On one side, Ratzinger, Ruini, Bergoglio, Scola with their proposal for a new “Papal Revolution.” On the other side, the list of their opponents, with Tettamanzi as the man for all seasons
by Sandro Magister
ROMA, April 14, 2005 – On Tuesday, April 19, the first full day of the conclave which will elect the new pope, the feast in the calendar of the Roman Church is that of Saint Leo IX. He was pope between 1049 and 1054. He was a standard bearer of the great “Papal Revolution” which, at the beginning of the second millennium, between the 11th and 12th centuries, refashioned the Church and the West. He was German.
And the indisputable front runner in this conclave at the beginning of the third millennium is also German – but above all, he is “Roman.” He is Joseph Ratzinger, and he will turn 78 on April 16. The morning of Monday the 18th, he will be the one presiding over the “missa pro eligendo romano pontifice” at Saint Peter’s. And during the first secret ballot on Monday afternoon, he is expected to receive numerous votes of consensus and esteem, certainly several dozen at least. The quorum necessary to be elected, with 115 cardinals present, is 77 votes. At the tally, Ratzinger and the other cardinals will be watching and judging. They will be standing beneath the terrible gaze of a Judge infinitely higher than they are, the Christ painted by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.
But the proposal that Ratzinger and his party have presented to the cardinal electors is also fearsome and demanding. They want “a Church that is not folded in upon itself, not timid, not lacking in trust, a Church burning with the love of Christ for the salvation of all men,” as Cardinal Camillo Ruini said in a homily at a Saint Peter’s basilica overflowing with crowds, two days after the funeral for John Paul II.
During the last few months Ruini has been, together with Ratzinger, the most active and explicit in defining the scenario of the new pontificate. And many leading cardinals have taken their side, some of them likely candidates for the papacy themselves. In the curia there is German cardinal Walter Kasper, one of Ratzinger and Ruini’s scholarly colleagues since the three were simple theology professors. In Latin America, there are the Argentine of Italian origin Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, and the Chilean Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, archbishop of Santiago. In the United States, there is Francis E. George, archbishop of Chicago. In Canada, there is Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Québec. In Australia, there is George Pell, archbishop of Sydney. In Eastern Europe there is Józef Glemp, archbishop of Warsaw. In Italy, there are Angelo Scola, patriarch of Venice, and Giacomo Biffi, archbishop emeritus of Bologna. This is the framework for the neoconservative party whose beacon is Ratzinger. Another group of cardinals that has recently drawn closer to this party is the circle of cardinals who are friends of Opus Dei, led by the two who are members of Opus: in the Vatican, Julián Herranz, the leading authority on canon law in the curia, and in Latin America, Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima.
The power of the neoconservatives essentially consists in their program. They want a resumption of the active management of the Church’s ordinary governance, its cleansing from “filthiness,” a reinforcement of the doctrinal and moral formation of the clergy, a renewal of basic evangelization and the teaching of the catechism, a qualitative improvement in the celebration of the liturgy, a new missionary campaign.
But it is above all from the perspective of the Church “ad extra” that their program distinguishes itself. The most fearsome conflict of the next decades, Ratzinger and Ruini have both said on numerous occasions, will not be that between the Church and Islam, but rather the cultural conflict between the Church and “the radical emancipation of man from God and from the roots of life,” which characterizes contemporary Western culture and which “leads in the end to the destruction of freedom.” For the neoconservative cardinals, the Church’s commitment to this clash centered in the West must be given absolute priority in the next pontificate.
Their scenario has three other corollaries. The first that the Church will not fight alone in this epochal conflict, but will look for and find allies even in secularist currents of thought far removed from Catholicism; for example, in those represented by Francis Fukuyama and Jürgen Habermas, the two authors cited most frequently by Ratzinger and Ruini of late.
The second corollary concerns …