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Pope Francis: Cardinals ‘used me’ in 2005 in scheme to dam Benedict XVI’s election

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — Pope Francis stated 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 understood — they used me,” Francis stated.

The pope’s feedback have been made to the Vatican journalist Javier Martinez Brocal, who writes for the Spanish publication ABC, and can seem in a brand new guide known 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 loss of life in 2022, Francis navigated the weird and never at all times snug scenario of not being the one pope dwelling contained in the Vatican.

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

On the 2005 conclave, Francis was already being thought-about as a potential candidate for the papacy. However in response to Francis, some cardinals who opposed Benedict lobbied for votes for Francis, hoping to stop 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 an alternative of Benedict; fairly, the technique was geared toward making approach for a 3rd, compromise candidate.

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

Francis stated that those that pretended to again him acknowledged that “they didn’t need a ‘overseas’ pope,” provided 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 stated he warned the cardinals who have been backing him to not “idiot round” together with his candidacy, including that he wouldn’t settle for the function of pontiff have been the scheme to backfire and really acquire him enough votes. He instructed 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 in a position to make “plenty 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 stated, 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 plenty of resistance inside the Vatican,” he stated.

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

Since his election as pope in 2013, Francis has created probably the most culturally and ethnically numerous batches of cardinals in Catholic historical past, assigning purple hats to locations which might be far faraway from conventional facilities of energy within the church.



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