Rorate Caeli

Editorial note - "Religious correspondents", "Vaticanists": they really don't know much more about the Conclave than the rest of us

The 2005 Conclave is not exactly ancient history. In 2013, though, it has become a kind of non-debatable fact that Cardinal Ratzinger was obviously and the whole time the absolute favorite in the 2005 Conclave. Alas, maybe he always was among the electors, and we will never know how much his position in some outstanding events leading up to the Conclave (as writer of the 2005 Colosseum Via Crucis reflections, as Dean of the College of Cardinals and consequently main celebrant of the Funeral Mass of John Paul II and of the Missa pro eligendo Romano Pontifice immediately before the Conclave) led to a last-minute movement in his favor.

What we can say for sure was that the media, the same media filled with strange "papabile" suggestions today, and especially the Italian media, had no space whatsoever for Ratzinger as a credible papabile up to the day of the conclave. No wonder most of us, influenced by media reports, were (gladly) shocked when the Cardinal Protodeacon announced his name on April 19, 2005. It is true that, in hindsight, and considering the events above, historians can say, "there could have been no other outcome". That was not exactly how things were reported at the time. We will not let their mistakes (true or made on purpose) be forgotten.

Whom did extreme-"progressive" Rome correspondent for radical weekly NCR John Allen Jr. mentioned as the top papabili as soon as news of John Paul II's death appeared? Remember: this was not a rookie taken by surprise; the state of Pope Wojtyla's health had been no surprise for several months, so newsmakers such as Allen, who lived full-time in Rome at the time, had their lists ready. He included the following as his papabili:

Ennio Antonelli, 68, Italy; Francis Arinze, 72, Nigeria; Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 68, Argentina; Dario Castrillón Hoyos, 75, Colombia; Godfried Danneels, 71, Belgium; Julius Darmaatmadja, 70, Indonesia; Ivan Dias, 69, India; Claudio Hummes, 70, Brazil; Lubomyr Husar, 72, Ukraine; Walter Kasper, 72, Germany; Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, 68, Dominican Republic; Wilfrid Fox Napier, 64, South Africa; Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, 68, Cuba; Marc Ouellet, 60, Canada; Giovanni Battista Re, 71, Italy; Norberto Rivera Carrera, 62, Mexico; Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, 62, Honduras; Christoph Schönborn, 60, Austria; Angelo Scola, 63, Italy; Dionigi Tettamanzi, 71, Italy.

This was the "official" NCR list in the 2005 Conclave, posted soon after the death of Pope John Paul II: do you see one name missing there?... As we have often made clear here, Allen and "journalists" like him do not intend to report; their intention is always to try to influence events. Always. It is not for nothing Allen has remained faithful to NCR this whole time.

We can move a step higher in credibility and read another contemporary article by Sandro Magister. The 2005 Conclave was widely reported as an open conclave, and Magister also included a long list of plausible popes; he did include Ratzinger, but hesitatingly: "the indication of Ratzinger as the next pope is perhaps more symbolic than real."

What is amazing is to see fellow Catholics falling once again before the same media hype about certain papabili in this 2013 Conclave. Could the "Vaticanists" be right? Of course they could, especially when dozens of names are mentioned each time, but what one must remember is that the secular media and the "progressive Catholic" media (the same secular and progressive media that crucified dear Pope Ratzinger again and again during his entire pontificate and that now that he is gone pretend to "admire" him) are not to be trusted. Trust in prayers and penance only: auxilium nostrum in nomine Domini.

[This post was quoted in the official daily of the Holy See, L'Osservatore Romano, in its March 4-5, 2013, edition.]


  1. Prof. Basto4:41 PM

    Great article, New Catholic! Thanks!

  2. Now to be fair, the Omaha World-Herald had the usual names, such as Schoenborn, but did include Joseph Ratzinger as papabile. That's when at the young age of ten, I sensed that he would be the next Pope and that I did not like Schoenborn.

  3. The Omaha World-Herald?...

    The Allen list was special - almost all other lists did include Cardinal Ratzinger. However, and regardless of the many "reports" about the successive votes in the Conclave, what is certain, judging from its length, was that Ratzinger's support was solid and strong from the beginning - it was never really an "open" conclave. Some now compare the 2005 conclave with the 1939 conclave, and that is a fair comparison (solid curial candidate and inevitable outcome), but that was not at all what the "Vaticanists" were saying at the time... Just a reminder.


  4. This is just one more reason these media types are not to be trusted. Sure if they're on scene at a burning dumpster, they're feeding you info from the mouthpiece of the fire dept or whomever is around, but doing true work of a journalist where research is done and facts are presented as is are over with.

  5. The Allen list is interesting. It doesn't have Cards. Ratzinger or Martini, whereas, most post-conclave articles suggested that those two ended up being the two poles of the College.

    All I can say is - whoever is the Pope - even if it is Cardinal Schonborn (and I admit in 2005, I was a fan - before he started getting weird) will have my obedience.

  6. Ty NC! Useful reporting yet again :)

    GB, you and your dear ones are in my prayers as well.

  7. John L. Allen is a wolf in wolf's clothing. Unlike a lot of deceptive liberals, he doesn't even hide his antipathy to Catholic tradition or orthodoxy. A few years ago, he was not only allowed to speak at Franciscan University, but was absolutely fawned over, and given some sort of award for "excellence" in Catholic journalism! Many faculty members were upset, but it was not a faculty decision, as far as I know.

  8. NC, you are right on target, especially with Allen. It was Allen who only a year or so before John Paul's death, when Cardinal Ratzinger had his heart surgery, wrote that within the next year, Ratzinger would finally step down from the CDF and retire to Bavaria.

  9. "All I can say is - whoever is the Pope - ... will have my obedience."

    Keep it at obedience. The fawning adoration of everything the Pope does, which we sadly witnessed with the JPII fanatics, is not appropriate.

  10. Benedict Carter7:04 PM


    let's pray that whoever is Pope is obedient to the Deposit of Faith. Things are that bad, yes.

  11. My Gregorian Chant schola in San Diego held an informal conclave, and elected Ratzinger the night before the Cardinals did the same. It was obvious to us that there was only one logical choice. This time I think there are two, but we'll see if the Cardinals get it right. If they don't, I think it's game over for the institutional church as a European city-state, and we'll be back to what's left of the Dioceses and the house-church of the early centuries. Oh well, that's what happens when the smoke of Satan gets in under the door. Oh, by the way, the doors on the left of St. Peter's, the so-called "Doors of Death" were made by Giacomo Manzu, a Marxist athiest, at the comission of John XXIII, so there's plenty of room there for smoke to filter through. "Really?" you say in disbelief, "Really?" Yes, Virginia, really.

  12. Cardinal Schonborn?

    Is it possible God could be *that* furious with us?

    I suppose it is.......

  13. It's worth noting that John Allen has just published an interview with Cardinal George, who said unequivocally that, unlike in 2005, the vaticanistas are basically right about who the candidates are.

  14. I have no real preference so long as he is not German and his name begins with an R and ends with a anjith.

  15. Yes, we saw that. Considering that, if you sum all major Vaticanists, there is a list of about two dozen Cardinals mentioned as papabili at this moment - and that not even including the latest arrivals (over-80, e.g.), mentioned by Italian Vaticanists this morning, and that Card. George learned through Allen during this very interview. As we said in the piece, of course the Vaticanists will be right when mentioning dozens of names... Even Magister was right in 2005, because he included Ratzinger, with great reservations. Allen didn't, who knows why?...

  16. Ite ad Ioseph, that just repeated what we had said in the piece... Allen only mentioned Ratzinger in 2005 when it became inevitable. We will never forget either that he kept denying the very existence of the motu proprio, when even we were aware of its existence. He has an accepted activity (advocacy), but people should treat him as such, an advocate for specific ideas and positions, and read his articles accordingly.

  17. Jerome8:38 PM

    It is kinda disappointing to see that the Vatican commissioned rather plain liturgical garments for the new pope's inauguration (coranation) mass

    We can just hope the new pope will choose instead more regal ornaments from the treasury, and why not the tiara.

  18. The Office >>> the man.

    So yes - even if it is Cardinal Schonborn - we should love, respect, pray, pay homage and obey the Roman Pontiff. THAT is the deposit of faith - more than anything else, the Successor of St Peter is what makes the Catholic Church the Church of Christ.

  19. Johannes de Silentio8:49 PM

    Somebody should reacquaint Mr. Allen with his 2005 list, for he just wrote yesterday that, "In the run-up to the conclave of 2005, everyone agreed that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was the frontrunner and that the conclave would only become interesting if his candidacy stalled." You can't make this stuff up.

  20. NC, yes, that was when I lived in the Archdiocese of Omaha...can't tell who compiled the list though.

  21. Anonymous9:58 PM

    Thanks for injecting some sanity into the the conclave speculation frenzy.

    As the old saying goes, "He who enters the conclave pope elect leaves still a cardinal."

    authoressaurus, who do you consider the two logical choices to be?



  22. It's Arinze. We don't need another 25 year papacy. I will be overjoyed if he gets it.

  23. Francis in Ma10:38 PM

    I don't trust any media, especially the so called "main stream media". Of course as the article mentions there really isn't much diference between leftwing, liberal and progressive "journalists" and "journalism" found in the secular media or in the leftist "catholic" press, so yes, these guys are trying to influence the conclave and the world by promoting their guy(s) for the next pope, who is a liberal and a modernist like they are. Pray for an orthodox and traditional pope.

  24. common sense11:55 PM

    So it begins.We hope and pray,that the next pontiff will be St.Pius XIII and his understanding of the holy tradition accordingly.

  25. Excellent article and thanks.

    As to guesses,

  26. NIANTIC12:45 AM


  27. Velasio De Paolis.

  28. Gary Page1:03 AM

    Rick Delano said:
    "I have no real preference so long as he is not German and his name begins with an R and ends with a anjith."
    Not a bad choice, that. Although I'm aiming a little higher with a name that begins with a B and ends with an E! Nice to see you at the Holy Innocents TLM Sunday.

  29. a Rorate reader1:54 AM

    To New Catholic: May the Holy Spirit's inspiration of your words and example, inspire your readers: "Trust in prayers and penance only: auxilium nostrum in nomine Domini. [Personal recess for an indefinite time.]"

    "Veni Sancte Spiritus!"

  30. So doesn't it bother anybody that this matters so much to so many? Shouldn't the election of the Bishop of Rome be less dramatic? That it is so dramatic is just weird.

  31. Benedict Carter5:12 AM

    Arinze is 80 or 81. I don't think they will go for a Pope older than 65.

    Who are the younger Catholic candidates?

  32. Claudio9:00 AM

    My prediction is that the Vaticanists are going to be wrong again, especially Allen. The name that I am not seeing is Raymond Cardinal Burke. I am surprised how everyone is dismissing his chances of being elected including the good readers of Rorate Caeli for the most part. I really believe he has a good shot at being elected. He has been in the Vatican for the last 5 years and gained a lot of respect with other Vatican cardinals from what I have read. He has both Curial experience and the pastoral experience that I think the cardinals are looking for. He is solidly orthodox and friendly to tradition. I also think he is humble and holy. I also think he has better managerial skills then either B16 or JPII. His intellect may not be equal to B16 or JPII but he still very intelligent and is more than capable of dealing with dissident theologians. What is there not to like? Although there are some bad apples in the College of Cardinals, I still believe the majority are good and holy men and I pray that they will see the qualities that I just described about Cardinal Burke and elect him our next Pope.

  33. GQ Rep11:17 AM

    It would be foolish to elect Arinze, and not only due to his age. He'll be 81 in NOvember.

    He also is among the last living bishops who participated in Vatican II, and that is not seen as the badge of honor it was viewed as 10-20 years ago. He is also against Catholic tradition and the Tridentine Latin Mass. So it would not be wise to elect someone not only so old (we'd have to go thru this all over again in anywhere between 1-5 years), but also seemingly out of step with what a significant minority of younger Catholics are looking for-a return to Catholic tradition both in the way the Papacy presents itself, and with regards to Catholic liturgy and other practice.

    Burke, Cafarra, Bagnasco, Ranjinth and maybe a handful of others represent the best hopes for the Church.

  34. Cardinal Burke would be an ideal choice if the members of the conclave seek to purge the Church of the scandalous behavior (financial,sexual, fill in the blank)currently plaguing her.On one hand, the conclave consists of men and that means politics and compromise. On the other hand,I believe that the election of Joseph Ratzinger in 2005 proves unequivocally that God was calling the shots.

  35. Francis in Ma12:23 PM

    IMHO Cardinal Piacenza, along with Burke, Bagnasco and Ranjinth would be a good choice. Cafarra would be good yet he is almost 75, so I don't think he would get elected after what happened with Benedict (being elected at 78).

  36. Actually in the 2005 conclave Bergoglio got close to winning against Ratzinger so even the NCR list was not totally off.

  37. "Actually in the 2005 conclave Bergoglio got close to winning against Ratzinger"

    Really?... Who's your source?...

  38. I had a dream last night that Cardinal Schonborn was elected Pope and he came out onto the balcony of St. Peters with a coloured balloon.

  39. OnEaglesWings5:46 PM

    ben ingledew said:

    "I had a dream last night that Cardinal Schonborn was elected Pope and he came out onto the balcony of St. Peters with a coloured balloon."

    So then what?

    Did at that moment a gust of wind sweep the balcony and carry the balloon and Schonborn away?

    God does work in mysterious ways.

  40. Benedict Carter5:56 PM

    Ben Ingledew:

    That's astonishing. Last night I dreamt that I was a coloured balloon and below me there was a sea of people shouting "Ein Volk, ein Vatikan III, ein Schonborn!"

    What it meant I cannot imagine.

  41. If the cardinals decide to continue what pope Benedict was trying to accomplish,I can see them electing cardinal Burke. That would seem like the logical choice.

  42. El Cid8:52 PM

    Whatever transpires, the latest news about Cdl. O'Brien is most unfortunate and potentially casts doubt on the conventional wisdom regarding the papabili.

    This brings up an interesting question: let us posit that the Cardinal electors believe they have been moved by the Holy Spirit to elect Cardinal X. Let us further posit that Cardinal X has committed indiscretions similar to O'Brien. Now, would not this Eminence be obligated to say 'Ego non accepto' (apologies for my atrocious Latin grammar) to show to the other electors that they were in error? And by turning down the Chair of Peter, would not this eminence be demonstrating the misjudgment of his brethren and, thus, be acting in accordance to the will of the Holy Spirit?

  43. chaimbeul10:30 PM

    Matt wrote:

    "This is one more reason why media types are not to be trusted."

    Those who love and promote scandal are the very worst of the media types. And trads fall for thier nonsense every day.

  44. Ora et Labora10:51 PM

    Benedict Carter, I feel SICK just thinking about it!

  45. I like Ranjith and Burke - good holy pastors - but I just don't think they have the intellectual prowess of someone like Benedict XVI.

    The question today is not - how to govern, or how to pray, or anything to do with ecclesiastical politics, important though those questions are. The really big question posed by the world to the Bishop of Rome is - Does God even exist??!

    Most individuals at the moment don't even have the "mind" or skills to logically think through the God-question so clouded are they/we by relativism.

    We need a good, holy, intelligent man to be able to frame the public discussion, and then persuade others convincingly of God, of goodness and of evil.

    Get a good Sec of State to do the governance, keep Mgr Marini and strengthen the power of the CDW, but the Pope has to be out there - everywhere, in all places - publicly, privately, through word and deed, humbly but clearly, convincing others of the existence of God. And he needs the intellectual chops to do that.


  46. I think Burke and Randjith have the "chops" as you say. Ratzinger is a very talented theologian, and was a fine preacher as Pope. But a preacher, I believe, doesn't need to be a theologian to preach. There is knowledge that is gained by connaturality--I think Benedict has it, plus the stuff you get by reading and praying over great theologians such as St. Augustine and St. Thomas.

    The Word must be lived and preached...

  47. When Archishop Antonio "Chito" Tagle was appointed as Cardinal last November 24, 2012, he was immediately proclaimed as Papabile by the media. It seems that they were aware already that the Seat of Peter will be vacant soon. And now indeed, its sede vacante. I cannot help but conclude that the abdication of Benedict XVI of his Petrine Ministry was not voluntary and there is an unknown agenda being pushed at the Holy See which can only be carried out by the new Pope.I hope the election of the new Pope is not predetermined in favor of the progressives.

  48. I remember some "progressive" Catholics I knew in 2005 who desperately hoped for the Pope to be anyone other than Cardinal Ratzinger. I can imagine the "wailing and gnashing of teeth" if Cardinal Burke was selected. That would so make me happy.

  49. Benedict Carter5:48 AM


    No, you are wrong i think. The Pope you want was Benedict XVI and even his intellect could not stem the militant atheistic flood.

    No, what we need is a Pope who states the Church's moral teaching in absolutely unequivocal terms, equally strongly tells the world the penalty of not obeying and who then lets the chips fall where they fall.

    Things have gone well beyond the point of trying to explain to people in the West that God exists. Now we enter the time of persecution.

    God knows his own. His elect will listen and live Christian lives. The rest are destined for gehenna.

  50. Common Sense5:59 AM

    People are only as good as their leaders.For organization to function well,several leaders traits are essential:competence, determination to succeed,place right personel in key position and make concerted effort, that the directives are implemented.Because we are talking about future pope,qualities like good and clever grasp of politics are important on the top of the previous. Naturally,true catholic spirit and wisdom are indespensible.I dont buy into so called intelectual caliber mind.They are quite often a kind of people, who dont know ,which way is up.

  51. @Justin, the vast majority of the world is not listening or cares to listen to the pope. The vast majority has accepted relativism as it's God. The world is in such bad shape, but most continue to act like everything is normal. The pope should of course continue to preach the gospel, but I think it's time to gather the remaining faithful on the ark and await the deluge that is to come.

  52. Claudio

    It is not a question of "intellect" as positively or as negatively as one might view the current or previous pope. What we need more than anything is a Christ-like Holy Father in substance. Nominal qualifications account for little of worth. This is why The gifts of The Holy Ghost have nothing to do with intellectual prowess as they are based on divine grace and His bestowal of these as He sees appropriate. Indeed, we require true Holy and true Father as our next pope. He will require all seven in abundance to be able to undo the chaos of 50 years and the abuses of even more.

    The Church cries out "instaurare omnia in Christo". We once had a pope who was capable of doing this while he reigned over us. We sorely need his like once again. Is there one such among the current cohort? Doubtful! very doubtful! In Almighty God's hands, possible but in view of the contemporary environment in which we live, it appears we must suffer yet more cleansing until the liberal modernist predominance is annihilated.

  53. If Tagle becomes Pope, I'll sedate myself and have my family wakes me up until the next conclave.

  54. How about wild cards like His Beatitude Baselios Cardinal Cleemis, Catholicos of the Malankara Syrian Catholics; His Beatitude George III Alencherril of the Syro-Malabars?

    What happened to His Eminence Peter Cardinal Turkson - his name seems to have disappeared?

  55. Ora et Labora10:29 PM

    Turkson has been busy promoting himself for the papacy.

    And I am sorry but I don't like him at all.

  56. I just can't subscribe to the defeatist attitude of - well the world is trapped in its dictatorship of relativism so therefore the Pope should gather the fateful remnants and await the second coming.

    Souls can still be won. Souls should still be won. The parable of the mustard seed does not contract Christ's explicit commandment to go out into the world proclaiming the Gospel.

    Christ ate with tax collectors and sinners - he went down to our level. We who are hopeless, trapped in our own selfishness - Christ came down, he empty himself, and proves over and over again his love for us.

    So too the Pope and the Church should imitate her Master. We too can empty ourselves, we too can allow ourselves to be stripped, derided and crucified. And we too can prove our love for this messed up, unworthy world.

    And if the Pope's imitation of Christ's compassion converts only 1 extra soul? If the trials, tribulations and the crucifixion - the loss of all worldly power and political goodwill - towards Christ's Church should result in the conversion of only 1 extra soul? Then like the Good Shepherd who went out to search for the 1 lost sheep - it will all have been worth it.

    "You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid."

  57. Anonymous1:57 PM

    You're quoted in March 4-5 edition of Osservatore Romano p. 5

  58. I agree
    Cardinal Burke would make an Ideal Pope.
    When Cardinal Burke, then Bishop Burke in the Lacrosse Wisconsin diocese, I worked with Bishop Burke when he came to Prairie du Chien Wisconsin to Confirm our young people.I found him to be everything you stated in your article.

  59. When Cardinal Burke was Archbishop of St. Louis, he hda to deal with a parish wanting to control their own finances instead of submitting to the Archdiocese. The press took the side of the renegade parish. Eventually, Archbishop Burke excommunicated the leaders of that church as well as the priest. I'll never forget how he explained that he did for them, so they could see the error of their ways, repent and come back to the Church. Everything he does is for the salvation of all souls, including his own. God bless Cardinal Burke.


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