Thursday, April 07, 2005

Interregnum: Day Five

The pope's will -- his "spiritual testament," as it was called -- was opened yesterday, and released to the public today. I haven't read the whole thing myself, but I am told by a realible source, that the identity of the cardinal named "in pectore" (that is, "close to the breast," or in secret) will accompany him to the grave, it seems. Probably someone in China, but who knows? It would have required two witnesses anyway. I'm also informed that he mentions his preference for a successor to be from among the ranks of Italian cardinals. But I haven't read the full document yet. Here's the CWN link on the story:
[H]e considered resignation from the papacy in 2000... The document contains few provisions for John Paul's material possessions. "I do not leave behind me any property that requires disposal," he writes. Instead the Pontiff offers a spiritual testament, in 15 pages of reflection on his life and pontificate.
Fair enough.

(Former President Bill Clinton was quoted on Air Force One enroute to Rome, as describing the late pope's "mixed legacy." And we got that from an expert on the subject.)

Over at, Dom Bettinelli posts two detailed first-hand accounts of life in Vatican City during the formalities, to be linked here and here.

In yet another lesson on the complications wrought by the "papabile" phenomenon, one of the alleged frontrunners, Archbishop Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan, has written a series of essays entitled "Christian Anthropology and Homosexuality." Needless to say, it's rather sympathetic to such proclivities. Now in its third printing, it has only been published in Italian, and most of us missed it. That alignment with Opus Dei sure threw some of us off, huh? Just goes to show you...

Then again, I received a bulletin from Dr Robert Moynihan, editor of Inside the Vatican magazine...
"In contrast to Tettamanzi, is my choice for Pope, a man I am praying and even predicting will be our next Pope -- a cardinal who has not gotten too much media attention but is a favorite among the orthodox, and very much in the mold of our best popes like Pius XII -- a pastor, a diplomat, and intellectual -- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, now the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops."
Moynihan goes on to describe Cardinal Re's background and attributes. We could do a lot worse.

It is perfectly well and good to have a desired preference. And yet it is said, that one who enters the conclave as a pope, will leave as a cardinal. Whatever the outcome, the promise of Christ to the first pope, Simon bar-Jona (Peter), the rock upon which the Church stands will prevail, guided by the Holy Spirit.

And those of the Sacred College will enter into their private chamber, where they will listen for "the still, small voice."

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