VATICAN CITY—It took Jorge Mario Bergoglio four minutes to convince fellow cardinals he was their leader.More at the link.
Speaking in the Paul VI grand hall of the Vatican, the Argentine cardinal warned the Catholic Church against focusing too much on matters close to home—advice that came against the backdrop of a papacy that had been consumed by infighting among Vatican officials, a dwindling flock in Europe and secular trends in the West.
The 76-year-old Father Jorge, as he is known back home, said Roman Catholicism needed to shift its focus outward, to the world beyond Rome—rather than being "self-referential," he said. Its core mission was humility, dignity and justice. It should help the poor.
It was a week before the secret conclave to elect the new pontiff would begin. But the speech sowed the seeds of one of Catholicism's boldest moves—the election of a pope from the New World, a man likely to steer the church's focus toward social justice and the problems of the world's periphery, rather than on the intrigue and controversy of its central administration.
This account, based on interviews with four cardinals, lifts the curtain on the dynamic that led the church's highest officials to shun the European basin from which Catholicism has drawn most of its leaders. Just before his speech, at a dinner of English-speaking cardinals, the future pope's name had come up over a meal of soup and wine but hadn't generated a buzz. "The speech was decisive," said one voting European cardinal...
The New York Times also reported on this yesterday, "Snub of Reformers' Choice Seen Before Pope's Anointing."