Pope Francis will not reform the conclave: “It seems to be a secondary thing”

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Pope Francis speaks for the first time about his relationship with Pope Benedict XVI in the book “El Sucesor,” written with Vatican journalist Javier Martínez-Brocal, former director and collaborator of Rome Reports and current correspondent for the Spanish newspaper ABC.


Pope Francis explains that the relationship between the two popes was quite cordial and dismantles all the prejudices that present them as rivals. At the same time, it is evident that the tensions that existed between the two are brought to the surface.

Pope Francis had not spoken in depth about his relationship with his predecessor until now.


The Pope speaks very freely about all the topics that relate him to Benedict XVI. I was surprised that he did not put any limit on me when I asked him about Vatileaks, when I asked him about the conclaves, how they worked, when I asked him about the controversies of recent years. He speaks very freely because he told me: “I want my relationship with Benedict XVI to be understood, to be known without filters.” He told me: “Benedict XVI was a father to me. You cannot imagine how he helped me with this mission.” And I was surprised. I told him: “Holy Father, this is not known.”

During the meetings the author had with the Pope to write this book, delicate questions arose. Such as whether Pope Francis will reform the next conclave.

There won't be anything. All popes have reformed the conclave. All of them. I have not yet reformed it because it seems like a secondary thing to me.

In the book, Pope Francis talks about the role of Benedict XVI and how some sectors of the Church tried to manipulate him.

They did not understand Benedict's inner freedom. Many of the people who supported him wanted him to come down more and become more dramatic, more directive, that is, to leave his role as a great Pastor and enter into the game of politics. He never did.

Benedict XVI and Francis were seen together on several occasions and until now, the two had said very little publicly about their relationship. But some moments come to light—like in 2016, during a tribute to Benedict XVI for 65 years of priesthood, he said these words of gratitude for Pope Francis:

A special thanks to you, Holy Father! Your kindness, from the first moment of the election, in every moment of my life here, strikes me, is a source of real inspiration for me. More than in the Vatican Gardens, with their beauty, your goodness is the place where I dwell: I feel protected.

The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI opened the door to a new stage in the Church. And there may be more occasions of two popes in Rome, one emeritus and one in office. The relationship between Francis and Benedict has been widely followed and may set a strong precedent for the future.


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