Suspense over conclave as cardinals speak out
By Ella Ide, AFPVATICAN CITY--Suspense over the date of the conclave to elect a new pope intensified on Wednesday as some cardinals called for more time for debate and seized the chance to speak out about the problems facing the Church and what the future holds.
March 7, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
“We need a new way of governing the Church. A more horizontal government. The Curia must be revolutionized,” German Cardinal Walter Kasper said in an interview with La Repubblica daily, referring to the Vatican's bickering governing body.
The Curia has become one of the key issues of debates surrounding the future of the Church after secret papal documents leaked to the press last year in a scandal dubbed “Vatileaks” alleged corruption and intrigue in the administration and infighting many hope the new pope will tackle.
“I think the Curia in general, beyond whatever emerges from Vatileaks, needs to be revolutionized. And as well as the word reform, there must be a second: transparency. The Curia must begin to open up, and not fear transparency,” Kasper said.
Though the centuries-old bureaucracy should serve the papacy, it has the power to block or water down papal decisions and has been criticized for playing politics under Benedict.
There have been calls for details of an in-house investigative report about “Vatileaks,” and some electors have been openly reluctant about speeding up the vote without knowing all the facts.
“This is time for a long reflection. This conclave needs to be prepared calmly. There is no hurry,” Kasper said, while U.S. Cardinal Francis George simply said: “We are not ready yet.”
“I'm not saying Vatileaks will be a determining factor but I do want to know all pertinent aspects,” said U.S. Cardinal Sean O'Malley. “We have to take all the time we need.”
The Vatican has said it wants a new pope in place by Easter, and before he retired Benedict XVI authorized cardinals to move the date of the conclave forward from the traditional 15 to 20 days following his departure, since they are not mourning a dead pope.
Meanwhile “Pope Emeritus” Benedict, who retired last week to the papal summer home of Castel Gandolfo near Rome, found himself back in the media on Wednesday as paparazzi photographs of the 85-year old in a baseball cap strolling in the garden were splashed all over the newspapers.