Monday, February 25, 2013

Vatican: “Public opinion is being exploited to condition the Conclave”

Tarcisio BertoneThe Holy See’s Secretariat of State has issued a statement condemning attempts to condition cardinals ahead of the Conclave, through the publication of “news reports…which are often unverified or not verifiable, or even false, even subsequent damage to people and institutions.

The statement issued by the Vatican Secretariat of State and published by Vatican Radio goes on to say: “The freedom of the College of Cardinals, which alone, under the law, is responsible for the election of the Roman Pontiff, - has always been strongly defended by the Holy See, as a guarantee of a choice based on evaluations solely for the good of the Church.
 
“Over the centuries, - the text continues - the Cardinals have faced multiple forms of pressure exerted on the individual voters and the same College, with the aim of conditioning decisions, to bend them to a political or worldly logic.
 
“If in the past it was the so-called superpowers, namely States, who sought to condition the election of the Pope in their favour, today – the statement reads - there is an attempt to apply the weight of public opinion, often on the basis of assessments that fail to capture the spiritual aspect of this moment in the life of the Church.

Fr. Lombardi’s statement 

The last couple of weeks of Benedict XVI’s papacy - before the sede vacante period begins and a new Pope is elected in the Conclave - have not been easy as this situation is quite new to the Holy See. Fr. Federico Lombardi remarked this in an editorial for Vatican Radio.

“We do not — and we rejoice — have to carry the pain of the death of a much-loved Pope, but we have not been spared another test: that of the multiplication of the pressures and considerations that are foreign to the spirit with which the Church would like to live this period of waiting and preparation,” the director of Vatican Radio and the Vatican Press Office said. “There is no lack, in fact, of those who seek to profit from the moment of surprise and disorientation of the spiritually naive to sow confusion and to discredit the Church and its governance, making recourse to old tools, such as gossip, misinformation and sometimes slander, or exercising unacceptable pressures to condition the exercise of the voting duty on the part of one or another member of the College of Cardinals, who they consider to be objectionable for one reason or another.”

“In the majority of cases, those who present themselves as judges, making heavy moral judgments, do not, in truth, have any authority to do so. Those who consider money, sex and power before all else and are used to reading diverse realities from these perspectives, are unable to see anything else, even in the Church, because they are unable to gaze toward the heights or descend to the depths in order to grasp the spiritual dimensions and reasons of existence. This results in a description of the Church and of many of its members that is profoundly unjust,” Fr. Lombardi went on to say. 

“But all of this will not change the attitude of believers; it will not erode the faith and the hope with which they see the Lord, who promised to accompany his Church,” the editorial continued. “According to the indications of Church law and tradition, we want this to be a time of sincere reflection on the spiritual expectations of the world and on the faithfulness of the Church to the Gospel, of prayer for the assistance of the Spirit, of closeness to the College of Cardinals that is preparing for the demanding service of discernment and choice that is asked of it and for which it principally exists.”

“In this,” the editorial concluded, “we are accompanied first and foremost by the example and spiritual integrity of Pope Benedict, who wanted to dedicate to prayer, from the start of Lent, this final stretch of his pontificate — a penitential journey of conversion toward the joy of Easter. This is how we are living it and how we will live it: in conversion and hope.”

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