April 14, 2005


Ratzinger's papal push gains steam (Barney Zwartz, April 15, 2005, The Age)

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the man known as John Paul II's enforcer, is thought to be making a serious tilt to be the next pope.

As cardinals continue to meet before their conclave starts on Monday, Cardinal Ratzinger is thought to have as many as 50 supporters. He will need 77 to get the required two-thirds majority, but if the conclave dragged out to 30 ballots he would need only a simple majority, 58.

Cardinal Ratzinger, who turns 78 tomorrow, was thought to be too old and too close to John Paul, and Vatican watchers also felt his German nationality might be a handicap. But he is widely respected as a theologian, and gained considerable ground with his dignified homily at John Paul's funeral.

Although the 115 cardinals who will elect the next pope have agreed on a media ban between the funeral and the conclave, it emerged yesterday that Ratzinger supporters are planning a swift campaign. If, after a couple of ballots, he does not have the numbers, he will withdraw.

A reaction against his candidacy began to develop yesterday as progressives martialled their energies behind Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 14, 2005 9:28 PM

Tettamanzi seems like the type of Italian cleric who emerges from the womb campaigning for the papacy.

Wasn't he close to the Opus Dei folk but then did an about face and tried to make nice with the progressives?

Feeble attempt to maximize voting blocs it would seem.

Worried that Ratzinger is the favorite now, based upon the adage that he who goes in pope emerges cardinal and all that.

On the other hand both Pius XII and (I think) Paul VI were the favorites going in, so . . .

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 14, 2005 11:29 PM

Ratzinger is apparently lobbying the other Cardinals to immediately declare JPII a saint, and that is supposedly part of the explanation for his growing support.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 15, 2005 7:36 AM

Jim - More like, he was close to the progressives, and began courting Opus Dei after he was made a cardinal, and then when the progressive cardinal he replaced got mad at him, renewed his wooing of the progressives. Altogether, he seems to many too ambitious and too slippery to win the papacy -- it is said that conservative Cardinals began uniting behind Ratzinger to stop Tettamanzi.

Ratzinger seems acceptable to more cardinals than any other.

Posted by: pj at April 15, 2005 7:42 AM

David - I doubt any such lobbying would help him gain support. Many cardinals prefer going slow with beatifications; and this is a very minor question compared to how to deal with secularism, church governance, and the evangelization of Africa and Asia and interaction with Islam. It would only hurt Ratzinger to take strong stands on minor but controversial issues, I suspect.

Posted by: pj at April 15, 2005 7:47 AM

"Progressives?" One wonders in which direction this "progress" extends.

Posted by: Lou Gots at April 15, 2005 10:26 AM