Quantcast
Latest Stories

Deep rifts set up drawn-out papal vote—experts

By

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.”


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

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




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  8. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  9. Two Popes who would be saints
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • US teacher fired over comment on black president
  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Filipinos, Dutch re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • 14 killed in car bombing in Homs
  • Sports

  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement