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Exclusive NEWSFLASH from Inside the Vatican!
- by Robert Moynihan, Editor, Inside the Vatican
VATICAN CITY, Monday, April 18, 2005
A half-moon hangs over the cupola of St.
Peter's Basilica tonight. The dome is slightly shrouded in
a silver mist. A few grey clouds drift through the night sky,
following a cold day of intermittent rain.
The clock on the basilica's facade strikes 1 a.m.
The city is silent, almost empty.
The conclave to elect John Paul II's successor begins at 4:30
The cardinals entered their residence on Sunday afternoon.
The residence is called the Domus Sanctae Marthae (House of
St. Martha) and is on the left side of St. Peter's Basilica.
The Sistine Chapel, where voting will take place, is on the
right side of the basilica.
Most observers feel certain that the next Pope will be one
of the 115 cardinal-electors entering the conclave on April
But the possibility that the man chosen might be a bishop,
and not yet a cardinal, should not yet be entirely excluded.
This would be a dramatic departure from tradition, of course.
And it is not a "likely" occurrence.
Still, the 1978 conclave, with its election of Karol Wojtyla,
showed us that the cardinals then were capable of breaking
with 455 years of tradition.
If they were capable of that in 1978, what might they be capable
of now, 26 years later?
Of the 115 cardinals who will vote, 58 are from Europe, 20
from Latin America, 14 from North America, 11 from Africa,
10 from Asia, and 2 from Australia and the Pacific.
The German Cardinal Walter Kasper Saturday night warned that
the cardinals should not elect a “cloned Pope”
in the coming conclave. Celebrating Mass with the Roman community
Sant’ Egidio, he said: “Cloning doesn’t
work – even Pope John Paul II can’t be cloned.”
He continued saying that the new Pope should “not try
to imitate his predecessor” but should act out of his
own strength and conviction. Kasper said this would not be
a simple task. He said the cardinals wish to find a “good
shepherd, who leads his flock in the right direction. In doing
this he shall not be afraid of the secularized and indifferent
Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez, prefect emeritus
of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of
the Sacraments, Saturday evening presided over the ninth and
last memorial Mass for Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s
In his homily, Cardinal Estévez recalled the reasons
why memorial Masses are held: “We are also celebrating
this Mass to pray for all that may have been lacking in the
Holy Father’s holiness. We cannot view ourselves as
the perfect followers of Christ. John Paul II was very well
aware of how much each one of us has to entrust himself to
the mercy of Our Lord. This is the reason he heard confessions
here every Good Friday. May the Lord free his soul from every
sin or deficiency, as negligible as it may be."
The Bishop of Hong Kong, Joseph Zen, firmly believes that
the next Pope will visit China. According to the Italian daily
La Repubblica, Zen said the gradual change in relations
between Beijing and the Vatican will allow this to happen.
John Paul II himself wished for a visit to China “almost
like a child, wishing for a piece of candy," Zen said.
Liberation theologian Frei Betto from Brazil sees signs that
the Cuban regime of Fidel Castro is looking for dialogue with
the Cuban Church. Betto told the news agency Efe that the
Church leadership in Havana should make use of the moment
and bravely engage with Castro’s government. At the
moment, Betto is participating in a meeting of theologians
The news agency ADN-Kronos is reporting that the former Secretary
of Pope John Paul II, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, is keeping
the last belongings of the late pontiff in a box.
Among other things, the box contains the breviary of the Pope
and a Marian medal from his youth.
Dziwisz, who is staying at a Polish pilgrim hostel on the
outskirts of Rome at the moment, also took some of the last
clothes worn by the Pope from the papal apartments.
On the question whether Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger will be
the next Pope, the German journalist Peter Seewald replied:
“An interesting constellation exists in this conclave.
Perhaps this is an omen, but next week is under the patronage
of the Germans in the ecclesiastical calendar: from Tuesday,
April 19, the Church remembers Leo IX – one of the most
significant German Popes who reigned from 1049 to 1054. From
Thursday, April 21, the Church remembers Father Konrad of
Parzham. Parzham lies only a few kilometres away from Ratzinger’s
place of birth, Marktl-am-Inn, and both lie in the same diocese,
This interview was published in the German daily Neue Passauer
Presse on April 15, 2005. Peter Seewald wrote, together with
Cardinal Ratzinger, the books “Salt of the Earth”
and “God and the World.”
(Note: This following article seemed worth including here,
in part because of its analysis of Bishop Werth's importance,
in part because it is based on a little-known January article
from a Russian source, and in part because it was picked up
by the influential news agency UPI in February. Our inclusion
of it does not indicate that we agree with the analysis, but
we did find it interesting. -- The Editor)
Eye on Eurasia: A Siberian Pope?
Updated: February 9, 2005
By Paul Goble
UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
Tartu, Estonia, Feb. 5, 2005 (UPI) -- At the height of the
Cold War, Morris West published a novel titled "The Shoes
of the Fisherman," which tells how a Russian Catholic
priest long imprisoned in the Soviet Gulag concentration camp
system becomes by a strange twist of fate the pope of Rome
and helps the world's major powers to overcome their divisions.
Five years later, that book became the basis for a popular
motion picture of the same name starring Anthony Quinn.
And now, 40 years later, at least one Russian journalist is
suggesting that life might come to imitate art and that after
the death of John Paul II, "the next Pope might come
In Moscow's Novyye Izvestiya, newspaper on Jan. 24
Mikhail Pozdnyaev discusses why such a "fantastic"
suggestion, however improbable it appears, nonetheless is
not nearly as farfetched as were either the premise behind
West's 1963 novel or the election in 1979 of Cardinal Karol
Wojtyla of Poland as the current pope.
Three things prompted Pozdnyaev to raise this possibility,
which at best is almost certainly the longest of long shots
and which in any case is both premature and inappropriate
because the current pope is still very much alive.
First, on Jan. 19, Novosibirsk Bishop Iosif Vert [Joseph Werth]
was chosen to succeed Metropolitan Tadeus Kondrusevic as chairman
of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Russia, the group
that oversees and directs the religious life of more than
500,000 Russian Catholics.
The new chairman is a remarkable figure in his own right and
one very different than his predecessor.
Born in 1952 into a family of ethnic Germans who had been
exiled to Kazakhstan, he grew up a convinced Catholic despite
all the Soviet-era pressure to reject his faith and apparently
was committed to a religious life from the start.
After service in the Soviet military in Lithuania, Vert not
only attended the Kaunas seminary there but joined the Church's
Jesuit Order -- a group that functioned illegally and underground
there because of a Soviet ban.
His first pastorate was in Aktyubinsk, and later he headed
the Catholic community in the city of Marks in Russia's Saratov
oblast or region.
In April 1991, Vert became apostolic administrator for the
Catholics of Siberia and was named bishop in June 1992 just
before his 40th birthday.
Ten years later, when John Paul II created four Catholic eparchates
on the territory of the Russian Federation, Vert assumed the
post he now occupies -- head of the Preobrzhenskiy diocese
of Eastern Siberia, where he has engaged in extensive missionary
work especially among intellectuals and students.
Vert's career clearly sets him apart from his predecessor
[Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz], an ethnic Pole who was
trained as an engineer before turning to the priesthood and
who devoted more time to building Church institutions than
to missions and education, two areas in which the Jesuits
historically have been particularly active.
Moreover, Vert has had far greater opportunities than did
Kondrusiewicz not only to reach out to intellectuals and ordinary
Russians but also to travel abroad and to speak out on a variety
of issues concerning the often-troubled relationship between
Church and state in the Russian Federation.
Second, at the time of his election as chairman of the Conference,
Vert was singled out for special favor by the Vatican, Pozdnayev
The nuncio in Moscow announced John Paul II had personally
decided that Bishop Vert will now oversee Greek Catholics
in the Russian Federation.
Because most Greek Catholics in Russia are located near the
border with Ukraine, Vert will have expanded opportunities
not only to increase his personal power but also to attract
greater attention from Russian political leaders who are likely
to see this ethnic German born in Kazakhstan as closer to
them culturally than was the Polish Kodrusevic.
Indeed, Pozdnayev pointedly writes "the subtext"
of Vert's election is that the Vatican now understands "the
first person of the Catholic Church in Russia ought to be
a Russian" -- and here he uses the non-ethnic "rossiiskiy"
which would include the ethnic German Vert.
That Vert is sensitive to such attitudes and such possibilities
was suggested by remarks he made during a November 2003 visit
At that time, he suggested: "Russians generally consider
religion above all as a question of culture" (agnuz.info)
rather than focusing on theological issues.
But the new chairman certainly knows he will have to work
hard to gain the confidence of the Russian leadership.
Catholics are not included in Russia's Interreligious Council
as one of the "traditional" faiths of the country
and do not have good relations with many of the hierarchs
of the Russian Orthodox Church. Anti-Catholic prejudices remain
strong among many Russians who view Catholicism as a threat.
(See, for example, (http://nevskiy.orthodoxy.ru/center/sprav/katolicism.html).
And President Vladimir Putin's decision to make Nov. 4 --
the anniversary of the expulsion of the Catholic Poles from
Moscow -- a national holiday may only exacerbate the situation.
Third, Pozdnayev makes the following curious reference to
what he says are rumors swirling in the Vatican about who
should succeed the increasingly frail John Paul.
An unnamed "Vatican source," Pozdnayev says, "has
asserted that the new Pope will be neither an Italian nor
a bishop from the 'third world'; instead, he will be a Slav."
Such rumors, Pozdnayev continues, had led many in the Church
to consider the possibility that Metropolitan Kondrusiewicz
might thus be in the running.
But precisely because the metropolitan is a Pole, just like
the current Pope, is it not possible, Pozdnayev continues,
that "the future occupant of the Vatican palace does
not live today in Novosibirsk?"
Interview with Portuguese journalist Aura Miguel about Cardinal
Jose Saraiva Martins of Portugal, who grew up in a small Portuguese
village not far from Fatima, in a poor family, in a home with
no running water. Aura spoke in English with Inside the Vatican
on April 15, 2005:
Aura Miguel, you know Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins well.
You were with him when he visited Sister Lucy of Fatima in
her convent in Coimbra last year. And you say he was once
nearly killed in an airplane crash....
AURA MIGUEL: Yes, he was traveling from Hong Kong to Italy.
Someone took him to the airport. He checked in, so his luggage
went onto the plane, but at a certain moment soon after, before
getting on board himself, he said to himself, “I am
not going.” He already had his ticket for the plane,
and he cannot explain why but he gave up the flight. He came
back by himself to the place he was staying, slept that night,
got up the next morning, came to the airport and took the
next plane. And that plane, in which he didn’t want
to go, crashed. So everybody thought that he was dead. He
cannot explain anything, he said he had a feeling he could
not go on that plane. So when he arrived in Rome, everyone
had received the notice that he died in the crash –
because he had already done the check-in, and his bags were
on the plane. And then he appeared in the room, and people
looked at him as if he were a ghost. And they said: "You're
What kind of a person is Saraiva Martins?
AURA MIGUEL: He is very human. Very paternal. He is the sixth
of eight children.
He is a good friend; we have lunch all the time. And he is
like family because he eats every day with his sisters.
He is a normal person; he works a lot; he is very intelligent.
He works more than his entire staff.
The sisters have told me that he gets up very early in the
morning, before 6, takes a cold shower (he himself has told
me, he got into this habit while in the seminary).
He is never sick. He is also never cold, so even in the dead
of winter, he doesn’t where an overcoat. He only puts
an overcoat on so the others don’t worry that he doesn’t
have a coat, but he really doesn’t need it.
In the office he arrives before everyone else, so when his
staff arrives he is already at work. They complain that he
is always working.
As a matter of fact, he writes a lot, he has written lots
But you don’t realize that he does all this work when
you meet him personally. He looks like he has all the time
for you. He receives you, he cares for your family –
"how’s your father and mother?"... "how’s
your work?" -- as if he has nothing to do.
He was the professor and then rector of the Urban College
in Rome. Then, in 1988, he became secretary of the Congregation
for Catholic Education. For 10 years, he traveled the entire
world visiting Catholic universities and seminaries in Latin
America, Asia, Australia, Japan – loads of universities
around the globe.
He was the one who closed the seminaries of theology of liberation
that were not following the rules.
Then, in 1998, he was made Prefect of the Congregation for
the Causes of Saints.
He works so much that it is normal that he would rest on the
weekends, but on the weekends he does pastoral works. He always
travels in all the dioceses around Italy, to give out first
communion etc. Pastoral work is really what he likes doing.
I think he has more pastoral experience then some cardinals
who reside in their own dioceses, because he does the work
bishops must do – leading processions, visiting shrines,
celebrating first communions. As John Paul II went to all
the parishes of Rome, Saraiva is also going to all the parishes,
not only in Rome but all around Italy. He is never at home
during the weekends, he is always invited somewhere.
He is very devoted to Fatima. Every time he goes to Portugal,
he visits Fatima. When he went to Fatima to celebrate on May
13, 2004, he went to celebrate Mass in the Coimbra, in the
convent where Sr. Lucy was, to greet her, and he took me with
him inside the convent. He is very attached to Fatima. He
and Sister Lucy were close friends, and he was very keen to
beatify the small children, Francisco and Jacinta. This was
also new in Church history. Never before have children been
beatified if they weren’t martyrs. It was the first
time that two children were beatified because of their lives,
not because of being martyrs. He visited Fatima each year.
I don’t know if he saw Sister Lucy every time.
I think he loves children, because otherwise why would he
go around and give out first communion? He likes to be among
He is very Marian. He is very solid, he knows what he wants.
He would not overshadow John Paul II, on the contrary. He
won’t say something like “finally, here I am”;
on the contrary, he’s very serious and he loves the
Pope a lot.
I think he knows the Roman curia very well. On the doctrinal
point of view, his name has been mentioned as someone to succeed
Ratzinger. On the other side, he is very popular and humble,
like John Paul II; he is very close to people.
On the day of he was made a cardinal, he invited to his reception
a man who works on the street here, selling rosaries and medallions,
who greets Saraiva every day. So this simple man was invited
together with all these dignitaries.
Saraiva is the kind of person who is very human and attentive
to people. He doesn’t distinguish between a prime minister
and the man who sells coins on the street. He is a very free
If he were elected Pope, he would have very close relations
with Latin America. He knows the region very well as he traveled
there many times. And he knows Catholic doctrine thoroughly.
I met with him twice yesterday. He was making his walk around
the neighborhood. I said, “Your eminence, we hope that
you are becoming a Pope.” He simply laughed.
I like Cardinal (Joachim) Meisner (of Cologne, Germany) very
much, but he doesn’t speak any languages, he doesn’t
even speak Italian. He speaks to me in German and I answer
in Italian. He was the one who gave me a big journalistic
coup, as he told me the Pope was going to Fatima to beatify
the children. Against everybody, he told me that...
Anyway, Saraiva Martins loves soccer. He has given interviews
about soccer in Corriere della Sport, as an expert of soccer.
He played himself when he was younger.
His family is very humble. They were very, very poor. His
house didn’t have running water, they had to take water
from I don’t know where. His parents are dead. His siblings
are in Portugal.
I don’t want to convince myself of one name. Who am
I to judge who is the best?
I want that one to be chosen who loves Christ the most. It
is in the Gospel. Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me
more then the others?" And only in that moment, did Peter
know, despite his fragility and treason, that he was the one
who loved Christ the most. He didn’t expect that. He
expected it to be John. John was Christ’ favourite.
The human criterion for the real Pope was John, because Peter
was a traitor.
So how do we know who loves Christ the most? That’s
what I am praying for. I don’t know. We can consider
Saraiva, but it is our human perspective. From the human perspective,
John loved Christ the most.
But the one who loved him even more was not John, it was Peter.
I’m expecting it to be the one who loves Christ the
most. I’d like to see John Paul II always in this perspective.
He was the one who loved Christ more then I do, that’s
why he was Pope. I hope that the next one will be like him.
That they will chose someone who loves Christ more then all
For the past 60 years or so, the Church has been breaking
the Cross into two parts, separating into two mutually exclusive,
mutually suspicious and even hostile camps those Catholics
driven by Christ's ''horizontal'' mandate to love and serve
others from those driven by the ''vertical'' mandate to know,
love and serve God.
But this dichotomy is a mistake -- Christ's Cross had both
beams. His commandments combined both axes. And every saint
in history has witnessed intensively to both dimensions of
Christian life. The next Pope will have to convincingly smash
this false dichotomy and re-join the cross-beams of Christianity.
He must be the kind of Pope who will restore the Mass AND
inspire new zeal for serving the poor and Third World; crack
down on heresy AND be a witness for peace and morality in
global politics and economics; restore the purity and sublimity
of the priesthood AND bring about reconciliation with the
schismatic churches AND uncompromisingly confront the Culture
of Death AND be a beacon of hope for the oppressed and marginalized
AND zealously teach Catholic truth to Catholics and aggressively
promote it to potential converts (i.e., everyone else).
He must not take a partial view.
Just a few hours before the conclave, the "favorite"
still seems to be Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. But this is based
on unreliable news reports and my own efforts to sense what
the cardinals are thinking and planning.
Ratzinger is the dean of the College of Cardinals, and was
one of the closest allies of Pope John Paul II. His powerful
mind is unquestioned. After 25 years in the Roman Curia, he
knows it well. But, Ratzinger is 78 now.
The cardinals may decide that, though they respect Ratzinger,
the world press will present him in such a distorted way that
his mission, if elected, would be severely compromised by
this press distortion.
Even if elected, Ratzinger might not accept, perhaps due to
So, other names are increasingly being mentioned prominently.
A few are:
(1) The potential "African Pope," Cardinal Francis
(2) Cardinal Angelo Scola is the Patriarch of Venice, the
archdiocese that produced three Popes (Pius X, John XXIII,
and John Paul I) in the 20th century.
(3) Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan, an expert in bioethics
and sexual morality who was heavily involved in the drafting
of the papal encyclical 'Evangelium Vitae.' But Tettamanzi
is not "telegenic" and does not speak English.
(4) Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the vicar of the Rome diocese,
has emerged as a major factor in Italian political debates,
particularly on the country's involvement in Iraq and the
campaign for a new law on assisted reproduction. But his quadruple-bypass
heart surgery in 2000 raised questions about his health.
(5) Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos, a Jesuit, is
respected as a philosopher and theologian, and as a pastor
has emphasized spiritual principles to his Argentine flock
in the midst of their economic crises. But no Jesuit has ever
become Roman Pontiff.
(6) Cardinal Claudio Hummes of Sao Paulo is another leading
Latin American contender. A Franciscan, he leads the largest
diocese in Brazil. But some think him too near to Brazil's
mercurial leftist President "Lula" da Silva.
(7) Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna, Austria, is a
Dominican from a noble family. He was a student of Cardinal
Ratzinger, and the principal drafter of the "Catechism
of the Catholic Church."
(8) Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, a member of the Salesian order
and Archbishop of Genoa, served as Cardinal Ratzinger's right-hand
man for seven years at the Congregation for the Doctrine of
the Faith. He could be a compromise candidate among the Italians.
Some cardinals may hold against him his commentary for television
broadcasts of Italian soccer games.
(9) Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re is the "sostituto"
who was a key figure under Secretary of State Angelo Sodano
from 1989 until 2001, when he became prefect of the Congregation
for Bishops. It is thought that the role he may be most suited
to play may not be Pope, but Secretary of State in the next
(10) Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec is a Sulpician who studied
with the late Hans Urs von Balthasar and is a specialist in
ecumenical affairs (he was secretary of the Pontifical Council
for Christian Unity). At 60, though, he may seem too young.
(11) Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiagua, 62, of Tegulcigalpa,
Honduras. He is at ease with several languages, having taught
in Rome, Austria, and the US as well as Central America.
(Note: we do not believe the following article is fully accurate,
but still, because it is provocative, we thought some of our
readers, who might otherwise overlook it, might benefit from
reading it. -- The Editor)
Latest neocon target: The Vatican
The neocon strategy to ensure their candidate is selected
- by Wayne Madsen
7 April 2005
The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/MAD504A.html
"The international neoconservative movement is now involving
itself in the internecine politics that will highlight the
selection of the next Pope," this peculiar article begins.
"The dream candidate of the neocons for the next Pope
is the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn..."
(Note: Here are some views from the Jerusalem Post.
-- The Editor)
Apr. 17, 2005 1:47 - Updated Apr. 17, 2005 11:21
Jews anxiously await new Pope
By SAM SER, The Jerusalem Post
Upon the announcement of the next Pope, will Jews say "amen"
or "oy vey"?
No cardinal is suspected of harboring anti-Semitic views,
or of threatening to undermine John Paul II's revolutionary
work in Jewish-Catholic relations.
Nonetheless, the election of Jean-Marie Lustiger, a French
Jewish Holocaust survivor who converted as a teenager, would
undoubtedly be a painful event for the Jewish community…
(Cardinal) Hummes (of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) has been a staunch
supporter of Jews and the Church's relations with Jews.
"Hummes is very close to the Jewish community in Brazil.
We have a great comfort level with him," said Israel
Singer, chairman of the World Jewish Congress and cochair
of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations.
At a recent conference of more than 30 cardinals in New York
with Singer and other Jewish leaders, Hummes described the
declaration of Jewish chosenness in Nostra Aetate as a personal
However, as Singer noted, Hummes' focus on the poor and the
underprivileged (he has attributed terrorism to poverty and
social injustice) borders on the so-called "liberation
theology" that John Paul II rejected.
Similar to Hummes - but hardly considered close to Jews -
is Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras. "Let's
say that the Palestinians would get sympathy from someone
of his background," said Rabbi David Rosen, the international
director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish
Add Colombian-born Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who pooh-poohed
charges that Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ"
was anti-Semitic, and the picture of Latin American cardinals
Within Europe, there are candidates with whom world Jewry
could expect to find a receptive ear: Beyond Schoenborn, for
example, there is Godfried Danneels of Belgium, a liberal
who has publicly challenged Europe's Muslims to moderate their
Singer believes the 78-year-old Ratzinger is more of a "Pope-maker"
than a papal contender... Perhaps that could mean the papacy
of Angelo Scola of Venice, who has also been involved in Jewish
dialogue. Singer described the 62-year-old Scola as a man
of great personality whose knowledge of languages could serve
him well in a diplomatic role.
"No matter who is going to become Pope, his first concern
will not be the Jews," said Singer. "The Church
is facing its own crises... so the likelihood of a major step
forward [in Jewish relations] is much less than the likelihood
of a step back. At best we can hope for holding steady.
"Whatever happens, though, I don't want to go back to
what we had before John Paul II, which was a formal exchange
of homilies between Jews and Catholics. The most important
achievement this Pope had with Jews," Singer said, "was
holding open and frank discussions. And that's why we had
such tremendous success."
Inside The Vatican (ISSN 1068-8579) is a Catholic news magazine, published monthly except July
and September, with occasional special supplements.