'Papal conclave a spiritual process'
MANILA - The cardinals moved into the Vatican on Tuesday to vote for the next leader of around 1.2 billion Catholics after the resignation of Benedict XVI.
Fr. Jose Quilongquiliong, rector of the Loyola House of Studies in Ateneo de Manila University and a close friend of Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, described the conclave as a spiritual process.
“It is done in prayer, it is not about political campaign, it is not about influence. In fact, sa loob ng Sistine Chapel, bawat cardinal pagkasulat ng pangalan, pupunta sa harap ng altar at sasabihin niya sa harap, ‘I call as my witness Christ the Lord, who will be my judge, that my vote is given to the one who before God I think should be elected,” he told dzMM on Tuesday.
The cardinal electors will live inside the Vatican completely cut off from the outside world until they have made their choice.
Quilongquiliong said even the “assistants” in the Vatican had to take an oath of secrecy.
“Kahapon was the special oath taking of the assistants, mga cooks, mga waiters, mga taga-bukas ng elevator, around 90 of them. Silang lahat ay kailangan din mag oath of secrecy na kung ano ang marinig nila ay hindi pwedeng pag-usapan...,” he said.
Three candidates have emerged as favorites in the conclave, all of whom are conservatives cast in the same mold as "pope emeritus" Benedict XVI.
They are Italy's Angelo Scola, Brazil's Odilo Scherer and Canada's Marc Ouellet,
But the rumor mill in the Vatican has thrown up more names, including cardinals from Austria, Hungary, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa and the United States.
Mexican Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera said there was no agreement yet among the cardinal electors on what type of candidate they wanted.
"Some imagine him to be more academic, able to establish a dialogue with culture. Others ask for someone who is close to the people. Others still want someone with more authority to put some Church problems in order," he said.
Carrera said there is "no majority" so far.
Quilongquiliong, meanwhile, said Benedict XVI, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was the one who recruited Tagle into the International Theological Commission.
He said Tagle’s dissertation, titled “Episcopal Collegiality and Vatican II: The Influence of Paul VI,” got the attention of Ratzinger.
Tagle became just the second Filipino to join the elite group of theologians. -- With a report from Agence France-Presse