Pope Francis I
"The job of the Cardinals is to elect the Bishop of Rome. It seems at this time that they have chosen him from the farthest point of the earth and I am grateful for them.

"I like to begin my ministry by praying for the Pope Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.  (He prayed One Our Father, and One Hail Mary).
Before I give you the Apostolic Benediction I ask you to pray for me and to bless me. (Then the pope bowed and asked the people to pray for him in silence.)"

Pope Francis spoke again and wished the people a good night right before which tomorrow as I go to pray to Our Lady.  


Father Andre finds this article by Dr. Robert Moynihan, Vatican expert, interesting and informative.

March 10, 2013, Sunday -- 48 Hours To Go


The 115 voting cardinals will begin to vote in about 48 hours from now, Sunday afternoon in Rome.


The Osservatore Romano issued a special supplement yesterday with all the photos of the 115 cardinals who will enter into Conclave. Here they are in two  photos:





The Italian and world press are full of prognostications. Nearly all are wrong, although they may be useful to understand some of the "dynamics" of the election process. Only one will be right.


La Repubblica -- which I turn to because it is Italy's largest paper, not because everything written there is objective, or reliable; the paper "influences" the opinion of people in Italy, and, by osmosis, opinion worldwide -- this morning suggested seven cardinals were the leading "papabili."


The paper also headlines "It will be a brief conclave," echoing the words of the Vatican Press Director, Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., who said yesterday that he presumed the cardinals would not have voted to enter into Conclave on Tuesday afternoon unless they felt they were ready to elect a Pope in a relatively brief time.


During the 20th century, the length of papal Conclaves has never exceeded 5 days. On the basis of this precedent, one would imagine that a Pope will be elected by Saturday, March 16. (However, precedents are being broken regularly in Rome in these recent weeks.)


Here is the history of the length of the last Conclaves:


1903 -- 4 days, 7 votes (Pope Pius X elected)


1914 -- 3 days, 10 votes (Pope Benedict XV elected)


1922 -- 5 days, 14 votes (Pope Pius XI elected)


1939 -- 2 days, 3 votes (Pope Pius XII elected)


1958 -- 4 days, 11 votes (Pope John XXIII elected)


1963 -- 3 days, 6 votes (Pope Paul VI elected)


1978 -- 2 days, 4 votes (Pope John Paul I elected)


1978 -- 3 days, 8 votes (Pope John Paul II elected)


2005 -- 2 days, 4 votes (Pope Benedict XVI elected)


Here are the names of the cardinals La Repubblica puts "in the lead" right now -- again, just their opinion, and possibly, in a way, their preference:


Under the heading "Curial Cardinals" (though Malcolm Ranjith is not a Curial cardinal, being in Sri Lanka -- although he was in the Curia, in the early years of Pope Benedict's pontificate)


Cardinal Leonardo Sandri


Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer


Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith


Each of these three is "teamed" with one of two Italians as the proposed new Secretary of State:


Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello




Cardinal Mauro Piacenza


Then, under the heading "Reformers" are listed:


Cardinal Angelo Scola




Cardinal Marc Ouellet


with those two "teamed" again with one of two Italians, neither of them cardinals, both from the Vatican diplomatic service (Ventura, a very capable man, is nuncio in Paris, and was for many years the personal secretary of Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, Secretary of State in the early years of Pope John Paul II) to be Secretary of State:


Luigi Ventura




Pedro Lopez Quitana


And then, under the heading of "Third Way" (whatever that means), is listed:


Cardinal Peter Erdo


while alongside Erdo is listed a highly respected French Vatican diplomat to be Secretary of State:


Dominique Mamberti.


What one can glean from this is that the election is now wide open, but that there is some serious "horse-trading" going on to build a consensus around a candidate who will undertake to provide continuity on the diplomatic front, while launching his papacy (again, in this schema) under either a "curial" or a "reforming" or a "third way" umbrella.


So what will likely happen?


A considerable importance must be attributed to the very first ballot. If one candidate surpasses about 40 votes, there is a strong chance that, immediately, the other cardinals will be compelled to make a decision: either to say "no" to that candidacy, and strive to form a "veto" block of 39 cardinals, so that the candidate cannot reach the 2/3s majority of 77, or to, over the next two, three or four votes, say "yes" to that candidacy, and send it over the top.


The candidate most likely to have about 40 votes is Angelo Scola, who is in many ways very close to Pope Benedict, and a student of Pope Benedict's thought. But, if Scola seems to be impeded by the time he reaches 50 or 60 votes, the Conclave would open up to allow a number of other hypotheses, like the ones above -- Sandri, Scherer, Ranjith, Ouellet, Erdo -- but also many others, including the Americans, led by Dolan of New York, and then by O'Malley of Boston, but not counting out Wuerhl of Washington (who is respected in the Roman Curia) or even George of Chicago, who is regarded as a profound thinker and a man of moral courage. And there are others. At this point, it is harder to exclude a cardinal than to mention his name, as the "race" becomes wide open, and unpredictable. Something will have to happen to coalesce sentiment, and what that "something" will be is unable to be known today.


It is in this area of mystery, and the freedom of the human will, that the action of the Holy Spirit has and will have its place, imperceptible to human sense, and perhaps even to human reason, as the Spirit speaks to the mind, but even more, to the soul, where the final decision will have to be taken.





Then, here is a little something that I wrote yesterday, and did not send, but I decided, under the circumstances, to simply send it, without either supporting or condemning the thoughts expressed.




 "All I can pray for and ask of the cardinal electors is: 'Re-elect Ratzinger.'" —email from a reader


The other day, in my Letter #37, "A Living Stone," I spoke of the fact that Benedict yet lives a few miles outside of Rome.


I ventured to wonder if some of the 115 cardinal electors who will enter into conclave on Tuesday afternoon might feel it was not right, perhaps for theological reasons, perhaps for practical reasons, to give their vote to any other man to become Pope, while Benedict XVI yet lives.


I did not propose that the cardinals vote to re-elect him.


I simply wondered what would happen if some cardinals abstained from voting, in this unprecedented situation.


However, I have since received a number of emails, like the one above, saying what I did not say: that the cardinals should vote to elect Benedict again.


Here is another of those emails:

"I have been reading your reports with thanks and a grateful heart. I too have wondered since Feb 11th about whether our leaving Benedict's side while he yet lives is doable.... I refer you to the last sentence of # 83 of Universi Dominici Gregis. You should re-read it. Were the electors to take completely seriously this instruction I read this as a possibility, perhaps even a necessity, a compulsion, a duty, that the Bishop Emeritus of Rome could be/should be re-elected as Pope, being, in the electors' eyes, the most qualified, most suited to govern the Universal Church even if he is currently outside the College."


Here is Paragraph 83 of Universi Dominici Gregis, On the Vacancy of the Apostolic See and the Election of the Roman Pontiff, the letter promulgated on February 22, 1996, by Pope John Paul II, which regulates papal conclaves, with two phrases italicized:


"With the same insistence shown by my Predecessors, I earnestly exhort the Cardinal electors not to allow themselves to be guided, in choosing the Pope, by friendship or aversion, or to be influenced by favour or personal relationships towards anyone, or to be constrained by the interference of persons in authority or by pressure groups, by the suggestions of the mass media, or by force, fear or the pursuit of popularity. Rather, having before their eyes solely the glory of God and the good of the Church, and having prayed for divine assistance, they shall give their vote to the person, even outside the College of Cardinals, who in their judgment is most suited to govern the universal Church in a fruitful and beneficial way." (Paragraph #83)


And three paragraphs later, Pope John Paul II wrote the following:


"I also ask the one who is elected not to refuse, for fear of its weight, the office to which he has been called, but to submit humbly to the design of the divine will. God who imposes the burden will sustain him with his hand, so that he will be able to bear it. In conferring the heavy task upon him, God will also help him to accomplish it and, in giving him the dignity, he will grant him the strength not to be overwhelmed by the weight of his office." (Paragraph #86)


Now, I too would have thought all of this a bit "far out"-- yes, I am not completely out of touch with reality -- as I was really expressing a deep feeling of solidarity with Benedict, and not proposing anything with regard to his re-election.


But this evening, I was reading a round-up of Vatican news reports, and I noticed one by the German journalist Paul Badde, who writes from Rome for the German newspaper Die Welt.


The title was: Konklave ab 12. März und der Traum einer Wiederwahl Benedikts XVI. ("Conclave from March 12 and the Dream of a Re-Election of Benedict XVI").


It startled me because the author of the piece, Paul Badde, has known Joseph Ratzinger personally for decades, from the 1970s in Munich. It startled me because Badde is a long-time friend of the Emeritus Pope's personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein. It startled me because Badde was the one who published a memorable article on the "Vatileaks" case last July which claimed that several people close to the Pope had been involved in the "Vatileaks" affair -- an article which, a week later, after it was picked up in Italy by La Repubblica, was categorically denied by Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican Press Office, but an article which Badde says he stands by. And it startled me because Badde received communion from Benedict at the Ash Wednesday Mass, just after the Emeritus Pope announced that he would renounce the throne of Peter, which I mentioned at the time in my letter on that Mass.


The first part of the story was all about the cardinals' decision to proceed to the conclave on Tuesday, March 12.


But the final paragraph read as follows:


"A high prelate from Lebanon has suggested in these days, that the best solution for the cardinals to vote for in this conclave would be simply to re-elect Benedict XVI one more time. Then the Church would immediately have a couple of fewer problems. This election Benedict just couldn't refuse. He would have to return from Castel Gandolfo right away – (returning to Rome) like Peter, who in his flight out of a burning city of Rome met Jesus, who only asked him 'Quo vadis?' 'Where are you going?' Upon his return Benedict could rule as never before. With such a strong mandate as a re-election, the frail old man would become the most powerful Pope in the entire history of the Church."

(Here is a link to the story in the original German: http://kath.net/detail.php?id=40452)

I emailed Badde to ask him about his story.


"Paul," I wrote. "The Pope resigned. If he were re-elected, would he return? Or would he say 'no, you didn't understand me, I really am out of it all, I'm done'?"


Paul replied: "If the conclave would oblige him, he couldn't say no. Because: it's very important for him that he never refused -- like Celestine, who did not refuse. He gave up when he couldn't bear it anymore. It was a renunciation, not a refusal. That was very important for him, and he (Celestine) is something like a role model for B 16. Good nite."


Of course, it still seems far-fetched to imagine that the cardinals might re-elect Benedict.

But is there really someone better suited than Benedict to govern the universal Church, if the criterion is the one set forth above: that the cardinals have before their eyes "solely the glory of God and the good of the Church?"


And what is the situation now of the Roman Curia? Every single head of every curial office has now been deposed, due to the see of Peter being vacant. So, if Benedict were recalled, he could appoint to posts in the Curia anyone he wished. He could effectively carry out the reform of the Curia which everyone is saying is so urgently needed.

Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, and the 265th Successor of Peter
April 19, 2005 - February 28, 2013
 Dear Clergy and All the Faithful in Christ:  
              I present you with this special booklet (PDF Word) (PDF Booklet) about Pope Benedict XVI at the end of his ministry as Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, and the 265th Successor of Peter. Such a text is first meant to be a tool for prayer, and, through this, an instrument of education to deepen both the faith and the full and active participation of all of the faithful in the life of the Church. We would like to dedicate it to all the clergy and faithful of the Holy Church, especially those devoted and hard-working members of the clergy who are laboring in the fields of the Maronite Church in America and elsewhere in the world. We encourage all to accompany the College of Cardinals, who will elect our new pope, through prayers, sacrifices, penance and devotions to the Blessed Sacrament, the Virgin Mary and the patron saint of each individual, family, parish or group of faithful. 
              The media, including the social media and the Internet-based World Wide Web, have covered the events of the last few weeks with awe and reverence. Initiatives have been started to involve the faithful in the voting for a new pope through the adoption of a cardinal in prayer. I ask each of you to consecrate a special time each day for this, to set it aside to learn about and to pray for one of the Cardinal Electors in the March conclave. I ask you also to carry this cardinal with you throughout the day in your thoughts and prayers. As a result of these beautiful efforts, each of the cardinals will be lifted up so that they can truly discern the voice of God through the prayer of the faithful. It is said that Vox populi vox Dei”; that is, God listens to the voice of His people in prayer, and He speaks through the prayer of His people.  
              The Office of Evangelization and Catechesis in the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon will accompany the Holy Church during this special period by offering this booklet, consecrated to Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus of the Holy Catholic Church. We present it to the clergy and faithful to inform them in a direct way about the process of the election of the new pope, so that they can accompany the cardinals with their prayers, in full knowledge and awareness of the task ahead. I hope you will find this special booklet interesting and useful, and that it will help you to see the significance of this unique time in which humanity is living. The Catholic Church, in the decision of Pope Benedict XVI to renounce the papacy, is making a true profession of faith and statement of trust in God Almighty, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Universal Master of the Church.
              In the pages that follow, you will find the official list of all 115 Cardinal Electors who will vote for the new pope; this list may indeed contain the name of the next pope. 
              Following this list you will find the last speech of Pope Benedict XVI that was given today, Thursday, February 28, 2013, to the 140 cardinals who came from around the world to greet the Holy Father and seek his final blessing. 

Next, we have enclosed the latest Apostolic Letter and Motu Proprio (Latin: of his own accord) entitled NORMAS NONNULLAS.” The importance of this Apostolic Letter, issued as a Motu Proprio, is that it explains the changes to the laws, canons, and regulations that will govern the manner in which the 115 cardinals will elect the new pope. It also contains the protocol and formula of acceptance by which the new elected pope will solemnly declare and accept his new office as Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ and 266th Successor of Peter.
We pray for the pope. We pray for all the cardinals. I ask all of our clergy and faithful to join me in adopting in prayer His Eminence and Beatitude Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Al-­ Rahi, the Patriarch of our Maronite Church in a special way. May all the faithful join us in praying also for at least one of the other Cardinal Electors. May God hear our prayers. May He reveal His will to Cardinal Al-­Rahi and the 114 other cardinals so that they will elect a Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome and Successor of Saint Peter, who will continue leading the Ship of Saint Peter to the safe harbor of salvation, peace and glory.
Finally, we provide the clergy and faithful with two special prayers. On the one hand, these prayers are meant to accompany the Holy Father, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus, who at 8 p.m., February 28, 2013, officially gave up his role as Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ and Successor of Peter. On the other hand, they are meant to involve the clergy and faithful of the Holy Church in spiritually supporting and assisting the 115 Cardinal Electors in the College of Cardinals who will meet soon to elect the new pope. From this hour on, let us join the cardinals in spirit and pray for their safe arrival to the conclave in Rome. There let us accompany them through responsible prayer and good Christian behavior. Let each one of us pray for a Cardinal Elector so that Almighty God will enlighten all of their minds and hearts.
May God reveal His clear will, through our prayers and our unity with all the cardinals, that by the intercession of Mary, Sea of Wisdom, Mother of the Church, and Mother of Divine Mercy, the Church will be edified in faith, hope and love. May these days reveal that the Church is working for the common good of humanity and for the adoration and glory of God.
Fr. Andre Y-­Sebastian MAHANNA, S.T.L Office of Evangelization and Catechesis Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon
Thursday, February 28

To make it easier for you to print and to read online the rest of this document is in PDF Booklet and PDF Word.


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