the ugly. I have put together a few new pages to inform us and collect information to share – at least try to provide the best information possible. Not trying to reinvent the wheel but an easy way to find the information you are hopefully considering.

The pages include:

Once you do your research, come and make your choice known :

Cleaning House

We know that the Holy Father has always excelled as a teacher and liturgist. People have always wondered if he was a good administrator. Here is some evidence that the Holy Father was caring for his family quietly and with gentleness:

Throughout his eight-year papacy, Pope Benedict XVI has “carried out a cleansing of the episcopate,” said the apostolic nuncio to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tadjikistan.

“This Pope has removed two or three bishops per month throughout the world because either the accounts in their dioceses were a mess or their discipline was a disaster,” said Archbishop Miguel Maury Buendia during a Feb. 20 address at the University of San Pablo in Madrid.

“The nuncio went to these bishops and said, ‘The Holy Father is asking you for the good of the Church to resign from your post.’”

Nearly all of these bishops, when approached by the Pope’s representative, were aware of the “disaster” and accepted the request to resign, he added.

“There have been two or three instances in which they said no, and so the Pope simply removed them,” he explained. “This is also a message to the bishops: do the same thing in your dioceses.”

The archbishop went on to say that he was “surprised” by the Pope’s decision to resign but said it is an example for the world’s politicians who hold on to power as long as they can.

The Holy Father’s decision is something that “great men have always done,” he noted.

Archbishop Buendia said he was aware that the Pope was wearing himself out and had wondered how he would be able to make the trip to Brazil this summer for World Youth Day, but his decision to resign was unexpected.

Nevertheless, he added, “the life of the Church will continue.” (EWTN News)

Not only has he been “cleaning up” the espiscopate by requesting resignations, CNS reports that there has been a 19 new appointments in the last eighteen days.