The intrepid Andrea Tornielli on his Vatican Insider of the Italian daily La Stampa has a story about a “diary” kept during the 2005 conclave which elected Benedict XVI.
If there really is a diary, then the conclavist, if he gave this diary to someone, violated the Pontifical Secret imposed on participants.
In any event, here is a taste of the piece, which is available in English.
The unpublished narrative of Conclave 2005
Sunday, 17 April. This afternoon I took a room at Casa Santa Marta. Setting down my bags, I tried to open the shades, as the room was dark, but it was impossible. One of my brothers had the same problem, and asked for help from the sisters in charge. He thought it was a technical problem. The sisters explained that the blinds had been sealed shut. Seclusion of the Conclave….A new experience for nearly all of us: out of 115 cardinals, only two had previously participated in the election of a pope….
With these words begin the “secret diary” of the conclave that led to the election of Benedict XVI on 19 April 2005 – the confidential, hand-written notes of an anonymous cardinal upon returning to his room after voting in the Sistine Chapel. This remarkable document, published in the journal Limes, allows a step-by-step reconstruction of the balloting process, raising the veil of secrecy that, by the will of the Popes, has always covered the conclave. From the cardinal’s notes obtained by the journal, we learn first of all that Ratzinger’s candidacy was extremely strong from the beginning.
You can read the rest over there.
Among other things, it contradicts another report that the liberal-leader, retired Card. Martini had played a strong role in brokering a quick election, a story I heard soon after the election.
A couple things. I am not familiar with the journal Limes, but a search for the journal turned up”LIMES. Borderland Studies”, which figures, since Latin limes was the frontier between the Roman-controlled territory and the Germanic tribes.
Journal description: Research journal “Limes” publishes original peer reviewed papers concerning such fields of the humanities and social sciences as philosophy, science, history and sociology. Also, the journal unites three educational establishments representing three countries: Vilnius Gediminas Technical (Lithuania), University of Bialystok (Poland), Yanka Kupala State University of Grodno (Belarus) and Culture, Philosophy and Arts Research Institute
The languages mentioned in the description might point roughly to the region of the writer of the diary.
An aside about limes, the boundary between the Romans and the northern barbarians. The limes was roughly the Rhine and Danube. You can visit quite a fee archeological sites and museums about the limes if you are traveling by car in Europe. It is worth the effort. On of them, if memory serves, is at Xanten, where St. Norbert was from and where there is a partial reconstruction of a legion’s castra. In any event, the limes marked a real border of enduring cultural differentiation. For example, on one side, the peoples still tend to cook more with butter or olive oil and on the other lard. One side used wine and the other beer. One side remained Catholic while the other went Protestant. Some of these differences depend also on climate, but the ancient Roman limes marks a rough cultural boundary even to this day.
And that, friends, is perhaps more interesting than the story of a diary which may or may not be the real deal.
Back to the issue of the Pontifical Secret imposed on participants in a conclave.
In John Paul II’s Universae dominici gregis, which legislated the guidelines for a papal conclave and election, we find:
58. Those who, in accordance with the prescriptions of No. 46 of the present Constitution, carry out any functions associated with the election, and who directly or indirectly could in any way violate secrecy — whether by words or writing, by signs or in any other way — are absolutely obliged to avoid this, lest they incur the penalty of excommunication latae sententiae reserved to the Apostolic See.
59. In particular, the Cardinal electors are forbidden to reveal to any other person, directly or indirectly, information about the voting and about matters discussed or decided concerning the election of the Pope in the meetings of Cardinals, both before and during the time of the election. This obligation of secrecy also applies to the Cardinals who are not electors but who take part in the General Congregations in accordance with No. 7 of the present Constitution.
60. I further order the Cardinal electors, graviter onerata ipsorum conscientia, to maintain secrecy concerning these matters also after the election of the new Pope has taken place, and I remind them that it is not licit to break the secret in any way unless a special and explicit permission has been granted by the Pope himself.
61. Finally, in order that the Cardinal electors may be protected from the indiscretion of others and from possible threats to their independence of judgment and freedom of decision, I absolutely forbid the introduction into the place of the election, under whatsoever pretext, or the use, should they have been introduced, of technical instruments of any kind for the recording, reproducing or transmitting of sound, visual images or writing.
It may be that a Cardinal who has died since the conclave leftr behind a diary someone found. Who knows.
In the meantime, do pray for the Pope we have now!