by Steven Ertelt
April 9, 2005
The Vatican (LifeNews.com) — The world’s Catholic cardinals have taken a vow of silence on their upcoming efforts to select a new Pope. Some 130 cardinals voted unanimously on Saturday in an unprecedented vote to not discuss the conclave process with the media between now and April 18, when the voting is scheduled to begin.
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls called the media ban an "act of responsibility," when speaking to reporters about it.
He asked reporters not to request interviews with cardinals and indicated they should not take the vote to keep the process confidential as a "discourtesy" to the media.
"This should not be interpreted as a snub to the media but a gesture of great responsibility," he explained.
"The cardinals, after the funeral Mass of the Holy Father, began a more intense period of silence and prayer, in view of the conclave," Navarro-Valls explained, according to an Associated Press report. "They unanimously decided to avoid interviews and encounters with the media."
Navarro-Valls also said that two of the 117 worldwide cardinals will not be able to participate in the conclave because of health issues. They include Cardinal Jaime L. Sin of the Philippines and Cardinal Alfonso Antonio Suarez Rivera of Mexico.
Before the media ban, some cardinals told various news sources that there is no real favorite to replace Pope John Paul II.
The German newspaper Allgemeine Zeitung quoted Cardinal Karl Lehmann saying that race and background will play a factor, but he cautioned that there were no favorites and "probably also no firm alliances" backing specific candidates.
"One must be moved through voting, contacts and discussion to a consensus," he told the newspaper.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec agreed there is no top choice, telling the Associated Press, "We enter the conclave cold."
Whomever replaces the Pope will have a looming pro-life legacy to fill.
Father David O’Connell, President of Catholic University in Washington, told Voice of America that the Pope leaves behind a pro-life legacy in which he reasserted the moral values the Catholic Church holds dear.
"His talking about abortion reflects his consistent belief and conviction and the consistent belief of the Catholic church in the sacredness of human life and every human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death," Father O’Connell said.
"And he was unwavering in his speaking about that, writing about that, and dealing with that issue within our world," Father O’Connell explained
Pope John Paul II died earlier this month at age 84 after dealing with months of declining health, Parkinson’s disease and chronic hip ailments.