Novak (novak) wrote,

Theological Notebook--Part Two

Law Celebrates Mass Despite Protests

Apr 11, 12:24 PM (ET)


VATICAN CITY (AP) - Cardinal Bernard Law celebrated Mass in mourning for Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Basilica on Monday, ignoring protests from victims that his handling of the sex abuse scandal in the U.S. Catholic Church should disqualify him from the honor.

Police broke up a small but symbolic protest staged by two victims of sex abuse at the hands of American clergy, escorting one of them off St. Peter's Square as she was preparing to distribute fliers.

Several uniformed officers walked Barbara Blaine, founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, behind barricades set up at the entrance to the square. The officers did not explain why they escorted Blaine off the piazza, and she had no immediate comment.

Blaine and another leader of the group brought their campaign for reform to the center of Roman Catholicism, demanding that Vatican officials bar Law from celebrating the important Mass mourning John Paul.

They arrived in Rome just hours before Monday's service at St. Peter's Basilica to condemn what they called the Vatican's "hurtful decision" to choose Law for the honor. The Mass went ahead without disruption.

"In these incredible days, the pope continues to teach us what it means ... to be a follower of Christ," Law said, reading his homily slowly in Italian. "Our faith has been reinforced."

He also said Italian, Polish and other pilgrims were inspiring in their huge tribute of love and devotion to John Paul. Nearly 3 million mourners flooded Rome for his funeral last week.

Law resigned as archbishop of Boston in December 2002 after unsealed court records revealed he had moved predatory clergy among parishes without alerting parents that their children were at risk. More than 550 people have filed abuse claims in Boston in recent years, and the archdiocese has paid more than $85 million in settlements.

American cardinals generally have declined to comment on Law's celebrating one of the nine daily Masses for John Paul, a period of mourning called Novemdiales. But some have said the Vatican likely chose him because he leads an important church, not to give him a personal honor.

St. Mary Major is one of four basilicas under direct Vatican jurisdiction.

Still, the assignment gives Law a position of influence. In their homilies, cardinals can highlight what they consider key concerns for the church. Observers will be analyzing the remarks for clues as to how the cardinals will vote when they begin meeting April 18 to choose a new pope.

Blaine said earlier Monday that the group was not opposed to Law's participation in the conclave, but that his public role in the papal transition was hurtful.

"We are the sons and daughters of the Catholic family who were raped, sodomized and sexually molested by priests," Blaine said, holding a photograph of herself as a child around the time she said a priest began molesting her.

"At this time, we should be able to focus on the Holy Father's death, instead of Cardinal Law's prominence."

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops declined comment. Law also has declined to comment through an aide at the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome, where the pope had appointed him archpriest last year. Law has apologized for his failures.

The Survivors Network, which claims hundreds of members, has spent more than a decade pressing U.S. bishops to acknowledge the scope of molestation in the church. They have picketed parishes, alerted the public to accused priests living in their communities and pressed authorities to prosecute bishops who failed to report abuse.

Asked if the protest was wrong at a time when the church is grieving, Blaine said bluntly: "The Vatican's decision to have Law celebrate the Mass was inappropriate."

Some Catholics say the group is too strident and has close ties with lawyers making millions of dollars from suing the church.

But the Survivors Network says the overwhelming majority of its members have never sued and are too traumatized to do so. They say they adopted their tactics after bishops promised for years to take action against guilty clergy, then never did.

Some Boston Catholics said Law's role in mourning the pope was another a sign that church officials did not understand the betrayal parishioners felt over his wrongdoing.

The abuse crisis erupted in 2002 with the case of one accused priest in Boston, then spread nationwide, compelling American bishops to enact sweeping reforms of their discipline policy for guilty priests.

According to studies the bishops commissioned to restore trust in their leadership, more than 11,000 abuse claims have been made against U.S. clergy since 1950. The total payout to victims has climbed to at least $840 million.

The Vatican, meanwhile, released video Monday to give outsiders a peek at the conclave where a new pope will be selected by the 115 cardinals who are under age 80 and thus eligible to vote.

The Vatican compiled the videotape to help explain the centuries-old election as cardinals, silenced by a pledge not to talk to the media, met again Monday to plan the conclave.

The video offers a tour of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the hotel-residence for the cardinals during the conclave. It includes shots of the frescoed Sistine Chapel, where the voting occurs, and the path cardinals will take to get there - a first since they previously had been sequestered in the Apostolic Palace for the duration of the conclave.

It also shows the bronze-rimmed urns where the cardinals will place their votes. Previously, cardinals placed their ballots in a chalice. The video ends with a view of the stove, dusty and full of ashes, where the ballots will be burned.

Black smoke wafting from the Sistine Chapel's chimney signals no pope has been elected, and white smoke signals a new pope.

The videotape was aired as cardinals arrived in the rain at the Vatican for their seventh meeting to map out details of the conclave. Silenced by an unprecedented pledge not to talk before a pope is chosen, they waved to reporters as they headed into their meeting.

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls announced that the grotto beneath St. Peter's Basilica, where John Paul was laid to rest Friday, would reopen to the public Wednesday at 7 a.m.

Vatican security was preparing the Sistine Chapel, taking undisclosed measures to thwart would-be hackers or electronic eavesdroppers from listening in on the cardinals' private deliberations and getting early word of who the next pope might be.

The names of those emerging as possible papal successors include contenders from Latin America, such as Cardinal Claudio Hummes of Brazil and Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, and a Vatican official from Africa: Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria.

Europeans mentioned include Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Austria and German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Italian "papabili" include Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi and Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re.


Associated Press reporters Vanessa Gera and Maria Sanminiatelli in Rome contributed to this report.

Leader of Russia's Catholics Urges Unity

Apr 11, 12:40 PM (ET)

MOSCOW (AP) - The leader of Russia's Roman Catholics on Monday denied allegations by the Russian Orthodox Church that the Vatican was poaching converts, and he renewed calls for the two branches of Christianity to come closer together.

Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz reaffirmed that "the (Catholic) Church has always been and will remain a minority church here."

"All the statements that the Vatican is conducting the policy of catholicizing Russia aren't grounded and are nothing but absurd," he said at a news conference.

The Russian Orthodox Church's claims of the Vatican's alleged proselytism prevented the late Pope John Paul II from fulfilling his longtime dream of visiting Russia. The Vatican has dismissed the charges, saying it is only catering to a small Catholic community of 600,000.

"We are here for the Catholics - for those who chose to be Catholics," Kondrusiewicz said. "I want to stress once again that we do not want to conduct the policy of proselytism."

He also called for greater Christian unity between the Orthodox and Catholic branches - something John Paul campaigned for.

"The threats (today) are so great and so serious that we must respond to them together," Kondrusiewicz said, referring to abortions, euthanasia and genetic engineering - practices condemned by the church.

"A lot will depend on this, maybe even the very fate of Christianity is at stake."

He said the local Catholic community would like to take a more active role in Russian society by having Catholic representatives meet with senior officials in the Kremlin and in Russia's far-flung regions. Kondrusiewicz also said he would like to participate in the May 9 celebrations commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Nazi defeat - an event he has not been officially invited to.

Profile of Mexico City's Cardinal Rivera

Apr 11, 3:05 PM (ET)


MEXICO CITY (AP) - Cardinal Norberto Rivera has ministered for 10 years to this sprawling capital city at the heart of a predominantly Roman Catholic nation, toeing a conservative line on church doctrine while taking more progressive stances on social issues.

The 62-year-old archbishop of Mexico, appointed by Pope John Paul II, opposes abortion and artificial contraception while speaking out against globalization, government corruption and election fraud.

The church has become more openly involved and aggressive in socio-economic and political issues during Raivera's tenure thanks in part to a change of government policy, which until 1992 banned church-run schools and public religious processions.

"He very clearly believes that government's policy has been inadequate to improving the standard of living of the ordinary faithful," said Roderic Ai Camp, a religion expert who teaches at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. "Implicitly, he's been critical of economic globalization."

As Mexico's foremost cardinal, Rivera is given an outside chance of becoming the next pope if the conclave of cardinals opts for a Latin American, although prelates from Brazil and Honduras are considered stronger contenders.

Rivera has maintained a high profile in Mexico's news media, officiating at celebrity weddings and commenting on current affairs during and after Mass at the Mexico City Cathedral - which happens to face city hall and the Presidential Palace.

He recently weighed in on the debate over Mexico City's popular, left-leaning mayor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, declaring that "there is no room (in Mexico) for a populist government."

While winning praise for defending human rights, Rivera also has cooperated closely with socially and politically conservative groups in Mexico.

In addition to Spanish, he speaks Latin and Italian - a virtual requirement for a pope - as well as some English.

However, he may not have enough of the natural charisma his colleagues may looking for to succeed the dynamic John Paul, according to the Rev. Manuel Olimon, a professor of religious history at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.

"Something that is very important is the personal charm," Olimon said. "His manner is not very agreeable or pleasant. And you could say he is not flexible in his speech, but abrupt."

Born in La Purisima in Mexico's northwestern Durango state, Rivera joined the local seminary at 13 and was ordained a priest 11 years later.

The cardinal, whom colleagues describe as a workaholic, emerged as an extremely traditionalist church leader who sided with Rome on the most controversial of political and theological questions. He made international headlines by continuing to condemn birth control at a time when Mexico's population was growing at a high rate of 2 percent a year.

In 1985, while serving as bishop of Tehuacan in central Puebla state, he irked many clergymen by refusing to rethink sermons that preached an inflexible theological line at a time when the "new church" and its liberation theology were in vogue.

But his pro-Vatican views won him the favor of church officials in Rome and he was named Mexico City's archbishop by John Paul II in 1995.

Since his arrival in the capital district, home to 20 million people, Rivera has worked to cultivate closer relations with Jews and Muslims in a country where about 90 percent of the population is at least nominally Catholic.

Working in Mexico City, Rivera has been somewhat removed from the fast-growing Protestant evangelical movement in the countryside - and from the Catholic Church's controversial decision to suspend training of Indian lay deacons, despite an apparent shortage of priests.

Despite his conservative background, Rivera is credited with a supporting role in mediating a dispute in the mid-1990s between the Vatican and the outspoken former bishop of San Cristobal de Las Casas, Samuel Ruiz, who was accused by the government and conservatives of fomenting Indian rebellion in the poor southern state of Chiapas. The Vatican had been prepared to expel Ruiz; instead, he stayed on until 1999, when he retired at the age of 75.

Rivera "would probably have been critical of Ruiz personally but not critical of the church supporting the interest of the indigenous peasants in Chiapas," Ai Camp said.

Muslim Outreach Bid Binds Papal Electors

Apr 11, 3:31 PM (ET)


VATICAN CITY (AP) - They represent John Paul II's last major stamp on his vision for the future of the church: 26 cardinals from six continents who were added to the list of papal electors 18 months ago.

These latest cardinals, who account for nearly a quarter of the expected 115-member conclave beginning April 18, include some of the Vatican's leading voices protesting the U.S.-led war in Iraq and defending the church's moral teachings. One issue that vividly stands out: the need to strengthen bonds with Muslims or risk a more polarized and dangerous world.

Some of the most dynamic prelates in the group have been active on the front lines of Christian-Muslim conflicts in Africa or involved in interfaith outreach. Their backgrounds reinforce the perception that questions about Islam could exert a strong influence on the conclave in the way Cold War politics entered into the election of John Paul in 1978.

"John Paul II made the Vatican into a geopolitical force," said Jo Renee Formicola, a professor of religious and political studies at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J. "There is no bigger question now in the West than building better contacts with the Islamic world. The Vatican recognizes this."

The late pope took historic steps to open channels between Islam and the Vatican, including a 2001 trip to Syria when he became the first pontiff to enter a mosque. But the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the growing strength of radical Islam have raised calls in the Vatican for more comprehensive contacts with mainstream Islamic leaders.

A possible papal candidate who could benefit from that new focus is Vatican-based Cardinal Francis Arinze, 72, of Nigeria, who has been involved in inter-religious dialogue since the 1980s and whose nation is a fault line between Christianity and Islam. Also, Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, 71, is seen to possess diplomatic finesse for a papacy that may require extensive contacts with Islamic leaders.

Fourteen of the new cardinals come from Europe, including six from Italy. The others are spread across the globe: three each from Latin America, Africa and Asia; two from North America and one from Australia. This, too, reflects the diversity of the coming conclave. Cardinals from 52 nations will decide on the new pontiff.

Interest in advancing contacts with Islam links many of the new cardinals, elevated during ceremonies to mark the 25th year of John Paul's papacy.

Among them is French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who served as a top Vatican diplomat from 1990 to 2003 and was the pope's main envoy for the Middle East. He has called interfaith relations an "enormous task" for the next papacy and urged Muslim nations to stand against "second-class" status for Christians.

Fellow cardinals from France - Marseilles Archbishop Bernard Panafieu and Lyons Archbishop Philippe Barbarin - have taken strong stands in support of better contacts with mainstream Muslims.

For Panafieu, the issue is at his doorstep. Nearly 17 percent of the French port is now Muslim. Panafieu has objected to a French law last year outlawing Muslim head scarves and other religious symbols in public schools and has urged the government to "act through persuasion rather than by compulsion" to help Muslim immigrants adjust to the West.

Barbarin has gained a reputation as a champion for immigrant rights in a country with the largest Muslim community in Western Europe. The next pope "must be a man who knows and understands today's world and its culture," Barbarin said last week.

Spanish Cardinal Carlos Amigo Vallejo, the archbishop of Seville, was formerly head of the archdiocese in Tangiers, Morocco, which has only a few thousand Catholics. He has warned that "ignorance and neglect" between the faiths needs urgent attention.

Croatian Cardinal Josip Bozanic is vice president of the Council of the Episcopal Conferences of Europe, which has held a series of conferences on interfaith issues. Bozanic also has joined other religious leaders trying to rebuild trust in the Balkans following the bloody collapse of the former Yugoslavia.

But the strongest messages come from two new African cardinals.

In Sudan, the nation's first cardinal, Gabriel Zubeir Wako, has been caught up in more than two decades of clashes that claimed more than 2 million lives, mainly through famine and disease. A peace pact in January was reached between the Muslim-led government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army, which has battled since 1983 for greater rights and a share of wealth for southern Sudanese of Christian and animist faiths.

But Wako fears the deal could unravel without better contact between Sudan's Christians and the majority Muslims, whom he has accused of trying to "colonize" the entire country. One of Wako's first meetings after becoming cardinal was with Hassan Turabi, a populist Islamic leader who was placed under house arrest for challenging the government.

"The reason for which the war began will arise again" unless efforts are made to bridge the religious rifts, he told the Italian magazine 30 Days in August 2004.

Another new cardinal, Anthony Olubunmi Okogie of Nigeria, begged in 1991 for calm after a round of Muslim-Christian clashes. "We cannot take any more of this," he said at the time.

But it got worse. Thousands have been killed in Muslim-Christian clashes since the late 1990s. In 2000, 12 states in Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north adopted Islamic civil law, which Okogie called a "path to destruction" by dividing the nation.

In an interview shortly after becoming cardinal, Okogie declined to speculate on Arinze's chances for the papacy. But he added: "In this election, Nigeria will have a place of prominence."

Two others among the new group, both Italians, also have been mentioned as possible outside papal prospects: Cardinal Angelo Scola, 63, the patriarch of Venice, and Cardinal Tarcisco Bertone, 70, the archbishop of Genoa.

The group also includes cardinals whose bold style could help sway the conclave.

Italian Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, the archbishop of Florence, asked all the city's churches to toll their bells in mourning on the first night of the U.S.-led attack on Iraq in 2003.

Cardinal Renato Martino, a longtime Vatican official who served as observer at the United Nations, denounced the decision last month in Florida to remove the feeding tube of Terri Schiavo, the severely brain damaged woman who died 13 days later. Martino called it a "human tragedy, but also an ethical, juridical and cultural tragedy."

Electronic Spying Threatens Vatican Secrecy

Apr 11, 3:51 PM (ET)


VATICAN CITY (AP) - Computer hackers, electronic bugs and supersensitive microphones threaten to pierce the Vatican's thick walls next week when cardinals gather in the Sistine Chapel to name a papal successor.

Spying has gotten a lot more sophisticated since John Paul was elected in 1978, but the Vatican seems confident it can protect the centuries-old tradition of secrecy that surrounds the gathering.

"It's not as if it's the first conclave we've handled," said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Vatican security refused to discuss the details of any anti-bugging measures to be used during the conclave. But Giuseppe Mazzullo, a private detective and retired Rome policeman whose former unit worked closely with the Vatican in the past, said the Holy See will reinforce its own experts with Italian police and private security contractors.

"The security is very strict," Mazzullo said. "For people to steal information, it's very, very difficult if not impossible."

Thousands of reporters will be watching as the 115 cardinals gather in the Sistine Chapel on April 18. Hackers and government informants may also be monitoring the conclave.

The temptations to spy will be immense. The papal election will likely see keen competition, notably between reformers and conservatives. It is also expected to witness a strong push for the first non-European pope.

Revelations of the proceedings could prove embarrassing to the Vatican. For instance, sensitive discussions on a papal candidate's stand on relations with Muslims or Jews, recognizing China rather than Taiwan or views on contraception would be sought-after by governments or the press.

John Paul was sensitive to meddling from outside. He spent his formative years in Soviet-run Poland under pervasive government spying. The Turkish gunman who shot him in 1981 was suspected of ties to the Soviets, a regime later brought down by forces the pope openly supported.

In 1996, John Paul set down rules to protect cardinals from "threats to their independence of judgment." Cell phones, electronic organizers, radios, newspapers, TVs and recorders were banned.

The ban on cell phones and personal data organizers makes sense, security experts say, since they can be hacked and used to broadcast the proceedings to a listener.

"An eavesdropper can reach into those devices and turn on the microphone and turn it into an eavesdropping device," said James Atkinson, who heads a Gloucester, Mass., company that specializes in bug detection. "It's extraordinarily easy to do."

Another worry for the Vatican will be rooftop snoops with sensitive microphones. Laser microphones can pick up conversations from a quarter-mile away by recording vibrations on window glass or other hard surfaces. The Sistine Chapel has windows set near the roof.

"You focus the laser on a window or on a hard object in the room, like the glass on a picture," said a New York-based security expert with Kroll, Inc., who asked that his name not be used. "When people are talking the glass will modulate with the sound of the voice and they can recover the audio."

Laser microphones can be thwarted with heavy drapes and by masking conversations with ambient noise.

Tougher to root out are tiny bugs: transmitters or recorders as small as a coin.

To handle those, bug-sweeping teams - acting on the pope's 1996 orders - will need to mount complex sweeps of sensitive meeting areas, taking out carpets, poking through chair cushions, opening heating ducts, testing electrical wiring, light bulbs and water pipes, Atkinson said.

The late pope deemed the threat to the conclave serious enough to decree that those who break their oaths of secrecy can be cast out of the Roman Catholic Church.

For the first time, however, cardinals voting in the conclave will be free to move outside the complex that includes the Sistine Chapel. Previously, cardinals were allowed to sleep only in the adjoining Apostolic Palace, but this time they will be housed in a $20 million hotel residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae. They will be allowed to use Vatican City chapels for Masses.

In a sign of nervousness about maintaining secrecy, the College of Cardinals decided Saturday to halt interviews with the media. Cardinals had been giving interviews, and the clampdown is believed unprecedented.

"They've assured us there are ways to block all communications and conversations," Chicago Cardinal Francis George told reporters earlier in the week.

But even with precautions, halting a spy inside the Vatican - perhaps an unwitting one - is probably the toughest threat to block, experts said.

A spy could import a listening device, or even signal people outside the Vatican by a color-coded message. Atkinson suggested using colored smoke or by flushing dye down a toilet with a discharge pipe that could be monitored elsewhere.

"Are they going to search all the cardinals to see whether someone bugged their spectacles or crucifixes?" asked Giles Ebbut, a surveillance expert with the London consultancy Jane's. "The imagination can run riot."


Associated Press writer Jim Krane reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Cardinals to Lodge in Style for Conclave

Apr 11, 3:59 PM (ET)


VATICAN CITY (AP) - The lobby looks a bit like a convention center, with floors of white marble and potted plants. Cold and impersonal perhaps, but it's a big step up from the cramped quarters in the Apostolic Palace where previous conclaves were held.

The Vatican released a videotape Monday illuminating the closed world the cardinals will live in when they meet to elect the next pope. A second video showed the three oval-shaped metal urns into which they'll place their folded ballots.

Rather than the makeshift cubbyholes in the palace they occupied twice in 1978, the cardinals will stay in a recently restored residence with 106 suites and 22 single rooms, each with a private bathroom. Previously, the august "princes of the church" shared one bathroom for as many as six prelates.

All 115 cardinals eligible to vote will move into Domus Sanctae Marthae, or Martha's House, before the conclave begins April 18.

The video showed a reception area with marble floors, a sitting area with brown upholstered sofas and a few plants, stark hallways with lighting from sconces on the walls, and a modern chapel.

The sparsely decorated dining room was fitted mostly with large round tables and fruit bowls as centerpieces, reminiscent of a convent refectory. A large crucifix was on the wall above a side table where a nun was arranging flowers.

According to a prelate who ate there recently, the food is "good but not fancy"- a pasta dish and a main course washed down with Frascati wine, straight from the vineyards in the Roman countryside.

The one bedroom in the video - apparently one of the larger suites - had a wooden floor and was furnished with antiques.

The rooms are intended to be simple but efficient. They include a bed, built-in closet, night table, desk and chair. Suites have a sitting area with a small couch and two armchairs.

But the walls are reported to be thin. "The first time I stayed there, the phone rang next door and I went to pick up my phone," said a frequent guest, a bishop who asked that his name not be used.

In 1997, John Paul expanded the old hospice into a five-story hotel for prelates and dignitaries visiting the Vatican. During World War II, when the building was smaller, it served as a hiding place for Jews and others escaping the Nazi occupation of Rome.

For the duration of the conclave, telephones and televisions are removed from the rooms to help ensure the cardinals have no contact with the outside world.

Officials assigned to assist with the conclave, including two doctors for medical emergencies, are allowed to reside in the building alongside the cardinals.

John Paul specified in his instructions that the cardinals should draw their rooms by lot. The lucky ones get a room with a priceless view - the dome of St. Peter.

In the old days, the cardinals were locked into Apostolic Palace, the building next to the Sistine Chapel where the conclave was held, to ensure adherence to the rule of secrecy.

Cardinals slept in large halls or offices divided by thin partitions forming temporary bedrooms just big enough for a bed, chair and night table. The rooms, often having the musty atmosphere of old furniture, had no running water.

John Paul, who participated in the two 1978 conclaves, moved the prelates to Martha's House to "ensure suitable accommodation for the cardinal electors."

The video showed the route the cardinals will take in shuttle buses from the residence, on the western side of Vatican City, around the back of St. Peter's Basilica to the Sistine Chapel, about a five-minute drive. No one is allowed to talk to them in transit.

By separating the cardinals' residence from the voting area, "the entire Vatican becomes a conclave," Archbishop Piero Marini, head of the Vatican office for liturgical celebrations, told reporters recently.

The word "conclave" comes from the Latin for "with keys," since cardinals were locked in until the job was done.

Rules for Conclave That Elects Next Pope

Apr 11, 4:56 PM (ET)

By The Associated Press

A summary of rules the late John Paul II set for the conclave that will elect the next pope beginning Monday:



_Cardinals under age 80 participate with 115 expected to attend the conclave. The dean of the College of Cardinals, currently Germany's Joseph Ratzinger, presides.

Electors vow total secrecy and promise to oppose interference by secular authorities or "any group of people or individuals." They are forbidden from making any "pact, agreement, promise or other commitment" to win votes for or against a candidate. They must not be swayed "by friendship or aversion," media suggestions, force, "fear or the pursuit of popularity."



_The conclave will have a support staff (seven aides, two physicians, priests to hear confessions, cooks, housekeepers), also sworn to "observe absolute and perpetual secrecy" about all matters regarding the election.

Two technicians will check the environs to prevent recording or transmission devices. The cardinals are forbidden all communication with the outside world by letter, conversation, telephone or radio and have no access to periodicals or broadcasts.

Electors reside throughout the conclave in the new Domus Sanctae Marthae, a residence far more comfortable that the former Apostolic Palace cells.



_Voting occurs in the Sistine Chapel by secret ballot. In early rounds, a two-thirds majority is required for victory, or two-thirds plus one if the total isn't divisible into three equal parts.

One ballot may be held the first day. Thereafter, two ballots in immediate succession without discussion occur each morning, and two each afternoon.

Each elector carries his ballot to the chapel altar. Three "infirmarii" cardinals collect ballots from any electors in the Domus too sick to visit the chapel. Three "scrutineers" do the counting. After balloting, the ballots and any notes are burned.

If no one is elected after three days, voting pauses for up to one day. After seven more ballots, there's another pause, then seven ballots and another pause, then seven ballots. At this point if there's still no winner, a simple majority of cardinals may agree to elect the first man who reaches a simple majority thereafter.



_When a winner emerges, he is formally asked whether he accepts (John Paul's decree beseeches the winner "not to refuse, for fear of its weight, the office"). He is asked to announce his papal name. Electors make an act of homage to their new pontiff.

The pope imparts his blessing to the crowd from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica.

Alleged Miracles Attributed to John Paul

Apr 11, 5:22 PM (ET)


VATICAN CITY (AP) - An American Jew cured of a brain tumor after attending Mass with Pope John Paul II. A Mexican boy stricken with leukemia who recovered after a papal kiss. Even a cardinal who regained his ability to speak after John Paul touched his throat.

Italian newspapers have been rife with reports of alleged miracles attributed to Pope John Paul II, fueling speculation he may soon be put on the path to sainthood.

Vatican rules, though, are clear: For a miracle to be considered in the saint-making process, it has to have occurred after John Paul's death. So far, all the reports stem from inexplicable cures that occurred while John Paul was very much alive.

But that hasn't stopped the frenzy surrounding popular calls for John Paul to be put on the fast-track to sainthood, spurred by the spontaneous chants of "Santo, Santo" that erupted during his funeral Friday.

Archbishop Edward Nowak, secretary in the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, added to the speculation Monday after he was quoted as saying a decision on starting the saint-making process could come as early as October, when bishops from around the world meet in Rome.

Nowak, like John Paul a Pole, stressed that historians and theologians would still have to gather all the necessary documentation to start a case for beatifying John Paul, the first step in the process.

But he said such work, which usually takes years if not centuries, could be completed in a mere six months.

As for miracles, Nowak concurred all the letters the Vatican had received so far of supposed miraculous cures wouldn't count toward John Paul's saintliness.

"But since you only need one for beatification and one for canonization, if there are so many of these 'signs' that you hear about, it shouldn't be difficult to have new ones," he told the newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Some of the old "miracles" have been given prominent play in Italian newspapers, including the case of an unidentified American Jewish millionaire afflicted with a brain tumor who attended Mass with John Paul in 1998 at the pontiff's summer retreat in Castelgandolfo, outside Rome.

Marco Tosatti, correspondent for the Turin daily La Stampa, said the case had been described to him in 2002 by John Paul's longtime private secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz.

La Stampa said some weeks after the audience, Dziwisz was told "that the tumor had completely disappeared in the span of a few hours."

Another case is that of Jose Heron Badillo, who was 4 when John Paul visited his hometown of Zacatecas, Mexico in 1990. The boy, who suffered from leukemia, was selected to hold a dove as part of the airport ceremonies to welcome John Paul.

"The pope told him, let the dove fly! Then (the pope) hugged him and kissed him on his forehead," recalled Mexican Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan in an interview published by Corriere della Sera over the weekend.

The cardinal, who headed the Vatican office on health care issues under John Paul, said there was no medical explanation for the boy's subsequent recovery. "They only gave him days to live," he told the newspaper.

The diocese of Zacatecas has gathered documentation on the case and will send it to the Vatican if a beatification process is started, the newspaper said.

Another inexplicable cure was announced over the weekend by Cardinal Francesco Marchisano during his homily at a Mass of mourning for John Paul. Marchisano told the faithful he had lost the ability to speak after undergoing throat surgery.

"The pope touched the part of the throat where I was operated on, saying that he would pray to the Lord for me," he told the faithful. "After some time, I was able to speak regularly."

He didn't claim to have been miraculously cured, but Italian newspapers are including it as evidence of the many cases of inexplicable cures attributed to the pope.

Vatican procedures in place for some 500 years require one miracle for someone to be beatified and a second to be canonized. There has been speculation that a new pope might do away with those procedures and simply declare John Paul a saint based on popular acclaim.

Disgraced Cardinal Leads Mass for Pope

Apr 11, 7:21 PM (ET)


VATICAN CITY (AP) - Cardinal Bernard Law, whose failures to stop sexually abusive priests sparked the worst crisis in American church history, led a Mass for thousands mourning Pope John Paul II at St. Peter's Basilica on Monday after police whisked away a victim protesting outside.

Law celebrated the Mass without disruption, saying in his homily that Italian, Polish and other pilgrims were inspiring in their huge tribute to John Paul. Nearly 3 million mourners flooded Rome for the pontiff's funeral last week.

"In these incredible days, the pope continues to teach us what it means ... to be a follower of Christ," Law said, reading slowly in Italian. "Our faith has been reinforced."

After the service, several worshippers from Europe said they had never heard of Law. American parishioners said they recognized him, but questioned whether the protest was appropriate right after the pope died.

"It's not the time or the place," said Mary Beth Bauer, who lives in Maine and had followed the abuse crisis and Law's resignation.

But some Catholics said seeing the cardinal presiding over Mass at one of the most significant sites for their faith was another sign that the Vatican did not understand the betrayal parishioners felt that he protected guilty priests.

Barbara Blaine, founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and Barbara Dorris, also a leader of the advocacy group, said the Vatican's choice of Law devastated victims.

"We believe he should take a back seat and stay in the background so Catholics can grieve without having to have the sex abuse scandal in their face," said Blaine, who had flown into Rome just hours before the Mass.

At St. Peter's Square, Blaine planned to distribute fliers, but was quickly surrounded by Italian officers who moved her without incident outside the plaza. The officers did not respond when asked why she was removed, but Blaine said they told her that news cameras were not allowed.

Blaine said she felt compelled to travel to the Vatican from her home in Chicago after learning of Law's public role in memorializing the pope. The Mass is one of nine daily services for the pope for the period of mourning called Novemdiales.

Law resigned as archbishop of Boston in December 2002 after unsealed court records revealed he had moved predatory clergy among parishes for years without telling parents their children were at risk. He has apologized for his wrongdoing.

More than 550 people have filed abuse claims in Boston in recent years, and the archdiocese has paid more than $85 million in settlements. The scandal erupted in Boston in January 2002 and spread nationwide, causing what American Catholic bishops have called the worst crisis in the U.S. church.

After Law's resignation, the pope appointed him archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome, one of four basilicas under direct Vatican jurisdiction.

Some church leaders have said the Vatican chose Law to celebrate the Mass because he leads an important church, not as a personal honor.

Still, the assignment gave Law a position of influence ahead of the papal election, which is set to begin next Monday.

In suburban Boston, Voice of the Faithful, a lay Catholic organization founded in response to the clergy sex abuse crisis which claims 30,000 members, said Law should not have celebrated the Mass and should not take part in the conclave that will select a new pope.

"Cardinal Law is a living symbol of the Catholic Church's failures in dealing with the underlying causes of sexual abuse," the group's president, James E. Post said, in a statement. He called the scandal "one of the darkest stains on John Paul II's legacy," and said Law's high-profile role is a painful reminder of the abuse and cover-up.

The Survivors Network, which claims more than 5,600 members, has spent more than a decade pressing U.S. bishops to acknowledge the scope of molestation in the church.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Law, through an aide, declined to comment on his participation in the Mass. The Survivors Network had asked the American cardinals to intervene to stop Law, but Blaine said they did not respond.

Blaine, who said a priest began molesting her when she was about 12 and who received an $80,000 settlement from the Diocese of Toledo, Ohio, contended the Vatican - not her group - was responsible for making abuse an issue during the papal transition. She did not oppose Law's voting in the conclave.

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