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Pope Francis says he was part of maneuver in ’05 conclave



I.Media - published on 04/01/24

In a new book-interview, Francis explains why he voted for Ratzinger — and how some cardinals tried to use Bergoglio’s name to avoid Benedict XVI’s election.

“He was my candidate,” says Pope Francis, asked about his relationship with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger during the 2005 conclave. He made this revelation in a book-interview with Spanish journalist Javier Martìnez-Brocal, to be published on April 2, 2024, under the title El Sucesor – not yet translated into English. It is not the same book that was recently released; that one came out on March 19.

An extract of the book was published by the Spanish daily ABC this Easter Sunday, March 31. In it, the Pope recounts in detail his relationship with his predecessor, with whom he lived in close proximity for almost 10 years in the Vatican, until the Pope Emeritus’ death on December 31, 2022.

“They were using me”

Pope Francis explains that “cardinals swear not to reveal what happens in the conclave, but popes have the freedom to tell it.”

In the interview, he recalls the situation of the 2005 conclave, during which he came to obtain “40 of the 115 votes in the Sistine Chapel.” This threshold could have been enough to “block the candidacy of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, because if they had continued to vote, he would not have been able to reach the two-thirds necessary to be elected pope,” explains Francis.

“The maneuver consisted in putting my name forward, blocking Ratzinger’s election, and then negotiating a third candidate,” he reveals, pointing out that these cardinals wanted to elect a “non-foreigner,” i.e. an Italian.

“They were using me, but behind that they were thinking of proposing another cardinal.” Annoyed, the Argentine cardinal explains that he then said to Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, “Don’t joke about my candidacy, because I’m going to say right now that I won’t accept it.”

Cardinal Ratzinger was the only option

Pope Francis explains that he took part in the conclave considering that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger “was the only one who could be pope at that time. After the revolution of John Paul II, who had been a dynamic pontiff, very active, with initiative, who traveled, what was needed was a pope who could maintain a healthy balance, a transitional pope.”

“If they had elected someone like me, who makes a lot of mess, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything. At the time, it wouldn’t have been possible,” explains Pope Francis, who assures us he was “happy” with the choice.

“In electing Joseph Ratzinger, the Holy Spirit said, ‘I am in charge. There is no room for maneuvering,'” says the Argentine pontiff, who in turn would be elected almost eight years later, on March 13, 2013, after Benedict XVI’s renunciation of the Petrine ministry.

PopePope Benedict XVIPope Francis
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