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.
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.
It’s not often on the Vatican beat that one has the opportunity to use a word such as “unprecedented,” but what we’ll see today truly qualifies: A pope traveling by helicopter to his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo to visit his still-living predecessor, who before long will be moving in just around the corner on Vatican grounds.
In 2011, Italian director Nanni Moretti made a movie, "Habemus Papam" ("We Have a Pope"), about a cardinal elected a most reluctant pope starring Michel Piccoli as the pope. The movie was on my Netflix list, and when the conclave began, I bumped it up to No. 1. It was mailed right out to me.
After four rounds of voting, you, the readers, selected Cardinal Angelo Scola as the man you thought would become the next pope.
About a month ago, we started with the 117 eligible cardinals in the College of Cardinals, then had readers vote on the top 25, the top 10, then the top five. Scola of Milan won in the final round, with Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston as the runner-up, coming in 30 votes behind Scola.
Rome dispatch: Thousands watched black smoke rise from the Sistine Chapel in Rome this morning. No pope yet.
From Rome: White smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel a little after 7 p.m. Rome time Tuesday.
On Sunday March 10, as the cardinals fanned out across Rome to celebrate Mass at their titular churches -- those assigned to them in an ancient linkage with the Bishop of Rome -- Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer celebrated a mid-morning liturgy at Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, a beautiful if comparatively small church with pews for 200 worshipers.
Twice that many media members surrounded the seating area, the camera operators angling to position their viewfinders as the cardinal preached his homily in Italian, reflecting on the Gospel parable of The Prodigal Son.
John Allen in Rome: Wednesday may be the "make or break" day for the papal candidates as conclave continues.