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Theological Notebook--Pre-Conclave News

I have to apologize for those of you who might wonder why I keep posting all these articles: the conclave to elect a Pope can be a significant point in church history, and all the stories printed--the mindset of the period as the media both reports and creates it--can be equally significant, particularly later on. Since one of my theological specialties is ecclesiology--the study of the Church--this is professionally a big "moment" for me, and I'm copying things into my journal not just because I think that they might be interesting things that other people would like to read as well, but also so that I have them preserved for when they might become useful academic material for me, say, in 2009, or 2025, or 2054....

That said, I can't help but note that with the Cardinals having made a communal decision not to give interviews, there's less in print than there might have been.

Which means that behind this link are only about, oh, 20 articles from today that I thought I'd better preserve. You've been warned.

Well, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Live Journal said that was too much to post. So I'll cut it in half and post it all. Why does this make sense?

Law’s activities, positions illustrate “clash of cultures” between U.S. and Rome

By John L. Allen Jr.

If ever one needed a classic illustration of the “clash of cultures” between the United States and the Vatican, the fact that Cardinal Bernard Law celebrated a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on April 11 in honor of the deceased pope, one of the nine Masses prescribed for the novemdiales, or nine days of mourning, makes the case.

Law’s appearance generated considerable controversy in the American press, though in the event it seemed almost anti-climactic. Only a handful of protestors materialized, and Law’s homily was deliberately spiritual and meditative, without so much as a trace of reference to the scandals that plagued his tenure in Boston.

He did have one fine moment during the Mass, recognizing that April 11 is the liturgical observance of the Polish St. Stanislaw, using that as an occasion to thank Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, the pope’s private secretary and close collaborator, for his four decades of loyal service. The reference drew strong applause from the assembly in St. Peter’s Basilica.

So what was Law doing there in the first place?

Straight away, the point should be made that no one in the Vatican chose to give Law this platform. Instead, the Mass for the deceased pope on Monday is celebrated on behalf of the patriarchal basilicas in Rome, and custom dictates that it is the archpriest of St. Mary Major who celebrates that particular Mass. Since John Paul II appointed Law to that position on May 27, 2004, it was custom and precedent, rather than a specific Vatican decision, that put Law in this position.

It should also be noted that when Law resigned as archbishop of Boston in December 2002, many Americans had the impression that this terminated all of his roles in the church. In fact, it simply meant that he was no longer in charge of the church in Boston; he continues to be a cardinal in good standing, with, among other things, the right to cast a vote for the next pope.

He also continues to serve as a full member of several Vatican congregations and councils. They include:

• Congregation for Eastern Churches

• Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

• Congregation for Bishops

• Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

• Congregation for the Clergy

• Congregation for Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life

• Congregation for Catholic Education

• Council for the Family

Ironically, while his appointment to St. Mary Major triggered a wave of criticism in the United States, his membership in these Vatican offices has been almost entirely overlooked, even though it is far more consequential in terms of church politics. As a member of the Congregation for Bishops, for example, Law is in a position to influence the appointment of bishops to the American church. On the Congregation for Education, Law will help guide policy on the apostolic visitation of American seminaries, which was triggered by the very crisis of which Law has become the leading symbol.

Serving as archpriest of St. Mary Major, on the other hand, essentially means that Law ensures the lights are on for Sunday Mass. It is not seen as an especially prestigious position, and Law’s appointment to the job was, in effect, interpreted here as a way of “letting him down gently.”

None of that, of course, sits well with people still outraged by the sexual abuse crisis and its aftermath

Seen from the point of view of some American Catholics, especially victims of sexual abuse and their advocates, Law is the face of the crisis that gripped the American church beginning in 2002. The fact that he has not been stripped of all his privileges in the church, the fact that he has been visible throughout the illness and death of John Paul II, indicates to them that the Catholic Church has not learned its lesson. They argue that Law has not been held accountable, and that until the church sends a clear signal that there is no future for bishops who fail to intervene aggressively to protect children from abuse, the crisis will never be resolved.

Hence to some victims, Law’s prominence during this period suggests that the church has, in effect, exonerated him. They see it as an affront to their own suffering.

Many in the Vatican, on the other hand, put the debate surrounding Law in an entirely different content. While no one in Rome defends Law’s mishandling of accusations of sexual abuse by priests under his jurisdiction, many tend to say that these failures have to be balanced against a lifetime of faithful service to the Catholic Church. He paid his penalty, they say, when he resigned as Boston’s archbishop, and he has apologized for the harm he caused. To shun or ostracize him, they believe, would be to capitulate to an exaggerated lynch-mob mentality driven more by rage and hurt than by sober judgment.

If Christianity believes in redemption, they argue, then there must be redemption also for Bernard Law.

Finally, another illustration of the cultural gap: If the Vatican were at all sensitive to public relations in the conventional sense, they certainly would not have issued what was, in effect, an engraved invitation to the American press to resurrect the sex abuse story after a week of uninterruptedly positive coverage tied to the life and legacy of John Paul II. If the Vatican were a Fortune 500 corporation, someone in the public relations office would be out of work. Obviously, however, the Vatican simply does not think in these terms.

On the other hand, from a PR point of view, the Vatican probably gets a free pass on this story, because by tomorrow speculation about the next pope will no doubt once again supplant the Law story, which will be no more than a tiny footnote to the week’s events. The larger issues it illustrates, on the other hand, are certainly not going away.

The next bold initiative: to listen

By Tom Roberts
NCR Editor

An irony of John Paul II’s papacy so evident that it is rarely mentioned is that in order to act in a way that changed the world, he had to act in a way that dramatically changed the papacy. John Paul, the traditionalist, turned tradition on its head.

In doing so, he leaves the next pope an almost endless horizon of possibilities for how to be pope. Once John Paul made the Vatican merely home base rather than a home never to be left, all tradition was put on hold. He could go where he wished, meet with whomever he wished, pray with whomever he wished, say whatever he wished without regard for political feelings or the normal constraints of protocol.

So now the terrain is wide open.

What might happen?

In a flight to Rome, removed for a time from the immediate demands of the news, I took the opportunity to imagine what might come next, how anyone might follow a life that, even from a funeral bier, holds the world enthralled.

A week’s worth of news coverage following the death of the pope had begun to establish the two strains immediately apparent in the reign of John Paul: he was, indeed, larger than life on the world stage, someone who found a way to speak truth across lines of cultural, national and religious differences, a friend to other world religions and a tireless advocate for peace; inside the church, however, he was at best an inconsistent administrator who left a deeply divided, questioning and unsettled church.

Analysts from every point on the spectrum have said he settled for bishops who were mediocre and lacking in real leadership qualities in exchange for unconditional loyalty and the assurance that his bishops would not raise difficult questions. Those are broad categories, generally applied, so they are in some instances unfair. But it is not going too far to say that in the case of U.S. bishops many, if not most, were fearful of reactions from any number of factions in the church, as well as authorities in Rome.

One friend put it this way in describing John Paul II’s effect on many within the church: He was like the famous father whose kids know that the smiling, beneficent bearing outside the home can turn rather autocratic and severe inside.

But what he did on the outside, we all know, will inspire history for generations to come, and it can be good for us inside the church, too. It can be beneficial because he broke all the molds, he showed that there are no rulebooks for how to be pope.

So what if the next pope decides that he will continue to break molds? What if he, too, decides that he will be a world presence, that he will travel widely, but in a different way? What if he announces soon after his election that he will spend the first year or so of his papacy traveling the world to take stock of the state of the church?

But his travels will not be of the rock star variety. No huge crowds. No pushing dioceses to the edge of financial ruin to stage events. No stadium shows, no elaborate sets, no layers of rich robes billowing and glinting royally in the afternoon sun. No, instead, he’ll travel in a black suit, the only ornament the chain across his chest holding a pectoral cross. He’ll go with a small retinue and few demands. In these travels, he’ll come in quietly, a small reception at the airport and then down to his work: to meet with his brother bishops, not to talk or instruct, but to listen.

What might happen in the church, what tone might overtake business as usual, what might happen to the instinct for silencings and discipline, for absolute answers to everything, if our top shepherd were to begin his tenure with a year of papal listening sessions?

What new model of pastoral leadership might begin to trickle down through the ranks, if his first act of authority is not to mandate but to listen?

John Paul showed the church and the world that the pope could act boldly, beyond the constraints and protocols and expectations of history and tradition. The next pope might build on that – and take a really bold step.

Cardinals agree to go mum in week leading to conclave

By John L. Allen Jr.

Over the next week leading into the April 18 conclave to elect the new pope, the 117 cardinals who will cast ballots are likely to be much less available to the press than they have been in recent days. While the College of Cardinals has not applied a formal gag order, there is a gentleman’s agreement that they will be much more cautious in their dealings with the media, and generally less available.

Though rumblings of such a policy had been felt for several days, Vatican spokesperson Joaquin Navarro-Valls made it official in a briefing on Saturday, April 09.

“The cardinals after the funeral Mass of John Paul II have begun a more intense period of silence and prayer in view of the conclave,” Navarro-Valls said. “For that reason, they have decided unanimously in these days to avoid interviews and meetings with the press. Journalists are invited to refrain from asking the cardinals for interviews or any other comment.”

Navarro hastened to add that this should not be read as a sign of disrespect, and that the cardinals wanted to thank the media for the “enormous interest with which they are following this period.”

Navarro said in response to a question that this is not a “prohibition” but an “invitation” to leave the cardinals alone to prepare for their “great responsibility.”

All this is a bit of change from what has been the case. The Americans, for example, have been almost ubiquitous in the media in the last week. From the CNN platform overlooking St. Peter’s Square, for example, Cardinals Justin Rigali, Roger Mahony, William Keeler, Edmund Szoka, and Theodore McCarrick have all given interviews on several of CNN’s six networks in just the last 72 hours. Next week, producers and journalists have been told, they shouldn’t plan on the same kind of availability.

From a media point of view, this silence would be frustrating under any circumstances, and may seem especially galling given that the global press has just given the Catholic Church the greatest week of uninterruptedly positive coverage in its history. Especially in the American market, coming on the heels of the sexual abuse crisis, this has been a remarkable turn-around, and it’s a fair question why the cardinals would pull back now.

In fact, there are at least six reasons.

First, the cardinals and their press advisors understand that now that the papal funeral is over, the press will shift from asking mostly “life and legacy of John Paul II” questions, to more aggressive questions about the state of the Catholic Church and about the next pope. In general, cardinals find the second sort of question more awkward and difficult to answer, especially given the way it almost invites speculation.

Second, the cardinals are concerned about protecting the liberty of the conclave. This is the reason that they are cut off from the outside world once the conclave begins, so that foreign governments, activist groups and other interest parties cannot exert any influence over their deliberations. It’s the same concept as the secret ballot in democratic societies – cardinals must be free to vote for the person who, in their consciences, would be the best man for the job. The concern is that in this pre-conclave period, the media rather than the cardinals might end up setting the agenda for their discussions.

Third, the cardinals are also concerned about honoring the vow of confidentiality they’ve made about the daily meetings of the General Congregation as well as the conclave itself. With the best of intentions, sometimes in conversations with journalists things slip out, and can end up having unforeseeable negative consequences. Simply saying “no” insulates them from this possibility.

Fourth, there is the simple logistical fact that if cardinals are constantly shuttling from one TV location to another, they’ll have proportionately less time to accomplish what is the primary purpose of this week – reflecting privately with one another on the issues facing the church, the profile of a leader needed to face those challenges, and ultimately who that leader ought to be. If they don’t have the time to talk with one another, calmly and at length, the quality of their deliberations might be impaired.

Fifth, some cardinals, especially those from Europe and North America, are more accustomed to dealing with a massive, at-times hostile press corps than cardinals from other places. The advantage of a blanket policy of caution is that those cardinals uncomfortable with media relations will have an automatic reason to say “no.”

Sixth and finally, this is supposed to be a period not just of political caucusing but also of prayer. The Catholic Church believes that the election of a pope occurs under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, even if it is nonetheless an eminently political exercise (as Aquinas taught, grace builds on nature, it doesn’t cancel nature out). The cardinals shouldn’t be so pressed that they can’t find the time for spiritual reading, prayer and reflection.

These are the reasons most commonly given for the pull-back from engagement with the press. Whether they are convincing is a matter of perspective, but it will be interesting to see to just how porous this membrane becomes over the next week.

Cardinals don't want Africans in high positions, archbishop says

Secularity, Islam seen as major challenges facing the next pope

By Stacy Meichtry

A day after Pope John Paul II was entombed beneath the marble nave of St. Peter’s Basilica, talk is already underway over who should succeed him.

Over the next nine days of official mourning, known as the novemdiales, a wide spectrum special interest groups are expected to descend upon Rome and champion their causes. They will be joined by opinionmakers around the world, Catholic and non-Catholic, seeking to influence the 115 cardinals before they take to the Sistine Chapel on April 18.

So far the sharpest attempts to frame the debate have come out of Asia and Africa.

"If the pope is a liberal it is against the law of God, " Ramon Arguelles, the Archbishop of Lipa, told reporters on Thursday.

Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of Johannesburg has compared the prospect of the next pope being black to "a train that will not take a sharp turn."

"In Rome, the cardinals enjoy a huge number of Africans becoming Christians but they don't think we are ready for high positions, " he said, adding : "They fear paganism might come through the back door."

But the majority of comments from political and religious leaders have thus far been indirect, usually filtered through their impressions of John Paul’s legacy.

Returning home Friday on Airforce One hours after attending John Paul’s funeral in the Vatican City, President George W. Bush made a point to underline the pope’s moral clarity.

"I think John Paul II will have a clear legacy of peace, compassion and a strong legacy of setting a clear moral tone," Bush told a pool of reporters on Air Force One.

He then amended his description of the pontiff’s legacy, adding the word "excellent."

"It was a strong legacy," the president said. "I wanted to make sure there was a proper adjective to the legacy he left behind, not just the word clear."

Friday the world’s political elite had a rare opportunity to scrutinize the 115 eligible voters that will be entering the next conclave. At John Paul’s funeral, cardinals processed into the square two-by-two to kneel before the altar. As their red vestments flapped in the strong winds, the world’s leaders looked on.

The cardinals themselves have thus far exercised extreme caution in their encounters with the media. For the most part, they have declined to answer direct questions about the immediate future of the church. What little they do say is usually espressed in broadstrokes on through reflections on John Paul’s legacy.

"This pope, he had a problem, and it will be a problem also in the future. He had a problem to have unity and diversity," Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium, a papabile, or candiate to be pope, said in a press conference Thursday.

Danneels went on to list a number of top concerns facing the next conclave that included the role of women in the church, the decline of church attendance in Europe, the strengthening of local dioceses and bishop’s conferences and relations with Islam. The list did not come with solutions.

Cardinals Francis George and Theodore McCarrick of Washington have also run the gammut of issues facing the next conclave during their meetings with the press over the past week. One issue both noted was the church’s relations with Islam—a faith that has emerged as Christianity’s most powerful rival in continents like Africa and Asia.

"The history between Catholicism and Islam is not a happy one. We want to live at peace in a global society, so a dialogue with Islam is particularly important," Chicago Cardinal Francis George said.

"We have to learn to live with Islam," McCarrick said. "We have to learn how to dialogue with Islam."

Cardinals to pray at pope's tomb before it opens to public

By Benedicta Cipolla
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The world's cardinals were scheduled to pray at the tomb of Pope John Paul II April 12, the evening before the grotto under St. Peter's Basilica was to open to the public.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the cardinals would visit the tomb after the evening's celebration of a memorial Mass for the pope.

The grotto was to open to the public at 7 a.m. April 13, the spokesman said, and was expected to remain open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.

The Vatican was gearing up for long lines of visitors to the tomb.

Some 2 million people, many of them pilgrims from the pontiff's native Poland, came to pay their respects to Pope John Paul when his body was laid out for several days in St. Peter's Basilica. The Vatican was asked by the city of Rome to delay opening the tomb area until the massive crowds had left the city, according to a Vatican source.

The pope was buried immediately after his April 8 funeral. The tomb lies in a chapel where Blessed Pope John XXIII was interred until his beatification in 2000, when his body was moved into St. Peter's Basilica. Pope John Paul's burial site is located between the only two women whose tombs are located in the grotto: the 15th-century Queen Charlotte of Cyprus and the 17th-century Queen Christina of Sweden.

Navarro-Valls also reported on the proceedings of the general congregations of the world's cardinals, which precede the April 18 opening of the conclave to elect Pope John Paul's successor. All 183 cardinals, including those age 80 and over who are not eligible to vote for the next pope, may participate in the preconclave meetings.

The general congregation did not meet the day of the pope's funeral, April 8, or over the April 9-10 weekend.

The spokesman said three more cardinals had arrived since April 7, bringing the total number of cardinals participating in the April 11 meeting to 134 of the world's 183 cardinals.

During the meeting, three cardinals were chosen by lot to participate in "particular congregations" to assist the camerlengo, or chamberlain, with running the ordinary affairs of the church that do not require the action of the entire College of Cardinals.

The three chosen were Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of state under Pope John Paul; Tanzanian Cardinal Polycarp Pengo of Dar es Salaam; and German Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity under the late pontiff.

The three-member team assisting the camerlengo, Spanish Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, changes every three days.

Navarro-Valls said the cardinals participating in the general congregation also reviewed a list of expenses connected with the papal transition period and voted to begin meeting at 9 a.m. each day rather than at 10 a.m. In addition, he said, they appealed to all Catholics "to accompany them with intense prayer in these days of preparing for the conclave so that the Holy Spirit would assist the cardinal-electors."

Cardinal recalls pope's gift of comforting the sick

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope John Paul II was like a father who never hesitated to comfort and encourage the ill, even an ailing cardinal, Italian Cardinal Francesco Marchisano said April 9.

The pope "knew how to pick out what was making people suffer" and "could connect with anyone," whether they were ill or in good health, he said in a homily in St. Peter's Basilica commemorating the deceased pontiff.

The 75-year-old cardinal, who is archpriest of the basilica, celebrated the second Mass marking the "novendiales," a nine-day period of memorial Masses in Rome for a deceased pontiff.

The cardinal spoke candidly of his longtime friendship with Pope John Paul, dating to 1962, when Karol Wojtyla was an auxiliary bishop of Krakow, Poland, and Cardinal Marchisano was a young priest working in what is now the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education.

The cardinal dedicated his unscripted homily to telling stories of the many times he had been ill or incapacitated due to illness and how the pope always offered him words of encouragement to get better.

In one example, the cardinal recounted how in 2000 an operation on one of the arteries in his neck left one of his vocal cords paralyzed.

"I could barely talk," he said, but the pope invited him to lunch a few days after the cardinal was released from the hospital.

"The whole time, the pope had his left hand cupped to his ear to try to hear what I was saying," said the cardinal.

"In the end, he got up and, just like a father, he began to caress where they operated on me" on the neck, said Cardinal Marchisano.

For the next two to three minutes, as the pope gently touched the cardinal's neck, the pope told him "Don't be afraid, your voice will come back" and "Don't be afraid, I'll pray for you. The Lord will give you your voice back," said the cardinal.

The cardinal was so touched by the pope's care and concern that he gave him "two big kisses" to which the pope responded, "Oh, thank you!"

The cardinal did get his voice back some time after. He said there were numerous other times he and the pope crossed paths during the cardinal's many illnesses.

"About 11 years ago I was at the hospital and the pope was there, too, for his hip," he said.

He said the pope told him, "Let's race, to see who gets out of the hospital first."

"Forgive me for talking about all these personal things," the cardinal told the congregation. "But I want to show the affection I always felt for him."

"Let us thank the Lord because he wanted to give us a pope like this, and let us ask for the grace that will give his church other popes who follow his path," he said.

Days of mourning turn to time of reconciliation, says Rome vicar

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The days of mourning for Pope John Paul II have turned into a time of reconciliation and unity for the whole world, said Cardinal Camillo Ruini, papal vicar for Rome, at an April 10 Mass in memory of the deceased pontiff.

"The days of mourning have become for Rome and the entire world days of extraordinary unity, openness toward God and reconciliation," said the 74-year-old cardinal in his homily.

The highlight of this unity was when hundreds of thousands of people -- heads of state and pilgrims -- from all over the world converged on St. Peter's Square April 8 for Pope John Paul's funeral.

That day became "an eloquent symbol of, not a clash of civilizations, but the opposite, a great family of nations," said Cardinal Ruini.

The Italian cardinal celebrated the third in a series of Masses in Rome marking the "novendiales" -- a nine-day period of memorial Masses for a deceased pontiff. Each Mass was to be led by a different cardinal or archbishop. The first Mass was the funeral; the other eight Masses, all scheduled to be held in St. Peter's Basilica, were dedicated to special audiences.

Cardinal Ruini's Mass was dedicated to the faithful of Rome.

In his homily, the cardinal said the pope was fully dedicated to his role as bishop of Rome.

Of the city's 333 parishes, the pope personally visited 301 of them. When illness reduced his mobility, the pope received members of 16 other parishes in the Vatican.

Though Pope John Paul was unable to meet with the remaining 16 parishes before his death, he still became the first modern pope to visit almost all Rome's parishes.

In his homily, Cardinal Ruini said, "This evening, we feel strongly in our hearts the need to tell this pope, 'stay with us,'" just as the two apostles on their way to Emmaus told the risen Christ.

"And we know very well that he can truly stay with us" by following the path of God's love and his commandment, "Love one another as I love you," he said.

As everyone waits for Rome's new bishop, he said, they should be preparing "in prayer, faith and love" to welcome whoever it is, instead of wondering who will be pope.

Meanwhile, sparse groups of pilgrims, huddled under umbrellas or sporting rain gear, mingled around St. Peter's Square April 10, glancing often at the closed windows of the papal apartments.

It was the second time no "Regina Coeli" prayer was recited from the 5th-floor window since the pope's death April 2.

In his more than 26-year pontificate, Pope John Paul never missed his traditional appointment to deliver, either from his papal residences or hospital window, the Sunday Angelus or, during the Easter season, the "Regina Coeli."

Cardinal Law says pope went to ends of the earth to preach Gospels

By Benedicta Cipolla
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope John Paul II "went to the ends of the earth to preach Jesus Christ and Christ crucified," U.S. Cardinal Bernard F. Law said in an April 11 homily at a special Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

Despite protests, Cardinal Law, former archbishop of Boston, celebrated the fourth Mass in the "novendiales," the official nine-day mourning period for a pope.

Two members of the U.S. organization SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, traveled to Rome April 11 to publicly lodge their complaint against Cardinal Law being chosen to celebrate one of the nine Masses, saying he "brings pain to abuse victims, their families and American Catholics." The cardinal resigned as archbishop of Boston in 2002 amid criticism of his handling of clergy sex abuse cases.

At the Mass, dedicated to Rome's four patriarchal basilicas, Cardinal Law, archpriest of the patriarchal Basilica of St. Mary Major since 2004, said that Pope John Paul had a special link to the four churches.

The pope's tie to St. Mary Major could be seen in his "special love for Mary," the cardinal said. "Is there anyone who did more to promote authentic Marian devotion among Catholics?"

Each Jan. 25, the feast of St. Paul's conversion, the pope celebrated the end of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Cardinal Law said. He said that with his many trips abroad the pope followed St. Paul's example of evangelization as no other pope before him.

The Basilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of Rome, represents the "special link that ties the pope to Rome and Rome to the pope," said the cardinal. Since the pope's death April 2, "we have seen, almost touched, the most moving witness of the faithful people of Rome's love for their shepherd," he said, "a love that the pope returned and multiplied."

St. Peter's Basilica, said the cardinal, marks the place of the first pope's death and burial.

"Here, on this Vatican hill, Peter followed the Lord to the end, and through the paschal mystery entered into the glory of paradise. Here as well," he said, "Pope John Paul II followed the Lord to the end."

Cardinal Law noted that the date of the Mass, April 11, coincided with the feast of St. Stanislaus, and he wished Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwicz, the pope's secretary for more than 30 years, a happy name day. The mention of Archbishop Dziwicz, who was at the Mass along with about 50 bishops and cardinals, led to applause from the congregation.

Among those at the Mass were U.S. Archbishop James Harvey, prefect of the papal household under Pope John Paul, and Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia.

Before and after the Mass, Barbara Blaine and Barbara Dorris, the president and the outreach coordinator of SNAP, respectively, spoke with reporters just outside St. Peter's Square.

"It was wrong to ask Cardinal Law to take this position, to celebrate this Eucharist," said Blaine. "It was wrong for Cardinal Law to accept the position and not recuse himself. It was wrong for the American cardinals to not step in and prevent this from happening. It causes pain. It just rubs salt into the wounds of too many people," she said. "Cardinal Law's image is, in a sense, the poster child of the sex abuse scandal in America."

Cardinal Law celebrated the Mass because of his position as archpriest of St. Mary Major. During the "novendiales," memorial Masses are arranged according to various themes, such as the Roman Curia and religious orders. The themes were established in a book detailing a pope's funeral rites, published at the Vatican in 2000.

The other two basilica archpriests, Italian Cardinals Francesco Marchisano and Camillo Ruini, celebrated Masses earlier in the "novendiales" period. St. Paul Outside the Walls currently has no Vatican-appointed archpriest.

Joe and Linda Turner, members of the Cathedral of St. Francis in Santa Fe, N.M., said that although they wished someone else had celebrated the Mass they wanted to focus on Pope John Paul.

"This is a mourning Mass for the pope. We came for that reason," Joe Turner said. "At the same time, (Cardinal Law) should have handed in his red hat" when he resigned as archbishop of Boston in 2002, he said.

Who is worthy? Cardinals look for pope who will 'be himself'

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As the world's cardinals turned their attention to electing a new pope, they could be forgiven if they felt a little intimidated.

They had just finished burying a pope who was lauded by world leaders as an unequaled peacemaker, who was admired by non-Catholics and non-Christians like no previous pontiff, and who was mourned by millions of faithful around the world, many of whom wanted him declared a saint immediately.

As they assembled in Rome, the question the cardinals were asked most often was: Who is worthy to walk in Pope John Paul II's footsteps?

Their answers were sometimes surprising. While praising the late pope to the heavens, the cardinals made it clear they were not looking for a clone of Pope John Paul in their search for a successor.

That is very much in keeping with the tradition of the church, where papal elections have frequently brought dramatic changes in pastoral style and emphasis.

Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium, summed up the mixed emotions felt by the cardinal-electors. He said that to sketch out a profile of the next pope, one must look at Pope John Paul, a "giant" in church history.

But he added that whoever the next pope is, he must "be himself" and not try to imitate the late pontiff.

That thought was echoed by several cardinals, who were participating in daily discussions called "general congregations" before beginning the conclave April 18.

"I don't think we have to have a copy of John Paul II to build on his work. He was unique," said Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec.

Cardinal Edward M. Egan of New York said that "whoever is chosen ... he would be very, very poorly advised to try to be Pope John Paul II, Paul VI or Pius XII."

He added that the essential trait needed in the next pope is that he be "a man of holiness; everything else is important, but that is crucial."

The cardinals' remarks to reporters in the days following the pope's death were quite general. They offered no names and reacted blandly to names thrown out by journalists. Many cited the Holy Spirit as the key figure in the conclave -- implying they had not yet decided who would get their votes.

All that helped confirm the impression that the field was wide open, but from the cardinals' comments, some preferable traits were emerging.

Like Cardinal Egan, many voters said holiness and an ability to offer clear, personal witness to the Gospel were the most important qualities to look for when picking the next pope.

Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago said the next pope "must be a man of deep faith, a man striving to be holy, a man faithful to Christ and his teachings, and a man who will bring them into our times."

He added that Pope John Paul was "a genius at this."

French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon -- one of the few who came to Rome saying he knew who he would vote for -- told a French radio station that the conclave should select someone "who shows the light of Christ and the strength of the Gospel." What part of the world he comes from, or whether he is young or old, are secondary issues, he said.

Commenting on the challenges facing the next pope, many cardinals said revitalizing the faith of Christians was at the top of the list. They also mentioned the erosion of traditional religious values in society, the need for continued dialogue with Islam and the renewal of missionary efforts -- particularly in Asia.

Several cardinals said they would be looking for someone with pastoral experience. That did not exclude Roman Curia officials, many of whom have served as bishops, but it did reflect the fact that of the 115 cardinals expected to vote in the conclave, three-fourths of them would be coming from outside Rome.

Ukrainian Cardinal Lubomyr Husar of Lviv said a universal problem faced by the church is the "lack of moral fiber" in the world. He said the church needs to respond not with more pronouncements but by pastoral encouragement.

"Addressing the problem of morality is not a matter of reciting rules, rules, rules, but of helping people to do God's will," he said.

Other cardinals, too, seemed to suggest that the next pope will need to take Pope John Paul's strong teachings on moral and social issues and, with pastoral creativity, bring them more deeply into people's personal lives.

The cardinals may well shy away from younger candidates, looking more favorably on candidates in their 70s.

All this would seem to favor frequently mentioned candidates like Italian Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, 71, who is seen as a sympathetic and energetic pastor in his Archdiocese of Milan. He also has some supporters in the Roman Curia, who believe that he would bring management skills to the papacy.

Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes of Sao Paolo, 70, may be the Latin American candidate who best fits the emerging profile. A strong defender of church teaching on human life, he has been a strong voice on family, labor and social justice issues.

Perhaps because he has been so visible -- as the celebrant and homilist at Pope John Paul's funeral and as the senior cardinal in charge of preparing the general congregations before the conclave -- German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is frequently mentioned as a candidate by church sources in Rome.

Cardinal Ratzinger, head of the Vatican's doctrinal congregation since 1981, would offer a clear line of continuity with Pope John Paul's papacy. Because he turns 78 this month, some say he would presumably give the church a shorter pontificate -- which may be what the cardinals are looking for.

In their comments to reporters, most cardinals discounted geography as a primary factor in choosing a pope, though it may be in the back of their minds when the voting begins. Few would underestimate the immediate media impact of a Third World pope, for example.

Those forecasting conclave results may want to heed words of caution from Italian Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini, who is over 80 and too old to vote.

"I'm sure whatever predictions you journalists have collected will be swept away in one minute by the breath of the Holy Spirit," he said. He made his own prediction: that the next pope would be as big a surprise as when Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla was elected in 1978.

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