Pope Francis says he felt ‘used’ in 2005 conclave

2005 conclave

In a new book interview, Pope Francis has made startling revelations about his involvement in the 2005 conclave.

Speaking to Vatican journalist Javier Martinez Brocal, Francis candidly discussed the political manoeuvres within the Vatican during pivotal papal elections.

He disclosed that he felt “used” by certain cardinals to block the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI.

In the interview titled “The Successor: My Memories of Benedict XVI” Francis emphasised his support for Ratzinger, citing the need for a leader to maintain balance during a transitional period after the dynamic pontificate of St John Paul II.

However, he revealed a coordinated effort by some cardinals to prevent Ratzinger’s candidacy, with his own name being put forward as part of a strategy to derail Ratzinger’s chances.

“The idea was to block the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger” Francis explained. “They were using me but, in the meantime, they were already thinking about proposing another cardinal. They had not yet agreed on who, but they were ready to throw out a name.”

Francis said those who pretended to back him stated that “they did not want a ‘foreign’ pope,” given that Pope John Paul II was Polish. Most popes in the Vatican’s history have been Italian.

Despite receiving significant votes, enough to hinder Ratzinger’s election in the 2005 conclave, Francis intervened and declared his refusal to accept the papacy if elected.

Man of great gentleness

Reflecting on Ratzinger’s eventual election, Francis acknowledged the challenges faced by his predecessor in initiating reforms within the Vatican. He attributed resistance to Benedict’s efforts to introduce a new style of leadership.

“Benedict was a man of great gentleness. In some cases, people took advantage of him, perhaps without malice, and limited his movements. Unfortunately, in a certain sense, they were encircling him. He was a very delicate man, but he was not weak: he was strong. But he was humble, and preferred not to impose. So, he suffered a lot.”

Moreover, Francis addressed the significance of the Holy Spirit’s role in the papal election process, emphasising divine intervention in the selection of the pontiff.

In the book excerpt, Francis prefaces his response to the journalist’s questions about the 2005 conclave by explaining that while cardinals are sworn not to reveal what happens in a conclave, “popes are allowed to tell”.

The book was scheduled to be released in Spanish on April 3; no publication date for an English-language translation of the book has yet been announced.


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