Skip to comments.Toward the Conclave. The Pressure on the Cardinals [Catholic Caucus]
Posted on 03/01/2013 1:43:31 PM PST by NYer
ROME, March 1, 2012 – The chair of Peter is empty. Joseph Ratzinger has left it with a clean break, and has left the future governance of the Church to a successor who is unknown to him, just as he is still unknown to the very cardinals who will elect him.
One cannot recall, in the last century, a previous conclave so much in the dark and so vulnerable to external and internal pressure.
But today it is the “fourth power,” that of the media, that is granting no truce to the cardinals called to conclave.
One of them has already fallen, the Scottish Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien. In one of his last acts as pope Benedict XVI expedited his resignation as archbishop of Edinburg, and he himself has announced that he will not go to Rome for the election of the new pontiff.
Another is former archbishop of Los Angeles Roger Mahony, censured by his own successor, José Horacio Gómez.
A third is former archbishop of Brussels Godfried Danneels.
For all three, the matters of accusation concern that "filth" against which pope Ratzinger fought his strenuous battle.
Mahony and Danneels have so far resisted expulsion, but within the college of cardinals their authoritativeness is already practically nil.
And yet, just a few years ago, the three were on the crest of the wave. Among the nine votes that Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the flagship candidate of the progressive cardinals opposed to the election of Ratzinger, received in the first scrutiny of the conclave of 2005, there were precisely those of O'Brien, Mahony, and Danneels.
Today almost nothing of this progressive current remains within the sacred college.
In addition to external pressures, however, pressures from within the Church are also acting on the pre-conclave.
The secret report that the three cardinals Julián Herranz, Jozef Tomko, and Salvatore De Giorgi delivered to Benedict XVI and only to him, and he in turn placed at the exclusive disposal of his successor, a report of which not even a line has been leaked out but is known to paint a worrying picture of the malfunctioning of the Roman curia, is weighing upon the conclave like a time bomb.
The selection of the new pope will be influenced by it, because the elect will be asked to carry out in short order that reform of “governance” which Benedict XVI left incomplete, on pain of plunging the Church into such institutional disorder as to obscure its ultimate and true mission: to revive the Christian faith where it has been weakened and to bring it where it has not yet arrived.
During the previous conclaves as well, the cardinals felt similar pressures.
In the two of 1978, those which elected as pope first Albino Luciani and then Karol Wojtyla, the cardinals were sent a dossier prepared by the Bologna-based “think tank” of Giuseppe Dossetti, Giuseppe Alberigo, and Alberto Melloni, including a detailed chapter on what the newly elect was supposed to do during the first “hundred days”: abolish the nunciatures, have bishops elected by their respective ecclesiastical regions, confer deliberative powers on the synod of bishops, institute at the summit of the Church a collegial body “that under the personal and effective presidency of the pope would at least on a bi-weekly basis address the problems that are facing the Church as a whole, making the relative decisions.”
The dossier even asked the new pope to “free himself from fear of the sexual revolution” and to innovate with decisiveness Christian morality in this field, but John Paul II did none of this.
In 2005 the Bolognesi returned to the fray, wagering on Cardinal Martini and reprinting their dossier in a book, but Benedict XVI as well, the elect, completely ignored it.
The cardinal electors will ask much less of his successor, in matters of governance. It will be enough that during the first hundred days he should begin a drastic reform of the curia. This time it will be difficult for the new pope to set this aside.
Veni Sancte Spirtus
Pray that the cardinals choose the right successor to Pope B16.
et emitte caelitus
lucis tuae radium.
I was concerned prior to Benedict's selection, I didn't realize this sort of progressive pressure went back that far (at least).
I've been praying for the conclave to make a godly choice. Non-Catholic here, BTW.
We can take hope from knowing that so many were picked by Pope Benedict XVI.
Thanks for your post.
We can take hope from knowing that so many were picked by Pope Benedict XVI.
Thanks for your post.
Here are my favorites:
I think this conclave might be an extended struggle. Is that one of the reasons Providence is starting it in Lent? I think one large faction will probably want Scola or Bertone, probably Scola, while another large faction gathers around Turkson. I always thought during Benedict’s papacy that Secretary of State Bertone seemed like an obvious successor. But now that he’s 78, the same age as Benedict when he was elected, I think his chances are severly diminshed. The Holy Spirit will guide to the right man in the end, though.
You wrote: I was concerned prior to Benedict's selection, I didn't realize this sort of progressive pressure went back that far (at least).
When an army attempts to siege a walled fortress, they attack from without and also from within. Recall the Trojan Horse. The same technique has been used to attack the Catholic Church. Outside, government and the media whip up public sentiment by scrutinizing church teaching. Within her walls are agents of change whose purpose is to help take down the Catholic Church. We have no reason to fear as we trust in the promise made by Christ that "the gates of hell will not prevail against it". Still, it is frightening to watch; all we can do is pray.
Pope JPII was aware of these agents and began the cleansing process. FWIU, over the past year, Pope Benedict has continued it by quietly pulling hundreds of bishops from around the world. I am about to post an interesting article on Pope Benedict and will ping you to the thread. It gives great insight into the tremendous burden carried by a pope. Please continue to pray for these cardinals. We now know that, thanks to the work of JPII and B16, the progressive element has practically been silenced. There are several excellent candidates in the group that can pick up the reins and continue that work. As you know, a backpack is easy to carry when one first sets out on the journey but grows in weight as you begin to climb a mountain. The cardinals will be looking for the one with the strongest back.
I am keeping a very careful eye to what is going on at the Vatican. All we can do is pray and keep a close watch.
I looked up that “adopt a cardinal website “ and was given Cardinal Turkson to pray for. One of the other Catholic threads has the site reference to.
I have sense since he first became Pope that B16 would be a “transition” Pope, who would simply be preparing for the next Pope.
Here are my 3 possible choices:
Age will be a factor because there is a sense that there must not be another “transition” pope.
Thank you for the post and also the pings, I will read your pinged articles with interest.
Turkson!? Running #1 with the bookies. Why Turkson? He has admitted he would like to be pope. In my opinion, the one who wants to be pope is the one who wants to take down the Catholic Church, because it reflects a desire for power. Just my opinion.
One of my favorites is Philippine Cardinal Tagle. He's on the young side but he lives a life of humility and has the strength to deal with the first issue to be handed to the new pontiff: the document on the homosexual cabal within the church.
Tend to agree with your sentiment on Turkson (though we could be wrong); have to look into Cardinal Tagle. Our new religion Director is from the Phillippines and she cooks good rice so I am a little bit primed for a candidate from that region. Hopefully, the conclave will be using a more formalized set of criteria than I.
I pray the Rosary every day, that the Cardinals allow themselves to be led by the Holy Spirit and give us a Pope with the heart of St. Michael the Archangel, to lead us in these dark times.
I normally shun the NC Reporter but stumbled upon John Allen's series on the "papabili". The one that grabbed my heart was that of Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila. You may recall that Tagle was elevated in the "surprise" November consistory.
As he bent over to receive the biretta, despite seeing only his back, one could detect see his emotions as he choked back tears. Pope Benedict XVI grabbed his shoulders in reassurance. You can see him wiping away tears in this photo.
In his article, Allen delves into how Tagle has served his diocese of Imus, as bishop. He writes:
In the Imus diocese, Tagle was famous for not owning a car and taking the bus to work every day, describing it as a way to combat the isolation that sometimes comes with high office. He was also known for inviting beggars outside the cathedral to come in and eat with him. One woman was quoted describing a time she went looking for her blind, out-of-work, alcoholic husband, suspecting she might track him down in a local bar, only to find that he was lunching with the bishop.
This reminded me of a similar event in the life of Pope JPII. A priest friend of Scott Hahn returned from Rome and told him this story. The priest was on his way to a private audience with the Pope but was running early. He thus decided to stop in a church to pray before his meeting. On the steps of the church were a number of beggars, something fairly common in Rome. As he approached the church, the priest thought that he recognized one of the beggars. After entering the sanctuary he knelt down to pray, whereupon he remembered how he knew the man. The priest immediately rushed out and approached the familiar beggar exclaiming, I know you. Didnt we go to seminary together? After admitting that he had lost his faculties and become a beggar, the priest asked JPII to pray for his friend and related the meeting. The pope invited the priest and his friend to dinner with him that night. After the dinner was over, the pope signaled to the priest to leave him alone with the beggar.
After fifteen minutes, the man emerged from the room in tears. What happened in there? asked the priest.
The most remarkable and unexpected reply came.
He asked me to hear his confession, choked the beggar.
After regaining composure, the man continued, I told him, Your Holiness, look at me. I am a beggar. I am not a priest.
The Pope looked at me and said, My son, once a priest always a priest, and who among us is not a beggar. I too come before the Lord as a beggar asking for forgiveness of my sins. I told him I was not in good standing with the Church, and he assured me that as the Bishop of Rome he could reinstate me then and there.
Getting back to John Allen's article on Tagle, he continues:
Not long after Tagle arrived in Imus, a small chapel located in a run-down neighborhood was waiting for a priest to say Mass at around 4 a.m. for a group mostly made up of day laborers. Eventually, a youngish cleric showed up on a cheap bicycle, wearing simple clothes and ready to start the Mass. An astonished member of the congregation realized it was the new bishop and apologized that they hadn't prepared a better welcome. Tagle said it was no problem; he got word late the night before that the priest was sick and decided to say the Mass himself.
You can read the entire Allen article here.
There is much discussion of Cardinal Turkson and, while he may be an excellent candidate with sterling credentials, he has admitted that he would like to be pope. In my opinion, the one who wants to be pope is the "one who wants to destroy the Catholic Church". The risk of wanting to be pope places one in the position of desiring power, making him a pawn of the Evil One. (Recall our Lord's temptations in the desert). Meekness can mistakenly be interpreted as weakness; however, as we have witnessed through Popes JPII and Benedict XVI, the meek individual places himself at the foot of the cross and entrusts his ministry totally to Christ for guidance and direction.
I am really, really starting to like Cardinal Tagle, a truly humble man and cardinal.