April 18, 2005

Ratzinger is frontrunner as cardinals start election of pope

Stephen Bates and John Hooper in Rome
Monday April 18, 2005
The Guardian

Weeks of feverish speculation and intrigue in Rome will enter their final phase tomorrow when 115 cardinals begin to elect a new pope in the most exclusive and secret ballot in the world.
With no obvious successor, the bookmaker William Hill yesterday put Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Bavarian-born enforcer of doctrinal orthodoxy under the old pope, known as God's rottweiler, in front at 7-2.

During the nine days since John Paul II's funeral, the cardinals have been meeting formally and informally to discuss the sort of candidate they would like as the next pontiff. Later today, they will enter the Sistine Chapel to begin their formal deliberations.

Yesterday, in an indication of the febrile atmosphere surrounding the election, a spokesman for one candidate, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina, denounced claims by a lawyer in Buenos Aires that he had been involved in a plot to kidnap two Jesuit priests during the country's military dictatorship in the 1970s. "This is old slander. This is the week of slander," the spokesman told Associated Press. ...

Cardinal Ratzinger has been ordered to appear in a court in Texas over a sex abuse scandal. He was named in a suit brought on behalf of three men now in their 20s who claim they were sexually abused as children. The cardinal is accused of obstruction of justice in relation to a Vatican document that emerged in 2003 instructing Catholic bishops to deal with cases of sexual abuse "in the most secretive way".

Posted by kshaw at April 18, 2005 11:42 AM