Cardinals Gather for Pope Pick

By Gerry Shields
New York Post
March 4, 2013

Cardinals from around the world have gathered in Rome to elect a new pope from among their ranks — but don’t expect them to campaign for themselves, Timothy Cardinal Dolan said yesterday from the Vatican.

“This isn’t the New Hampshire primary. Nobody will campaign,” Dolan told CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We’re just getting to know each other better.”

The College of Cardinals, with 115 voting-age members, will meet for four hours a day for about a week before starting the official conclave to select the pope, said Dolan, president of the US Conference of Bishops.

Christian religious persecution, traditional marriage and Catholics moving away from the church will be key issues to be addressed during the meetings, Dolan said.

And sex abuse in the church will not be ignored, he added, saying, “There is no cardinal with his head in the sand when it comes to this issue.”

“We have to take it with the utmost seriousness,” he said. “And we have to have a sense of contrition, realism about confronting that.

Marriage for priests and the ordination of women priests will not likely be addressed, Dolan said.

“We’re electing the successor of Peter whose job description says he is to preserve the integrity and patrimony of the faith,” Dolan said. “If you’re talking about radical changes, that is not the job description of the pope.”

The first pre-conclave meeting is scheduled for this morning, headed by Angelo Cardinal Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals. He has said the date for the conclave won’t be set until all cardinals are in Rome, meaning a definitive date might not come today.

Meanwhile, Britain’s top Catholic cleric, Keith Cardinal O’Brien, said yesterday that his “sexual conduct” fell “below the standards of the church.” He issued an apology and said he will play no further role in the church, The Daily Mail of London reported.

O’Brien was responding to allegations that he engaged in “inappropriate” behavior. He resigned a day after the allegations were made public a week ago.After initially contesting the claims, O’Brien yesterday issued a statement saying, “I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal.”



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