Latest Stories

Cardinals seek pope to tackle Vatican bureaucracy

Philippines’ Tagle cited as ‘winning ticket’


From left, US cardinals Theodore McCarrick, Roger Mahony, Francis George, Donald Wuerl and Daniel Di Nardo arrive for a meeting, at the Vatican, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. The next pope’s ideal profile began to take shape on Tuesday as cardinals held a second day of pre-conclave talks—a man with pastoral experience, missionary energy and few ties to the Vatican’s unruly government. AP PHOTO/ANDREW MEDICHINI

VATICAN CITY—The next pope’s ideal profile began to take shape on Tuesday as cardinals held a second day of pre-conclave talks—a man with pastoral experience, missionary energy and few ties to the Vatican’s unruly government.

Cardinals waved cheerfully to journalists at the gates of the Vatican but declined to divulge details of the closed-door debate on who among them could be the best candidate for the papacy following Benedict XVI’s sudden resignation.

Vatican experts say one of the hot-button issues now uniting many of the cardinals is the need to choose a new leader for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics capable of putting his stamp on the Roman Curia, the central government of the Church.

“There is definitely a lot of reflection going on in the Catholic world on the governance of the Catholic Church and how to improve it,” said US Cardinal Sean O’Malley.

Secret papal documents leaked to the press last year alleged corruption and intrigue in the Vatican administration and unearthed infighting which many hope the new pope will tackle.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said the electors “need to look attentively at the work of the Curia in recent years. The Curia is there at service to the holy father.”

Though the centuries-old bureaucracy should serve the papacy, it has the power to block or water down papal decisions and has been criticized for playing politics under Benedict.

“What began as a trickle has become a torrent in the last 24 hours of cardinals insisting that the number one issue is governance,” said expert John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter.

This might mean choosing someone who has no previous ties to the opaque Vatican bureaucracy, such as Italian Angelo Scola, who could appeal because “he knows the lay of the land but has never been a Vatican official,” Allen said.

He also has much more extensive pastoral experience than Joseph Ratzinger did before he became pope—but so does Brazilian Odilo Scherer, “an old Vatican hand (who) brings together concrete pastoral experience and strong governor skills,” Allen said.


Winning ticket

The “winning ticket,” according to many watchers would be a pope with strong pastoral skills—such as the popular Luis Antonio Tagle from the Philippines or South African Wilfrid Napier—whose right-hand man, the Secretary of State, could be Italian.

Although over a quarter of the cardinal electors are Italian, many prelates have been pushing for leadership of the Church to be distanced from the hugely embarrassing Vatileaks scandal in Rome.

“The ability to govern is very important. It would appear that substantial problems have been identified through Vatileaks, these need to be addressed,” Australian cardinal George Pell told the Vatican Insider newspaper, calling for a pope who can “improve the morale of the Curia.”

“We need somebody who is a strategist, a decision-maker, a planner, somebody who has got strong pastoral capacities already demonstrated so that he can take a grip of the situation and take the Church forward,” he said.

US cardinal Francis George said the electors would be asking “those cardinals involved in the governing of the Curia as to what they think needs to be changed,” adding that the frankest debating took place over the coffee breaks between the official talks.

Among other voices, there are those who insist parts of the world which have been under-represented so far should have a shot at the papacy, including candidates from Latin America, the world’s most Catholic continent.

Should one of their own not be favored, experts say Latin American cardinals could back Canadian Marc Ouellet, who has spent part of his career as a missionary in Colombia and is a keen pastoral figure who also has experience within the Vatican.

It is considered untoward to campaign openly for the papal job, and blushing candidates pressed by journalists modestly brush aside suggestions they may be the next on St. Peter’s chair.

“That’s an Alice in Wonderland story, my being elected pope. There are times when I see some of the headlines I laugh a little because it doesn’t jibe with what I see going on,” said DiNardo.

When asked if he thought he would soon be donning the papal red shoes, O’Malley pointed to his robes and said: “I have worn this uniform for 40 years and I expect to continue wearing it!”

The Vatican said Tuesday that the date for the conclave could be set before all cardinals have arrived, despite the fact that four electors are still missing from the roll call.

Spokesman Federico Lombardi said that what was key was that those missing were given enough time to get to the Vatican before the secret election begins. Some were expected to arrive Wednesday.

In the meantime, the debate continues among cardinals not only in the Vatican meetings but also in private talks in pontifical colleges and private apartments, away from the harsh media gaze.

Little is likely to filter through as they have all now sworn a solemn oath not to reveal details about the election on pain of excommunication.

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: pope selection , 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
  1. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  2. Cagayan mayor shot dead after flag-raising ceremony
  3. Obama, family cause a small stir at Easter service
  4. Santiago sees Palace hand in Gigi’s return
  5. ‘Malang’ next crocodile attraction after ‘Lolong’
  6. Gigi Reyes’ only option: tell all
  7. Malaysia Airlines jet turns back after tire burst
  8. Ancient enigmatic carvings in danger of disappearing
  9. New plant to boost supply of clean energy
  10. More bodies from ship; transcript reveals wavering
  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. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  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. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • 22 houses destroyed, 3 hurt as violent wind storm hits village
  • 242 out of 438 pass board tests for chemical engineers
  • Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  • 5 OFWs from Negros quarantined for MERS-CoV tests
  • Release of village chief’s truck caught carrying illegal logs slammed
  • Sports

  • Alaska takes quarterfinals opener over San Mig Coffee
  • Jackson finds second wind to push Meralco past Rain or Shine
  • NLEX fights off Derulo Accelero to remain unbeaten
  • Mayweather diehard Bieber eats pride, poses with Pacquiao for photo op
  • Power Pinays rip Singapore to enter quarters in Asian volley tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Arrest warrants out vs. Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee, et al over serious illegal detention
  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Business

  • Oil prices to go up on supply concerns, optimism on US rebound
  • Century Pacific Food sets IPO price at P13.75 per share
  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • QC woman who flew in from Middle East tests negative for MERS-CoV
  • DFA, DOH urge OFWs not to panic over MERS-Cov
  • Balikatan could spoil peace talks, says militant group
  • DFA officers hold workshop on aiding human traffic victims
  • Canada in communication with PH on toxic wastes
  • Marketplace