April 9th, 2005

Loyola Faculty Portrait

Theological Notebook--Good-bye

In this photo made available by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Archbishop Stanislaw Dsiwisz, right, places a white veil over the face of late Pope John Paul II as Archbishop Piero Marini looks on, prior to closing the coffin for burial in the grottos beneath St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Friday, April 8, 2005. The grottos form a cramped underground cemetery beneath St. Peter's Basilica where pontiffs throughout the ages, royals and even an emperor have been laid to rest.(AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, ho)
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Theological Notebook--Silence Before the Conclave?

Well, it looks like the Cardinals have made a group decision to avoid talking to the media before the conclave. I'm of rather mixed mind about this. While I whole-heartedly agree with the idea that the Cardinals should not be unduly influenced or pressured to move toward any particular candidate, I would hope that these are people who have learned to know their own mind by now, and that the media isn't particularly a danger to their thinking. More importantly and realistically, though, it's in talking with the media during the novemdiales--these nine days of official mourning before the conclave--that really can let the Cardinals learn something about each other. This is too big a group for everyone to have a clear sense of who everyone else is. I wouldn't want to see crass campaigning, but it is otherwise an opportunity to make people and possibilities known.

Below, I excerpt the Reuters story talking about the Cardinals' apparent decision to not talk to the media, and then reproduce two interviews--with Cardinals Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of London, and Godfried Danneels of Brussels--of fellows who were quick enough to talk before this decision. Curiously, Danneels denied there was any intent by the Cardinals to cut off communication: he seems a pretty straightforward guy, so it looks like he was out of the loop on this one.

Edit: I just tossed in a more complete story to kick things off than the one I had originally.
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