March 12, 2013, Tuesday — Black Smoke…

An intense day, which ended with black smoke…

The cardinals, after their first vote, now know some things clearly that they did not know before the vote: they know who are some of the actual, not theorized, candidates, and something about how much support they have…

So, this knowledge will have been affecting their thinking, perhaps, this evening — and it will affect their thinking tomorow, when four votes are scheduled…

The day began with sun, then hail, then rain and thunder, then a cold drizzle.

In late afternoon, I was invited to speak on Fox News. Here is a link to what I said:

It was a frustrating experience, in some ways. One would like to say many things, and there is only a small amount of time…

Anyway, this evening, I was not going to send out a letter, and then, reading the Italian press, I came across an odd little item, which caught my attention.

I am always interested in “little” details like this. As they say, “the devil is in the details.”

Ok, here is the story.

Below is a link to a website where I read a curious comment from a reader.

The reader says that the official text of the homily of Cardinal Sodano today is incorrect, in that it omits two words that Sodano actually spoke when he gave the homily.

What were those two words? The commenter says they were: “world order” (“ordine mondiale“).

Here is the comment in Italian:

“Strano, il testo ufficiale dell` omelia del card. Sodano non corrisponde a ciò che ha detto in Basilica, e che ho ascoltato, le parole ‘ordine mondiale,’ che del resto mi avevano colpita e lasciata estereffatta, sono sparite.” [“Strange, the official text of the homily of Cardinal Sodano does not correspond to what he said in the Basilica, and what I myself heard, the words ‘world order,’ which moreover struck me and left me terrified, have disappeared.”]


Then, as I continued to read the Italian press, I came across an Italian journalist who also heard the same thing, and then published it this way:

“Gli ultimi Pontefici sono stati artefici di tante iniziative benefiche anche verso i popoli e la comunità internazionale, promovendo senza sosta la giustizia e la pace e l’ordine mondiale – ha proseguito Sodano – preghiamo perché il futuro Papa possa continuare quest’incessante opera a livello mondiale”.

In other words, writing his article, this journalist had quoted Sodano’s speech with those two words included — even though those words are not in the official text distributed by the Vatican. He did this, evidently, because he heard the words. Here is a link to that report:

Curious, I wondered: Did Sodano use those words, or not?

Just a little question, really. What had he actually said?

So, I started looking at videos of the homily.

And I found that, yes, it was true. Sodano did use those words. Here is the video of the homily:

If you go to 10 minutes and 30 seconds, up to 10 minutes 45 seconds, you will hear the passage in question. Sodano says: “che gli ultimi pontifici sono stati artefici di tante iniziative di benefiche, verso i singoli, verso i popoli, verso la communita internazionale, promovendo la pace, la giustizia, l’ordine mondiale...” In English: “the last pontiffs have been artificers of very many beneficial initiatives, toward individuals, toward peoples, toward the international community, promoting peace, justice, the world order.”

But, in the official text as distributed by the Vatican, the words “world order” do not appear. Here is the official text published by the Vatican:

“…gli ultimi Pontefici sono stati artefici di tante iniziative benefiche anche verso i popoli e la comunità internazionale, promovendo senza sosta la giustizia e la pace. [Here is where the words are missing.] Preghiamo perché il futuro Papa possa continuare quest’incessante opera a livello mondiale.”


In this video below, the English voice-over does not include “the world order” — evidently because the voice-over is based on the written text, not on the actual words spoken by Sodano. This suggests that the two words were added by Sodano “a braccio,” that is, on the spot, off the cuff, extemporaneously — they were not in his prepared text. This occurs at about 13:48 in the video. (Link:

The same thing is true of the following video, with a German voice-over. Sodano uses the words at about 17:19 of the video, but the German translator does not translate them. Evidently he too was using the prepared text. Here is the link:

Brief notes

John Thavis of Catholic News Service has a nice piece tonight which sums up a few things about the conclave process. He writes:

“People often imagine a conclave as a political convention in red robes, where cardinals may pray to the Holy Spirit but do their real business in back-room maneuvers.

“Judging from my conversations with cardinals over the last two weeks, the ‘campaigning’ aspect of a conclave is exaggerated in popular imagination. But that doesn’t mean the cardinals don’t talk, lobby and carefully calculate the chances of their favorite candidate.

“From the moment it begins this evening, you could probably divide the conclave into ‘praying’ and ‘politicking’ moments.

“The praying takes place in the Sistine Chapel, where the voting procedure is so formal and so solemn that the cardinals don’t even talk to each other. There’s a reason the cardinals will file into the chapel in choir dress – they are, in a sense, participating in a liturgy…”

Here is a link to the rest of the story:

A summary of the Conclave dynamics from Euronews:

“Who will the 115 cardinals choose, once the conclave convenes, to replace the man who has bowed out after eight years in the Catholic Church’s hot seat?

“Two rival camps are reported to have developed, suggesting a power struggle within the Church’s hierarchy.

“Perhaps too simplistically, the election of Benedict’s successor has been described as a battle between traditionalists and reformers…”

Here is a link to the rest of the story:

And the concerns of a mother of one of the possible candidates:

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn’s elderly mother hopes he won’t become Pope because she fears she would never see him and that he would be overwhelmed by Vatican intrigues.

“The whole family is afraid that Christoph will be elected Pope,” Eleonore Schoenborn, 92, told the Kleine Zeitung newspaper in an interview printed on Tuesday as 115 Roman Catholic cardinals gathered in Rome to pick the new head of the Church.

Recalling Pope Benedict’s farewell speech, which made clear that Popes belonged entirely to the Church, she said her son’s elevation would mean “it is over for me. Then I will not see Christoph ever again because I no longer have the strength to travel to Rome.”

Here is a link to the complete story:

An efficient video summary of the events of the first day of the Conclave can be found here in video form from Salt and Light, the Canadian Catholic television station run by Father Tom Rosica, who is acting as the English-language spokesman at the Press Office during the Conclave:

What will tomorrow bring? Stay tuned…

(to be continued)

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