Fr. Lombardi, who attends the General Congregations of the Cardinals:


The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals has decided that the Conclave will begin on Tuesday, 12 March 2013. A Pro eligendo Romano Pontifice? Mass will be celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning. In the afternoon the cardinals will enter into the Conclave.

In the traditional Roman calendar, it will be the Feast of St. Gregory the Great (+604). Let us pray for a liturgically engaged Pope, in continuity with the vision of Benedict XVI.

BTW… the Cardinal who will preach to the Cardinal Electors in the Sistine Chapel before the closing of the doors will be His Eminence Prosper Card. Grech, OSA. He was one of my profs, and is still an active prof, at my school, the Augustinianum. Card. Grech (pronounced “grek”) is from Malta. He is over 80 and is not an Elector.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Legisperitus says:

    The traditional feast day of St. Gregory the Great, as it happens. Not sure how many of the Cardinals that might have occurred to.

  2. Lucas says:

    Here we go….

    Prayers for the Cardinals!

  3. Laura98 says:

    Prayers for an Orthodox Pope! Prayers for the Holy Spirit to lead the Cardinals. And of course continued prayers for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

  4. dep says:

    Prayers for them indeed.

    I have been much taken with Sandro Magister’s piece on the likelihoods; he says Dolan has a good chance at it; I’d prefer Burke, but either of the St. Louis Cardinals is fine with me, for they are both good and holy men.

    If anyone is interested, here in English is the Magister piece. (I don’t think the Magisterium was named after him . . .)

  5. Hidden One says:

    In this time of prayer as we anticipate the election of a Pope expected to carry out a great reform, I am reminded of certain words of Pope Benedict’s which I believe the College should take into account as though they were the express of advice of the Pope Emeritus concerning how they should vote in the conclave:

    “The Church stands and falls with the Liturgy. When the adoration of the divine Trinity declines, when the faith no longer appears in its fullness on the Liturgy of the Church, when man’s words, his thoughts, his intentions are suffocating him, then faith will have lost the place where it is expressed and where it dwells. For that reason, the true celebration of the Sacred Liturgy is the centre of any renewal of the Church whatever.” – Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Preface to “Die Heilige Liturgie”, ed. Franz Breid, 1997.

    If the next Pope lives this, the success of the forthcoming reforms is assured. If he ignores its substance, any real reforms will succeed in spite of the Roman Pontiff, a sorry state of affairs indeed.


    [I agree. Nothing else will succeed if we do not revitalize our liturgical worship. By the virtue of religion, we owe God worship. God is at the hierarchy of our relationships and loves. If we don’t have that in order, as individuals and as a parish or community, or as a Church, our other efforts of “New Evangelization” (or anything else) are compromised.]

  6. Charles E Flynn says:

    The Next Pope Should Be Catholic, by Timothy George, at First Things.

  7. Dennis Martin says:

    Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith as Gregory XVII would do quite well, thank you! (Even if elected on the 2nd or 3rd day of the conclave rather than on Pope St. Gregory’s feast day.

  8. Pingback: Conclave to Start on March 12 | Big Pulpit

  9. They’re getting dangerously close to the Ides of March. What with the lightning and comets and all …

    If a non-cardinal is elected, do they wait till he arrives in Rome to announce the election?

  10. Pingback: Conclave to Start on March 12 | CATHOLIC FEAST

  11. Random Friar says:

    We have already celebrated a Pro eligendo Romano Pontifice Mass (on the day the Church asked us to pray for the conclave) — we didn’t know if we could fit it elsewhere. We are sure to pray for the cardinals in conclave (sometimes more than once, as Prayers of the Faithful are wont to do).

    For this you were chosen, men of the College of Cardinals! Our prayers are with you.

  12. Dennis Martin, I totally agree with you…, let us pray for another Liturgically centered Pope

  13. Catholictothecore says:

    There are quite a few Cardinals in the running in this conclave. Two-thirds majority, 77 votes, as opposed to a 50% majority, 58 votes, just might make this conclave a bit more interesting and drawn out than the one in 2005. It’s not going to be a slam-dunk for any one candidate. Prayers for the Cardinals that they may perceive the will of the Father. Amen.

  14. Jason Keener says:


    I would also prefer Cardinal Burke to Cardinal Dolan. I have great esteem for Cardinal Dolan for many reasons; however, I never received the impression that Cardinal Dolan is especially interested in the Extraordinary Form, Gregorian Chant, or the Reform of the Novus Ordo, etc. At this point in history, the Church must, I think, continue to build on the liturgical renewal that Benedict XVI has put in place, for everything in the Church’s life flows to and from the Sacred Liturgy. Cardinal Burke would seem to be the best man for the office of Supreme Pontiff, as he has already demonstrated a keen interest in the Sacred Liturgy and its proper celebration in both its Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms. I also greatly admire Cardinal Burke because he has a beautiful humble piety but also a great tenacity when it comes to defending the authentic Catholic Faith. In all things, may God’s will be done.

  15. McCall1981 says:

    Does the whole conclave process make anyone else feel super anxious, like it does for me? Maybe it’s because it’s my first conclave in the Church, but I wish I could feel more serene about it. It’s such a dramatic process!

  16. robtbrown says:

    Catholictothecore says:

    There are quite a few Cardinals in the running in this conclave. Two-thirds majority, 77 votes, as opposed to a 50% majority, 58 votes, just might make this conclave a bit more interesting and drawn out than the one in 2005

    BXVI was elected by 2/3 majority. The drop to 50% majority would only have taken place after some days.

  17. everett says:


    While that’s true, if a particular Cardinal has over 50%, it becomes pretty obvious that he’ll end up being elected, so might as well just vote for him now, unless you think that lots of the ones currently voting for that Cardinal are going to stop voting for him.

  18. lydia says:

    McCall 1981 I’m more than anxious, I’m sick to my stomach. Are there 77 Cardinals that would vote for a Pope who would turn the ship around and enforce the real intentions of Vatican II, clean up the curia, and get rid of the dissident clergy. Call me cynical.

  19. Lydia, the Holy Spirit only has one vote, but it trumps them all. Pray to Him for a holy and heroic Pope.

  20. McCall1981 says:

    lydia –
    I’m sorry you’re feeling sick to your stomach, but at least we can commiserate since I am too :)
    I want to be calm and steady in situations like this, but unfortunately I usually find that while I have a lot of faith in God, I don’t seem to have much trust in His plan. It’s a hard spiritual lesson to learn for me.

  21. Dennis Martin says:

    For Lydia,

    These cardinals were all appointed by either John Paul or Benedict. Admittedly some the appointments from the first half of John Paul’s pontificate might be reason for SOME anxiety, but the Holy Spirit has already had a say in this process by granting a total of 35 years as Vicar of Christ to two men who were fully formed and mature before Vatican II. It did not have to be this way. But this is the way it has been. Thank God for this grace.

    As for “turning the ship around,” although I know that many who read this blog are impatient and believe that John Paul did not do enough, as a historian, it seems utterly clear to me that the turning point was 1985 and the Ratzinger report. We all know (or should know) that the process of turning the Bark of Peter around after 20 years of detour cannot not be lengthy, but we are 30 years into the turning. It was almost imperceptible at first. By the end of John Paul’s reign, it was clear, so much so that all of us on this blog (it was to me, at least) that John Paul and Cardinal Ratzinger had concluded that, if the bishops repeatedly refused to be generous with permission for the old rite, they would have to be bypassed. Sure, we had to wait longer than we wanted to for it, but what’s two years sup specie aeternitatis?

    What’s 20 years sup specie aeternitatis? It was clear by the late ’80s or early ’90s that John Paul was bypassing the Boomer/Vat II generation of dyed-in-the-w0ol pseudo-Protestant clergy and bishops and settling on a long-term strategy of winning over the coming generation of priests. Many of today’s bishops were among those young priests. People denounced John Paul for not moving faster, but he wanted solidity.

    And that’s what should help ease your anxiety now, Lydia. Most, not all, of the electors and all the leading “candidates” as well as the majority of the younger generation of clergy and many of fully committed (as distinct from legacy/cultural “Catholic-lites”) laity are eager for the turnaround.

    It does take time. This conclave is yet another step in what was started by a certain humble Bavarian in 1985. I see the Holy Spirit active in all of that. Whoever is elected, even if not my first preference (Ranjith, Ranjith, Ranjity) will come from a generation of leaders prepared by the doctrinal-cultural platform established by the tag team of Ratzinger-Wojtyla. (The significance of Ratzinger’s role as Prefect of CDF cannot be overstated.)

    They built for the long-haul, not the short-haul. They saw the persecution coming 40 years ago–Ratzinger saw it clearly when he surveyed the ruins of 1968. They knew the Catholic-lites who were only along for the ride could not form the solid base needed to edure what was coming.

    They developed a full-orbed restatement of the ancient faith that responds to every single challenge thrown at the Church by Modernity for the past 200 years, and responds evangelically, by “throwing Christ at the world,” rather than seeking some pallid neutral philosophical common ground.

    So relax, Lydia. We are in good Hands.

  22. Dennis Martin says:

    Uhh, that would be sub specie aeternitatis. And “pseudo-Catholic Protestantized” rather than pseudo-Protstant.

    Preview is my friend, if I’d have the patience to use it.

  23. McCall1981 says:

    Dennis Martin-
    Thanks for that post!

  24. acardnal says:

    Cdl. O’Brien from Scotland, who just admitted to sexual impropriety, was appointed a Cardinal by Pope JP II. I think some of JP II’s appointments to episcopal Sees were not well “staffed-out” as we used to say in government. In other words, JPII was not always well served by those working for him.

  25. Dennis Martin says:

    Dear acardnal. Please read what I wrote. O’Brien was made an archbishop in 1985, 7 years into John Paul II’s reign. I readily noted that early appointments by Blessed John Paul had a lot of problems and there were some unfortunate choices even later during his pontificate.

    O’Brien became a cardinal only in 2003. Others can speak better to the circumstances of that elevation, but elevation to the red hat often is circumscribed by geographic/prominence of metropolitan sees within a region of the Church and other factors.

    OVERALL John Paul’s appointments, together with Benedict’s, have been part of turning the ship around. Can you not admit that? Must you always cavil? I wrote the part about the early years of John Paul’s pontificate with you in mind, knowing that yes, you must always find fault.

    We are all in this together. We either believe that Jesus Christ will not permit the gates of hell to prevail against his Ecclesia or we don’t believe it. If we don’t believe it we have abandoned the Catholic faith as far as ecclesiology is concerned. And this ecclesiological point is the fundamental sticking point between Protestants and Catholics.

    If indeed we do believe that God will not permit the gates of hell to prevail, then we should learn to control our whining about the horrors that Hell throws at us. Yes, a lot of very Bad Stuff was done over the past 50 years. A lot of Very Very Bad Stuff was done in the era of church history I am most familiar with, the 1400s and 1500s. A lot of Very Bad Stuff will happen in the coming decades. None of that, including none of the errors that the last two popes or the next ten popes will make demonstrate that a turnaround is not taking place.

    Do I wish that the sorry mess of the 1960s and 1970s had never occurred? Yes. Is it my obligation as a Catholic to put the best construction I can even on sorry messes, whether in the Church or in my personal life? Yes. Do I have an obligation always to be on the look-out for the Forest rather than blinding myself with Trees? Yes.

    A turnaround is taking place after the Vatican II era which was not unremittingly bad but had a lot of criticize. We can have another turn for the worse but since 1985, because of the leadership of Blessed John Paul and Joseph Ratzinger and Benedict XVI and because of the sacrifical witness of countless of other clergy and laity and religious, a turnaround has been underway.

    So, out of Christian charity, can we not, just once, stifle the urge to cavil at a positive construction on the signs of the times and an expression of faith and hope in the Hands in which we are held?

  26. Bill Foley says:

    Dennis Martin,

    You are right; Cardinal Ranjith would be a wonderful choice.

    Miss Moore,

    You are right; the Holy Spirit is in charge. When he did not get Cardinal Wojtla the first time, he acted quickly and got him the second time.

    My top priority for the next pope is to clean up the priesthood by strongly enforcing the current discipline of not ordaining men with same-sex-attraction disorder.

  27. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I’m not worried, per se; studying history makes you blase…

    OTOH, last time we had white smoke was the first time I had nonovirus. Let’s just say that my day was equally divided between the higher things and the run to the bathroom! So there’s worse things than feeling nervous. :)

  28. acardnal says:

    I have no problem with Pope Benedict’s episcopal appointments but some of JPII’s were/are problematic and that is attributable to the poor advice he received from the Curia on the candidates.

  29. boxerpaws1952 says:

    Cardinal Dolan has requested novena to St Joseph from Mar 11 to Mar 19th the feast day.Special intentions for the conclave. Been following everything very closely.From EWTN to the Facebook of His excellency Georg Gänswein page. He’s been posting some wonderful photos of His Holiness and prayers to the Holy Spirit. AND Fr Z’s blog of course.

    He would be a breathe of fresh air mixed with fire for the Church and anyone this close to His Holiness Benedict the XVI and Blessed John Paul II must be special for a reason. I can only pray for a miracle that they look outside the candidates at hand and consider Archbishop Georg Ganswein.
    Regardless,much prayers for this conclave,His Holiness and Fr Z to win the blog competition! Be sure to check out Archbishops Ganswein’s Friends of Georg facebook page. He really does have some terrific photos i have not seen anywhere else.

  30. Giuseppe says:

    I do not think that the cardinals believe that returning the liturgy to its Latin, pre-Vatican 2 roots is the highest priority in choosing a new pope. I do agree that Cardinals Ranjith and Burke have a similar chance of being elected pope: close to zero. Cardinal Ranjith’s comment about SSPX running his seminaries is enough to garner him zero votes. (I trust he would not vote for himself.) And Cardinal Burke is too humble to vote for himself.

    To quote Rev. Thomas Reese, the conclave is looking for Jesus Christ with an MBA. He does not exist. So they are hoping for a Jesus Christ who will appoint an MBA-ish deputy. Liturgy will not be the highest priority. So who will be chosen? My dark horse bet: Sean Cardinal O’Malley of Boston. And the only Latin he knows is Latino (a.k.a. Spanish).

  31. boxerpaws1952 says:

    There really are some wonderful photos you may not see anywhere else! Enjoy. and prayers for the conclave though not all of them are in English.
    i wanted to clarify too that i did not mean Fr Z’s blog winning would take a miracle. I only mean His Excellency being chosen by the Holy Spirit would take one(and many prayers). Hoping Fr Z’s blog has won;but i did not mean that would take a miracle. The best place for information re conclave is EWTN, His excellency’s FB page and Fr Z’s blog. Anything outside of these sources is probably not worth the effort ie the secular media. They will get crazier the closer the day gets. EWTN had a terrific program tonight called How A Pope Is Elected. It was a historical look at the election of Popes. They also had some Bishops Emeritus who because of their own experiences with aging were very understanding of His Holiness decision. Pope Emeritus Benedict is now one year OLDER than Blessed John Paul II was when he passed away. Gives some perspective.

  32. Micah Murphy says:

    My bet, though admittedly a long-shot: Burke. I see all the chatter about Dolan and how well the Americans handled the press, but I figure the conclave will never elect Dolan because he’s too comical a figure for them. Given what Cardinal O’Malley did (I think rightfully) to his mansion, I think the institutionalist cardinals, who think highly of the Church’s grandeur, will resist him, fearing something like the end of The Shoes of the Fisherman. If they do want an American – and that’s the unlikely part – I think Burke will be the formidable champion in a compromise.

  33. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    For those with anxiety over this it may be helpful to keep two things in mind

    – What God doesn’t will, he permits.

    – If the Cardinals aren’t listening, and choose a man not willed or permitted by God, God can take him out and they will be right back in Rome.

    So, if a choice is made that I don’t like, I can put it in God’s hands. Concerns we might have about this or that could be overcome with God’s grace through our prayers. Next comes trust in God. Either he allows a man to continue, and if that man is not going to take the Church in the direction he desires, he can take care of it quite easily.

  34. robtbrown says:

    everett says:

    While that’s true, if a particular Cardinal has over 50%, it becomes pretty obvious that he’ll end up being elected, so might as well just vote for him now, unless you think that lots of the ones currently voting for that Cardinal are going to stop voting for him.

    IMHO, 50% is a bit low to assume a winner. It seems that sometimes candidates top out about there, then start losing votes.

  35. everett says:

    Under a 2/3 system, yes, but if everyone knows that it’s going to turn into a 51% vote, then they could just hold on until then and its over. I’m glad Benedict restored the full 2/3.

  36. catholicmidwest says:

    Diane, you said, “- If the Cardinals aren’t listening, and choose a man not willed or permitted by God, God can take him out and they will be right back in Rome.”

    You’re right, Diane. Perhaps the sort of thing has happened a few times in the history of the Church, without getting too specific. The cardinals had better listen closely. :o

  37. McCall1981 says:

    For what its worth, yesterday Tornielli and La Stampa said that Card Scola has ‘moved to the forefront’ and is a/the favorite. Apparently the Americans are supporting him.

  38. Dr. Eric says:

    For those of you who say that the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life, chooses the Pope. I hope you aren’t blaming Him for Stephen VI, Julius II, Alexander VI, or Benedict IX.

    On whether or not the Holy Ghost picks the pope directly, Cardinal Ratzinger said, back in 1997, “I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. . . . I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined… There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!”

  39. Stumbler but trying says:

    “Legisperitus says:
    8 March 2013 at 11:00 am
    The traditional feast day of St. Gregory the Great, as it happens. Not sure how many of the Cardinals that might have occurred to.”

    Not only the feast day of St. Gregory the Great but also, please note, in 1622 on March 12, the canonization of St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Theresa of Avila and St. Philip Neri took place. I would say the dear cardinals are in very good company as these giants of our beloved Church accompany them and intercede for them before the throne of almighty God.
    May the next Holy Father to be elected have a zeal for our Lord Jesus Christ and for the faith as these giants of the Church did during their lifetime.
    Onward then with our hopes and our prayers!

  40. Giuseppe says:

    Another Cardinal Dolan article, this time from the New York Times. I still think Cardinal O’Malley is the most likely American to receive votes, but we’ll see.

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