BY Amanda Connelly | November 6 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

Two popes Fran Benedict

Pope Francis urged cardinals in 2005 conclave to elect Pope Benedict

A new book has revealed that Pope Francis encouraged fellow cardinals to elect Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to be Pope Benedict XVI back in 2005, saying that he felt it was not the right time for a Latin-American pope.

Latinoamérica: Conversaciones con Hernán Reyes Alcaide is an interview book by the Argentinian journalist Hernán Reyes Alcaide, who is the Rome correspondent for Telam, an Argentinian news agency.

The interview with Pope Francis marked 10 years of an important general conference of Latin-American bishops in Aparecida, Brazil in May 2007 – two years after Pope Benedict was elected as head of the Catholic Church.

The secret diary of an Italian cardinal revealed later that year reported that the now-Pope Francis had a great deal of backing from reformist cardinals while still Cardinal Bergoglio, but that he had asked them to support Cardinal Ratzinger.

“Notwithstanding the action of the Holy Spirit that acts in the conclave, at that moment in history the only man with the stature, the wisdom and the necessary experience to be elected was Cardinal Ratzinger,” Pope Francis said in the interview. “Otherwise there existed the danger of electing a ‘compromise pope.’ And electing a ‘compromise pope’ is not, let’s say, very Gospel-like.”

According to Austen Ivereigh, Uruguayan historian Alberto Methol Ferré, ahead of the conclave, had said it ‘wasn’t the moment for a Latin-American pope and that Ratzinger was the most suitable candidate.’

This opinion was shared by Pope Francis in the interview with Reyes, who thought it was a ‘superb insight’ prior to reading the interview before the conclave.

Pope Francis was a significant figure while still a cardinal in drafting the Aparecida conference’s concluding document, which urged a ‘continental mission’ whereby there would be a Church that actively looked for ways to spread the Gospel to everyone, adding that ‘Aparedcida is a treasure yet to be fully exploited’ while in Colombia in September.

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