“The Conclave is very much a struggle for the institutional heart of the Church”

No white smoke yet White smoke from the papal conclave.  The successor to Benedict XVI will need the support of two thirds of the 115 cardinals present – the Guardian is live-blogging events.  And, as the BBC Europe editor Gavin Hewitt reminds us, the choice is not the one some might wish it to be.  From Gavin Hewitt

During Monday afternoon one of the most powerful brokers in the Vatican hierarchy returned to the sensitive subject of the Vatican Bank. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is not just the Vatican’s secretary of state, he is one of the most influential figures in the Roman Curia, the bureaucracy. He had taken exception to some of the criticism of the running of the bank.

The bank has been the source of scandal with concerns about money-laundering. Last week one of the Brazilian cardinals, Joao Braz de Aviz, criticised the management of the Vatican finances and his comments got in the papers. Cardinal Bertone accused him of leaking his criticisms. Not only did the Brazilian cardinal deny this but other cardinals applauded him.

What these exchanges laid bare was that the Curia is at the heart of the decision as to who will be the next pope.

The big divide is not between conservatives and liberals. In truth, there are very few liberals amongst the cardinals. The major division is between those who believe the Curia needs cleaning out and those who still defend the status quo. [added emphasis]

It’s a point repeated by Damian Thompson at the Telegraph, who recommends this article in the Catholic Herald.  From Damian Thompson

As he [Catholic Herald article] says, journalists are floundering this time around because they can’t see beyond the dichotomy of “conservative” and “progressive”. But if we see things in terms of Rome v reform, then paradoxically the strongest candidate of the reformers is an Italian with an insider’s knowledge of the Vatican: Cardinal Scola of Milan, who is known to be infuriated by curial corruption and, as Fr Drew says, “knows where the bodies are buried”. He’s also, as my colleague Tim Stanley points out, the bookies’ favourite. And he’s rare among Italian prelates in fully implementing Benedict XVI’s liberation of the Latin Mass. The Church could do worse. Meanwhile, I still haven’t quite got my head round the weirdness of the last Pope being still alive.

Indeed.

Adds  Guardian Ustream live-feed



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Update White smoke from the papal conclave!

And The successful candidate is the 76-year-old Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and he has chosen the name Pope Francis I.

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  • It once took the conclave 3 years to decide on a pope.

    Will all the journalists still be on Chimney Watch then?

  • Pete Baker

    Adds Guardian UStream live-feed



    Live Video streaming by Ustream

  • alex gray

    It will be Cardinal Ouellet former Archbishop of Quebec. He edited Pope Benediict’s magazine after he became Pope. He had over 40 votes in earlier ballots. He is close to Benedict.

  • Pete Baker
  • Rory Carr

    Habemus papam !

    Just in time to order worldwide prayers for Arsenal tonight. And, boy ! if ever a miracle were needed…

  • Rory Carr

    It’s Bergoglio of Buenos Aires. The first Latin American, and first ever Jesuit. He will be called Pope Francis the First.

  • Rory Carr

    76 years old. Theologically conservative and socially progressive apparently. Son of a railroad worker and Italian immigrant to Argentina.

  • Pete Baker

    And The successful candidate is the 76-year-old Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and he has chosen the name Pope Francis I.

  • Rory Carr

    This guy predicted Bergoglio as front runner as long ago as 3 March. His reasoning and background material is worth a glance I would suggest.

    http://tinyurl.com/bqfluvy

  • Zig70

    The first Jesuit pope and could be interpreted as the first black pope which is the name given to the Jesuit leader. st malachy predicted the last pope would be a roman and this guy is of Italian descent. Now I don’t believe in Nostradamus’ or St Malachy’s predictions so either coincidence or playing to peoples love of a bit of intrigue. I’d go for coincidence but that’s why I’m rubbish at politics.

  • Carlovivigornian

    There is a serious debate at the Martyrs Memorial Free Presbyterian Church today? Francis or Benedict – which one is the current antichrist? Theologically speaking, is there such a status as antichrist emeritus available for Benny while Frankie takes the official post?

    On a different front will Frankie keeps schtum on the Falklands/Malvinas? Speaking as a UK very, very lapsed Catholic (married to an even more lapsed Anglican) I cringe at the thought of him making it ex cathedra statements on the islands.

  • alex gray

    An Argie and a Jesuit !!!!! Won’t do RC church in UK much good !

  • abucs

    Carlovivigornian, it’s hard to see how the Malvinas come under the category of ‘faith and morals.’

  • abucs

    Zigzag, to add to the intrigue it was unsure whether the last Pope “Peter of Rome’ would be a different Pope or a title that would apply to Benedict. This was because the title Peter of Rome apparently was mentioned after the list of Popes.

    Some surmised it might be a time when there were actually two Popes. do do do do do do