Sunday, March 10, 2013

Conclave: “Primaries” get under Way

Vatican City, - The first voting session to elect the new Pope will take place on Tuesday 12th at 6 pm. The strongest candidates are Scola and Scherer
Conclave: “Primaries” get under way

The Conclave’s real test, after the “extra omnes” pronounced by the Master of Ceremonies and the closure of the Sistine Chapel’s heavy wooden door, will come at around 6 pm this coming Tuesday.

The initial scrutiny for the election of Benedict XVI’s successor is the equivalent of political primaries. This is when the real candidates will shine through, those who have the strongest chances of getting majority votes. These will be the candidates who emerged as favourites in last week’s informal meetings.

The 2005 Conclave was a first for all but two cardinals. While the crowds paid their respects to Pope Wojtyla, a number of influential cardinals were subtly trying to push for the election of the strongest candidate among the cardinals: the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Ratzinger. The so-called “progressivists”, who were already at death’s door so to speak, tried to get Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini through but he only obtained 12 votes in the first scrutiny, while Ratzinger obtained a consistently high majority, with 47 votes in his favour. This time there is much more uncertainty but it is highly unlikely groups of electors will be trying to reach a consensus on the basis of a cardinals’ nationality. What has emerged from the recently held discussions is that cardinals are looking for a man with spiritual depth, who is able to govern, engage in dialogue and communicate. Even if there is no candidate who has quite the same authority and power as Ratzinger, the almost unanimous decision to bring the Conclave forward proves that something must have happened between Wednesday and Thursday.


Vatican Insider

Andrea Tornielli