Cardinals ‘used me’ in 2005 in scheme to block Benedict XVI’s election

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Pope Francis mentioned in a newly launched interview that he backed his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, on the conclave that elected Benedict pope in 2005, regardless of the efforts of some cardinals to hijack the election.

“In that conclave — the knowledge is thought — they used me,” Francis mentioned.

The pope’s feedback had been made to the Vatican journalist Javier Martinez Brocal, who writes for the Spanish publication ABC, and can seem in a brand new guide referred to as “The Successor”  to be revealed in Spain on Wednesday (April 3). An excerpt of the interview was revealed by ABC on Sunday.

The guide focuses on the connection between Francis and Benedict, who shocked the world in 2013 when he introduced his choice to step down as pontiff and take the title of emeritus pope. For 9 years, till Benedict’s demise in 2022, Francis navigated the bizarre and never at all times comfy state of affairs of not being the one pope dwelling contained in the Vatican.

"The Successor: My Memories of Benedict XVI" (Courtesy image)

“The Successor: My Reminiscences of Benedict XVI” (Courtesy picture)

On the 2005 conclave, Francis was already being thought of as a potential candidate for the papacy. However based on Francis, some cardinals who opposed Benedict lobbied for votes for Francis, hoping to forestall the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger from receiving the two-thirds majority of votes essential to turn into pope.

The cardinals by no means meant for Francis to win the election as a substitute of Benedict; fairly, the technique was aimed toward making approach for a 3rd, compromise candidate.

“The concept was to dam the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger,” Francis defined. “They had been utilizing me, however within the meantime, they had been already fascinated about proposing one other cardinal. They’d not but agreed on who, however they had been able to throw out a reputation.”

Francis mentioned that those that pretended to again him acknowledged that “they didn’t desire a ‘overseas’ pope,” on condition that Pope John Paul II, who dominated over the church from 1978 to 2005, was Polish. Most popes within the Vatican’s historical past have been Italian.

“The cardinals swear to not reveal what occurs within the conclave, however the popes have permission to inform it,” Francis clarified.

Within the guide, Francis mentioned he warned the cardinals who had been backing him to not “idiot round” together with his candidacy, including that he wouldn’t settle for the function of pontiff had been the scheme to backfire and truly achieve him adequate votes. He advised the interviewers that Benedict was his candidate as a result of, after the charismatic papacy of John Paul II, the church wanted somebody “who maintained a wholesome steadiness, a transitional pope.”

Francis added that he was glad he was not elected in 2005 as a result of he wouldn’t have been capable of make “a number of hassle,” apparently referring to the robust opposition he has encountered in making reforms within the Vatican throughout his personal papacy. He left the primary reforms to Benedict, who had the goodwill of being John Paul’s lieutenant for a lot of his papacy.

Even so, Francis mentioned, reform was not accepted at first. “Benedict XVI was a person who led to the brand new fashion. And it wasn’t simple for him, huh? He encountered a number of resistance throughout the Vatican,” he mentioned.

Francis underlined that Benedict’s election in 2005 confirmed that the Holy Spirit decides who’s elected pope, and there’s not house to rig the conclave.

Since his election as pope in 2013, Francis has created one of the crucial culturally and ethnically various batches of cardinals in Catholic historical past, assigning crimson hats to locations which can be far faraway from conventional facilities of energy within the church.

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