From Rome: White smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel a little after 7 p.m. Rome time Tuesday.
Map: Need a visual of where each cardinal is from and which countries have the most representatives? Look no further.
Rome dispatch: As the cardinals head into conclave to elect the next pope, a special Mass held Tuesday morning offered much pomp, but little direction.
Essay: The fundamental need within Catholicism is to grow institutionally and structurally into the interrelated three-fold form of ecclesial existence.
Essay: We can't forget the advice of Teresa of Avila, who wrote that given the choice between a saintly confessor and one who is a good theologian, trust the theologian.
Tens of thousands of words have been written about the cardinals and candidates who will be entering the conclave tomorrow at the Vatican. One of these men will almost certainly emerge as our next pope.
I hope he is a good man, an honest person who will live transparently and run a transparent church. I hope his reach will have no bounds, embracing all the sinners and saints who make up the human family. I hope he will be merciful and will restrain from judgments.
As a few night owls strolled through the crisp Roman evening Feb. 28, they were illuminated by one less reflection of lights. Behind the northern side of the square’s iconic colonnades, the apostolic palace was dark.
In a small but tell-tale sign of the transition facing the church, the lights of the pope’s apartment had been turned off.
Eight years ago, when the cardinals of the world gathered to elect a successor to Pope John Paul II, their watchword was “continuity.” Buoyed by the massive outpouring of grief and affection for the late pope that washed through the streets of Rome, they felt they had just witnessed the end of a massively successful pontificate, and they wanted to keep the momentum going.
The man who was the intellectual architect of John Paul’s papacy, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, therefore seemed an obvious choice.
If it hasn’t happened by the time you are reading this newspaper, sometime very soon the Catholic church will have a new pope. Naturally the world will be waiting to find out what kind of leader he’s likely to be, and his first few days therefore loom as critical moments to begin shaping his papacy.
In the opening days of the general congregations, the series of meetings the College of Cardinals convene in the lead-up to the conclave that will choose the next pope, an idea was floated in the Italian press about a way to clean up the governance issues that have plagued the Vatican under Pope Benedict XVI’s reign. The idea was to elect one of the over-80-year-old cardinals as pope. Such a pope, a curial old hand, would have a clear understanding of how the Curia actual works and could rein it in.