Anonymous cardinal breaks conclave secrecy
A member of the College of Cardinals has given a detailed description of the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI, confirming that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected on the fourth ballot, and his main rival was Argentine Jesuit, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
Catholic World News reports that the cardinal also provided the results of that ballot, saying that Cardinal Ratzinger won 84 votes, with 26 for Cardinal Bergoglio.
In an evening news program that aired on Thursday, RAI television reported that the cardinal had given a full account of the papal election to the Italian journal Limes, confirming much of what Vatican-watchers had already concluded.
At the start of a papal conclave, all of the cardinal-electors swear a solemn oath to preserve the absolute secrecy of the proceedings. But journalists had previously persuaded some prelates to offer a few clues about the proceedings.
In an article entitled "How we elected Pope Ratzinger," journalist Lucio Brunelli presents what he claims is an eyewitness account, furnished by an anonymous cardinal, of the 2-day conclave that took place on 18 and 19 April.
Catholic World News comments that it is impossible to determine the accuracy of the account presented by Limes, suggesting that is may even be a hoax.
"If it is indeed the account of a cardinal who participated in the conclave, the credibility of this eyewitness is severely undermined by his willingness to violate his oath. Still, sources at the Vatican note that the details of the story seem to match all of the available evidence about the conclave."
The Limes account does contradict less detailed leaks from conclave participants that suggested Cardinal Martini was the main rival to Cardinal Ratzinger during the conclave. According to the anonymous cardinal cited by Limes, the former Archbishop of Milan never won more than 9 votes.
Unknown cardinal breaks secrecy, describes conclave (Catholic World News 23/9/05)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Limes Online - Archive
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26 Sep 2005