Francisco reveals that they wanted to use him in the 2005 conclave to not elect Benedict XVI


Pope Benedict XVI during a visit to Brazil in 2007.| Photo: Rodolfo Buhrer/Arquivo Gazeta do Povo

Pope Francis revealed that in the 2005 conclave there were “maneuvers” among the cardinals and they tried to use him because they did not want to elect a “foreign” pontiff, during the process that ended with the choice of the German Joseph Ratzinger.

The revelation is part of the book of interviews ‘El Sucesor’, in which Francisco narrates for the first time the ten years of coexistence with Benedict XVI.

The chapter of the book written by Spanish journalist Javier Martínez Brocal dedicated to the 2005 conclave was published this Sunday by the newspaper “ABC” and in it Francisco talks about the stratagems between the cardinals locked in the Sistine Chapel.

“It turned out that I had 40 out of 115 votes in the Sistine Chapel. They were enough to stop Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s candidacy, because if they had continued to vote for me, I would not have been able to reach the two-thirds necessary to be elected pope”, declared Francis.

“The maneuver consisted of putting my name forward, blocking Ratzinger’s election and then negotiating a third, different candidate. They told me later that they didn’t want a ‘foreign’ pope. It was a total maneuver. The idea was to block the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. They were using me, but behind the scenes they were already thinking about proposing another cardinal”, he added.

“The conclave began on Monday, April 18, 2005. The first vote was in the afternoon. This operation took place in the second or third vote, on Tuesday, the 19th, in the morning. When I realized this in the afternoon, I said to a Latin American cardinal, the Colombian Darío Castrillón: ‘Don’t joke about my candidacy, because now I’m going to say that I won’t accept it, huh? Leave me there.’ And that’s when Benedict XVI was elected”, reported Francisco.

In this sense, the pope assures that Joseph Ratzinger was his candidate because “he was the only one who at that time could be pope”.

“After the revolution of John Paul II, who had been a dynamic pontiff, very active, with initiative, who traveled… there was a need for a pope who maintained a healthy balance, a transitional pope”, he said.

“If they had chosen someone like me, who causes a lot of problems, I wouldn’t have been able to do anything. At that time, this would not have been possible. I left happy. Benedict XVI was a man who followed the new style. And it wasn’t easy for him, huh? He encountered a lot of resistance within the Vatican,” he added.

The article is in Portuguese

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