The last of the 115 voting cardinals have finally arrived at the Vatican, so in theory the conclave could start any time. Yet, there appears to be no rush to get on with it. Reports suggest that the cardinals are too busy discussing many important issues facing the Church as well as the qualities required by the next pope. It’s like they’re writing the job description.
In case you’re a bit antsy about the delay, consider that Pope John Paul II died on April 2, 2005 and the subsequent conclave started on April 18. That’s 16 days later. Pope Benedict’s resignation has only been in effect since February 28, or 8 days ago. However, one could start counting from the day he announced his resignation, on February 11 (25 days ago), since cardinals already knew by then that they would need to prepare for a conclave. In fact, Benedict encouraged the cardinals to not wait too long since the usual mourning period for the previous pope didn’t apply to his case.
In any event, we know that the cardinals are debating lots of important stuff. Michael Voris says that they’re notably concerned with a secret report prepared by three cardinals at the request of Benedict that allegedly reveals the extent of internal rebellion and betrayal within the Vatican itself. This report was put under lock and key by Benedict with orders that it not be read by anyone until the next pope sees it first. However, the three cardinals who authored the report are not sworn to silence, and apparently many of the other cardinals want to hear what they uncovered. No kidding. Wouldn’t you? Like, maybe you’d wanna know who the traitors are so that you don’t vote for them during the conclave?!?!?!
Although the cardinals that run the Vatican are apparently pressing for the conclave to start soon, the other cardinals are not letting themselves be pushed around. They seem bent on taking all the time they need to make sure they have all the facts to make informed decisions.
You may be wondering why the cardinals don’t start the conclave and discuss these issues during the conclave. Well, I’ve never been invited to a conclave (I don’t take it personally :-P) but apparently there’s no real time for debate. It’s supposedly a very quiet and prayerful time as they listen to the Holy Spirit and try to discern who to vote for, although they’re interrupted by numerous votes per day. They’re aiming for four votes per day, although the rules allow them up to nine votes per day.
Take heart. Although we’re all eager to know who the next pope will be, this delay is very good news. It shows that the cardinals are aware of the magnitude of the corruption in the Church and that they’re taking it seriously. This is a unique networking opportunity where cardinals can compare notes and even set the foundation for cross-country cooperation on renewing the Church. That should augur well for the future.
Keep praying for the cardinals.