ROME — Cardinal Seán O’Malley said he trusts the cardinals taking part in the papal election will be informed on the necessary background information related to the Vatileaks scandal.
“The cardinals feel confident that we will get all the information that we need for our deliberation,” said Cardinal O’Malley at a March 5 news conference at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
“It does not necessarily mean that the report will be shared with us, but if anything remains that we need to know about, I’m sure they will inform us,” said the cardinal.
The archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, was also at the Tuesday afternoon briefing.
“In general, obviously, we want to know as much as we can regarding the governance of the Church,” said Cardinal DiNardo.
The Vatileaks scandal involved Benedict XVI’s former butler stealing and sending confidential papal correspondence to the Italian press, revealing some of the internal workings of the Vatican.
Cardinal DiNardo also touched on the topic of any possible influence by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on the conclave, saying, “He's not interested at all in dealing with this.”
“There would be theological influences, but, from the point of view of a political influence, and knowing him, that just won’t happen,” said Cardinal DiNardo.
“Benedict is a very shy and quiet person. And as he has moved into this life of prayer, so he will be off the stage,” he said.
Similar to Synod
Cardinal O’Malley went on to clarify that the meetings between the cardinals are "very similar to a synod of bishops.”
This means the cardinals are hearing more speeches and interacting less between each other, at least for the time being.
But the cardinals can get to know each other in their 30-minute coffee break midway through their conclave preliminary meetings taking place each morning this week.
“I think it’s at the coffee breaks that you can get individual conversations that go on,” said Cardinal DiNardo.
Cardinal DiNardo also said that although some news stories are unfair, they sometimes make him laugh.
But Cardinal O’Malley stated that many news stories are “very reflective” and have been helping him to “understand the importance of this moment in history.”
“All of us are in some ways amazed to see how much news has been generated by the Holy Father’s retirement,” he commented.
Cardinal O’Malley said that the conclave date is currently being discerned by the cardinals and has not yet been chosen.
“I think this is the most important decision we will ever make, and we need to give it the necessary time,” said Cardinal O’Malley.
“We need time for prayer, reflection and getting information, so we need to use the right time,” he remarked.
Cardinal DiNardo added that none of the cardinals want to rush on deciding the conclave date.
The cardinals will continue to hold morning general assemblies from 9:30am to around 12:30pm in the Vatican’s New Synod Hall.
The last five of the 115 cardinal electors are expected to arrive in Rome during the next two days.