The Secretariat of State for the Holy See has issued a statement warning cardinals to defend the Conclave from coming under pressure from the media and their expression of so called public opinion, just like Cardinals needed to be on their guard against nation States in the past putting pressure on the election of the pope:
‘The freedom of the College of Cardinals, which alone, under the law, is responsible for the election of the Roman Pontiff, has always been strongly defended by the Holy See, as a guarantee of a choice based on evaluations solely for the good of the Church.
Over the centuries, the Cardinals have faced multiple forms of pressure exerted on the individual voters and the same College, with the aim of conditioning decisions, to bend them to a political or worldly logic.
If in the past it was the so-called superpowers, namely States, who sought to condition the election of the Pope in their favour, today there is an attempt to apply the weight of public opinion, often on the basis of assessments that fail to capture the spiritual aspect of this moment in the life of the Church.
It is regrettable that, as we draw near to the beginning of the Conclave, when Cardinal electors shall be bound in conscience and before God to freely express their choice, news reports abound which are often unverified or not verifiable, or even false, even subsequent damage people and institutions.
It is in moments such as these that Catholics are called to focus on what is essential: to pray for Pope Benedict, to pray that the Holy Spirit enlighten the College of Cardinals, to pray for the future Pope, trusting that the fate of the barque of St. Peter is in the hands of God.
Protect the Pope comment: This warning from the Secretariat of State couldn’t be more timely with the obvious examples of the media putting pressure on Cardinal Murphy O’Connor and Cardinal Keith O’Brien, and them, in different ways, confusing the teaching of the Church.