Vatican: Cardinals off-limits for interviews

posted at 5:41 pm on March 6, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

I’m on my way to the Vatican and hope to get interesting interviews that highlight the papal conclave proceedings and the issues facing the Catholic Church — but I didn’t expect to corral a cardinal for a sit-down.  Good thing, too, because the Vatican has now clamped a lid on access to cardinals, perhaps a reaction to interviews given by US cardinals over the last few days:

The College of Cardinals that will elect the next pope cut off formal communications with the news media on Wednesday after their private deliberations emerged in the Italian press, raising the specter of a leaking scandal that cast a pall over the last year in office of Pope Benedict XVI.

“Concern was expressed in the General Congregation about leaks of confidential proceedings reported in Italian newspapers,” said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, director of media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who has organized news conferences with American cardinals in recent days. “As a precaution, the cardinals have agreed not to do interviews.” …

The Vatican declined to specify who in the college expressed opposition to the news briefings, saying only that as the cardinals prepare for the conclave that will elect the next pontiff, “they realize the importance of keeping things among themselves,” said the Rev. Tom Rosica, a Vatican spokesman.

One interpretation is that some of the cardinals were concerned about the messaging from American cardinals about their approach to the conclave:

One Vatican official speaking on background said that Italian cardinals, some of whom stand to benefit most from a quick conclave, had expressed misgivings about the American news conferences, during which U.S. prelates articulated what they were looking for in a pope. They often described criteria that did not match the characteristics of cardinals in the curia. The American cardinals also repeatedly said they wanted more time to listen to their colleagues and get to know one another, a position that Vatican experts said diminished the chances and power of better-known Roman officials, many of them Italian, who would gain from a speedier process.

Another is that they’ve just had it with leaks from their opening meetings:

A report Wednesday by Italy’s most authoritative Vatican reporter, La Stampa’s Andrea Tornielli, disclosed details of the cardinals’ private deliberations, including the revelation that they had called for reforms of the Roman Curia, the bureaucracy that governs the Catholic Church, and had asked for more information about the leaking of papal correspondence, a scandal known as VatiLeaks that engulfed the Vatican last year. Tornielli also reported that embattled Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles had spoken, that cardinals called for better communications between the pope and the heads of the various church departments, and that some cardinals wanted to extend the preliminary talks into next week.

On the other hand, maybe they’re just tired of answering the same question over and over again:

On Tuesday, spokesman Federico Lombardi said it was not necessary for all of the 115 cardinal electors — cardinals below the age of 80 — to be present in Rome for the date to be set, though there seemed to be some confusion among cardinals as to whether they had to wait for three colleagues still missing to arrive.

“It’s not a question of rules. Even if all the cardinal electors were here in Rome I would still not want to go into the conclave now,” George said in an interview with La Stampa daily.

“We need the necessary information to be able to make the right choice. What went wrong, to create this break in trust within the government of the Holy See? It is a concern, and one we’ve not had a formal report about,” he added.

Like I said, I hadn’t even considered the possibility that cardinals would be available for interviews before the start of the conclave, so this won’t change my approach to coverage at all. Frankly, I thought I might end up arriving after the cardinals had already been sequestered in the Sistine Chapel, and this is more or less the same situation. Stay tuned.


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Have a safe trip, Ed.

Blake on March 6, 2013 at 5:45 PM

What no Tweets or Youtube videos from inside the conclave? Bum-MER dood.

JFKY on March 6, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Why would they be so fearful of an American Pope? Mahoney would be a bit of fresh air and could easily expand Catholicism around the world. Isn’t that the goal?

Tater Salad on March 6, 2013 at 5:50 PM

Why would they be so fearful of an American Pope?

Because American Catholics tend to be whiny @rsed-Witches, constantly trying to stay “relevant” that’s why…

JFKY on March 6, 2013 at 5:51 PM

ED,enjoy your trip,ahem,

watch out for Lightening!!:)

canopfor on March 6, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Vatican: Cardinals off-limits for interviews
============================================

Hmmmmmmm,……..

just like Hopey/Changey!!!!!!!

canopfor on March 6, 2013 at 5:56 PM

I sure hope to keep up with you, Raymond Arroyo, Colleen Carrol Cambell and the rest of the EWTN team. If anyone is interested there is an EWTN app free at the app store.Have a blessed trip.

fourdeucer on March 6, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Mahoney would be a bit of fresh air

Tater Salad on March 6, 2013 at 5:50 PM

You’re joking, right? Putting a disgraced criminal in the top seat?

Well, it would be a return to form for the Vatican, but I don’t think that’s their line of thinking.

mythicknight on March 6, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Why would they be so fearful of an American Pope?

Oh man, could you imagine the press covering an American Pope? Want to talk about War on Catholics and their true values (not talking Pelosi’s Catholic “values”)…

nextgen_repub on March 6, 2013 at 5:58 PM

27 comments or bust!

Bishop on March 6, 2013 at 6:02 PM

Tater Salad and JFKY trolls? I think so.

Anyway…

I know speculation on who the next Pope will be is pretty pointless, but I’m throwing down 20 on Cardinal Burke. He is the reason why an American Pope would be fearful, but in a good way. I think he would separate the wolves from the sheep.

Gatekeeper on March 6, 2013 at 6:03 PM

Wow, the press is so mad that someone is too busy to spend the proper time giving junkets and repetitive interviews.

Nethicus on March 6, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Are there any Conclave filibusters?

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on March 6, 2013 at 6:12 PM

I bet if you sent in a 12 year old boy to interview them, they would make time…

right2bright on March 6, 2013 at 6:12 PM

I thought cardinals were always inaccessible during the conclave, not even allowed to walk the short distance between their lodgings and the Sistine Chapel (they have to be bussed). Although I guess it isn’t conclave yet.

Waggoner on March 6, 2013 at 6:15 PM

What movie are you going to review?

Rusty Allen on March 6, 2013 at 6:15 PM

right2bright on March 6, 2013 at 6:12 PM

I pray that you may stop being stupid and hateful.

Gatekeeper on March 6, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Why would they be so fearful of an American Pope?

Because American Catholics tend to be whiny @rsed-Witches, constantly trying to stay “relevant” that’s why…

JFKY on March 6, 2013 at 5:51 PM

And you just know that would give the green light to all those liberal/progressive Catholics in the U.S. who can’t let a day go by without wondering very vocally why the Catholic Church won’t allow women priests, or approve abortion and all those other issues they tend to champion. They would pester an American-Cardinal-turned-Pope incessantly and ask why he could not fix it.

Tater Salad and JFKY trolls? I think so.

Gatekeeper on March 6, 2013 at 6:03 PM

No, they’re not. But maybe you are.

PatriotGal2257 on March 6, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Tater Salad and JFKY trolls? I think so.

You can sod yourself….I am serious, an American Pope? We are teh Shiniest congregants his Holiness owns.

JFKY on March 6, 2013 at 6:30 PM

You can sod yourself….I am serious, an American Pope? We are the Whiniest Shiniest congregants his Holiness owns.

JFKY on March 6, 2013 at 6:31 PM

As scary as it is, I think I’d like an African Pope, no PC, just non-Western Catholics are a majority of Catholics AND they, tend to, be more theologically Conservative.

JFKY on March 6, 2013 at 6:35 PM

All the best, Ed! Bring back some good Italian gelato :)

right2bright on March 6, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Stay classy.

JetBoy on March 6, 2013 at 6:38 PM

for some reason I thought there always was a communication blackout during conclave.

dmacleo on March 6, 2013 at 6:39 PM

for some reason I thought there always was a communication blackout during conclave.

dmacleo on March 6, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Apparently there have been DAILY news conferences by the US lot…not from the conclave, hasn’t started, but just them yammering on….

JFKY on March 6, 2013 at 6:44 PM

My hubby was telling me about a poll he saw just today — can’t remember what news outlet it was or I’d provide the link — which had some ridiculously high percentages of American “Catholics” who thought it was OK to have women priests, that the Church should relax its ban on contraception (yes, I know 98% of practicing Catholics ignore it — doesn’t mean they should), and approve condom use for AIDS patients, etc.

I’m sure the “Catholics” they polled are those who attend Mass once a decade or longer, who no longer actively practice their faith and in general have some very fuzzy and wrongheaded ideas about what the Faith is all about. I guarantee had they asked faithful, practicing Catholics, the numbers would be vastly different. But in any discussion of Catholicism, it should be kept in mind that there are those who say they are, maybe out of habit or because it’s some cultural ID that they think they need, and those people who actively practice the Faith and try their best to live it in their lives. Of course we all know who the MSM will seek out in these cases.

PatriotGal2257 on March 6, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Apparently there have been DAILY news conferences by the US lot…not from the conclave, hasn’t started, but just them yammering on….

JFKY on March 6, 2013 at 6:44 PM

makes sense, thanks :)

dmacleo on March 6, 2013 at 6:50 PM

I thought baseball season was over…..?

viking01 on March 6, 2013 at 7:04 PM

As scary as it is, I think I’d like an African Pope, no PC, just non-Western Catholics are a majority of Catholics AND they, tend to, be more theologically Conservative.

JFKY on March 6, 2013 at 6:35 PM

I’m sure you’ll like this video.

PatriotGal2257 on March 6, 2013 at 7:10 PM

The Italian Press is TMS like crazy…and I think it has more to with Kyboshing the Italian Press.

workingclass artist on March 6, 2013 at 7:25 PM

OOps…I meant TMZ

workingclass artist on March 6, 2013 at 7:25 PM

Frankly, I thought I might end up arriving after the cardinals had already been sequestered in the Sistine Chapel, and this is more or less the same situation. Stay tuned.

Oh my God! The sequester has been even more of a catastrophe than we thought!

Athanasius on March 6, 2013 at 7:36 PM

For those interested, you can go to http://www.adoptacardinal.org and adopt a cardinal to pray for by name during the conclave.

You do have to give your name and email and the cardinal you are given is chosen at random.

I got a Cardinal from Lithuania:)

Jvette on March 6, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Jvette on March 6, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Saw this the other day. I’ll have to stop over to sign up.

PatriotGal2257 on March 6, 2013 at 7:49 PM

“Concern was expressed in the General Congregation about leaks of confidential proceedings reported in Italian newspapers,”

This is a leadership problem within the “General Congregation.”

Stuff isn’t getting reported in the media without lack of discipline among the Princes of the Church or their immediate staff.

Happy Nomad on March 6, 2013 at 8:06 PM

JFKY on March 6, 2013 at 6:30 PM

SOD….Nice, real mature. Cardinal Burke. Check him out.

Besides, who cares what nationality the next Pope will be. It’s up to God.

Gatekeeper on March 6, 2013 at 9:22 PM