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Deep rifts set up drawn-out papal vote—experts

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Pope Benedict XVI. AP

VATICAN CITY – What would appear at first glance to be a cakewalk for a staunch conservative, to follow in the footsteps of Pope Benedict XVI, will be anything but Vatican experts say.

Of the 117 cardinal electors, 67 were named by the outgoing pontiff, and the other 50 by his beloved predecessor and ideological soulmate John Paul II.

More than half of them are European including 28 Italians, which points strongly to a successor in the same mould as Benedict, who yearned for a rebirth of Christian faith on the Old Continent.

But the arithmetic is misleading, given the water that has flowed under the bridges of the Tiber since the 2005 conclave that elevated the Polish pope’s German protege after just four voting sessions.

The gaffes and scandals that came to characterise Benedict’s papacy, combined with unflattering comparisons between the introverted German and the charismatic Pole, have laid the foundations for divisions and dissent.

Benedict, who took office as the Roman Catholic Church appeared cut adrift, proved unable to quell public relations disasters, came up short in addressing an avalanche of scandals over child sex abuse by priests and made only modest progress in efforts to clean up the Vatican’s murky financial dealings.

But insiders have pointed to the “Vatileaks” scandal, in which the pope’s butler stole documents containing revelations about corruption and mismanagement that turned up in a tell-all book, as the last straw.

More than any of the other crises, Vatileaks underscored the cerebral Benedict’s failure to stamp his authority over the Curia, the Church’s secretive and powerful governing body dominated by feuding Italian clerics.

“The scandals that brought enormous pain to Benedict XVI had the effect of digging up divisions,” Franca Giansoldati wrote in the Rome daily Il Messaggero on Thursday.

A “wave of emotion” over the death of John Paul II speeded Benedict XVI’s election, she said, something that cannot be matched for someone who is simply retiring at the age of 85.

When they gather for the conclave in mid-March, the cardinals will be under pressure to choose a reformer, someone to fix the “central machinery” of the Curia, said Sandro Magister, a Vatican expert and staunch supporter of Benedict who writes for the Italian weekly L’Espresso.

“A great majority are in favour of a strong leader with a strong public presence and a capacity to govern,” Magister told AFP, noting that cardinals outside the Curia — most of them bishops in overseas dioceses — “will weigh very heavily in favour of reform”.

The 28 Italian cardinals are not the “compact group” that they once were, he added.

What is more, Benedict reinstated an old rule requiring a two-thirds majority to elect the next pope — or 78 of the 117 possible this time.

South African cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier, who is among the handful dubbed “papabile” or possible successors, said the Church was in a state of “profound crisis” and needed a new pope to bring about “spiritual renewal”.

“The determining factor is he must have the wisdom and energy to confront the challenges that await the Church in every corner of the globe,” he told Italian daily La Stampa.

“Church institutions should help evangelisation, not slow it down,” he said. “People, and young people in particular, are waiting for words of truth from the Church.”

Magister, like many Vatican watchers, dismissed the chances of an African or Latin American rising to the top, predicting that the race would come down to Milan Archbishop Angelo Scola, 72, versus Marc Ouellet, the 67-year-old former archbishop of Quebec who heads the influential Congregation of Bishops.

London bookmaker Paddy Power makes Ouellet, described as “good pals” with Benedict, the frontrunner, with Scola as his main contender.

Meanwhile speculation is mounting over how the new pontiff will deal with Benedict’s future status as a former pope living out his years within the Vatican walls after he retires on February 28.

The pope’s decision to take up residency in a disused Vatican convent, which Magister described as “provocative”, sets up an unprecedented situation.

With the Vatican insisting he will be a paragon of discretion and Benedict saying that he will remain “hidden from the world”, others are not so sure.

Also adding to the intrigue was an announcement Thursday that Benedict’s closest confidant Georg Gaenswein will continue as his personal secretary while also overseeing the new pope’s household.

Benedict promoted Gaenswein to prefect of the papal household in December — a move interpreted now as a key part of his plans to resign.

Prominent German theologian Hans Kung warned that Benedict could become a “shadow pope”, telling the Italian daily La Repubblica: “I would have preferred for him to have chosen to retire into meditation and prayer in Bavaria. Contacts and conversations will be inevitable if he stays at the Vatican.”


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Tags: Catholic Church , News , Papacy , Pope Benedict XVI , Religion , Vatican


  • Pablo316

    Like I mentioned previously, it is also worth noting that Pope Benedict XVI openly calls for Roman Catholics to go back to their Bible, to read and understand its pure and unadulterated teachings, which he lamented is now terribly missing from a lot of people professing themselves to be Christians. I cannot say if this has been a factor in his renouncing his position.
     
    Nevertheless if we are to listen to what former Vatican insiders have been saying even before this event (the most famous of them might be former Jesuit priest Malachi Martin), that something dire is really happening inside the Vatican, something that even hardcore Roman Catholics may find it hard to believe – that is, Satanists are actively doing their works inside the very walls of the Vatican. And it seems that the chains of events that transpired through the years seem to lend credence to these disclosures.
     
    Roman Catholics themselves are largely ignorant of what is happening in Vatican, so it will be no surprise if some would react violently to the fact that Vatican is now poised to recognize ‘space brothers’ and to present extra-terrestrials (or aliens who in truth are nothing but demons posing as entities from another planet) as just another fellow Roman Catholics to be baptized. Those who dare to challenge this should do their research first and see what RCC leaders in Vatican’s astronomical observatory are now saying.
     
    Having said that, the best hope for God-fearing and God-seeking Roman Catholics is still to go back to the written words of God – the Bible; and so let me encourage them to do so that they may grow in the knowledge (that leads to salvation) and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
     
    God bless!

    • Crazy_horse101010

      i know there is a strong mafia influence their with some cardinals coming from maifia families, the way it works is the oldest son is usually a capo the younger son or sons become priests the priest protects the family and the family greases the wheels for the priest to rise high in the church look at the murder of john paul the first to see how powerful they are they are also involved with the vatican bank

  • Albert Einstien

    we have at least 65 million members of RCC in our country BIGGER than spain & italy..we are TOP 3 in terms of population …1st RP pope in 440 years ….GO POPE TAGLE….you should choose the name ” POPE RP 1st ” …..it’s DUE time to ASCEND & RISE….our country is the only major catholic-christian country remaining other than spain, mexico & brazil…for more than 440 years already …pope benedict should support the PAPABILI of cardinal tagle to be known as : POPE RP 1st “……filipinos all over the WORLD should campaign for him…so that cardinals in conclave will elect him……go philippines CARPE DIEM….”Spe salvi facti sumus” …!let’s go for battle…filipinos it’s time for your facebook & twitter to have a GOoD CAUSE….LET’s support ALL filipinos in the GLOBAL STAGE ..we will show the WORLD that the filipino race has evolved to be the most intelligent & superior race..the ALPHA race….whatever sector they maybe representing ..like science,int’l politics, engineering, humanities, education, religion ( catholic-christian/muslims, pagans etc ), sports ,int’l finance , & all international competitions…we are NOW the most EVOLVED RACE …skilled, humble, generous,highly intelligent , adaptable ,educated & caring..use your facebook & twitter acounts to PROMOTE the superiority FILIPINO race..especially now ..if cardinal tagle will be chosen …FILIPINO race will make the BIRTH of a GLOBAL filipino …our country will benefit in all aspects like history, economy & over all greatness of our country & people… go go go.bombard with messages of SUPPORT for cardinal tagle .. the pope & cardinals facebook & twitter accounts till they vote for him as new POPE… .!

  • done_druff

    awwwww too bad Tagle was not mentioned… awwww…

    Well buti nga!

  • done_druff

    Uy pre REPOST ito ha from other thread! Ala ka nang masabing bago ano?!

  • done_druff

    Uy pre REPOST ito ha from other thread! Ala ka nang masabing bago ano?!



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