EWTN Catholic Q&A
The Conclave
Question from Connie on 04-17-2005:

Why is the Conclave so discrete about appointing a new Holy Father?

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 04-17-2005:

I can think of a couple reasons. First, it avoids the prospect of outside forces intervening if the election seemed to be going against them. This was real possibility in the past, and indeed occured. This, and the prospect of a cardinal being an agent for a worldy power, has been taken so seriously by the Popes that they have attached an excommunication to aiding such an attempt to influence the outcome of the election. This, I imagine, is the main reason.

A second reason might be that unlike a political election, the election of a pope ought not to represent the victory of a party. Attaching too much significance to how the voting went, while interesting, is not in the end germaine to the perpetuation of the Petrine Office. Whoever is elected, and by whatever margin, will be Pope, with all the worldy and other-worldly perogatives and charisms of that office.

COPYRIGHT 2002

www.ewtn.com