Despite other representation, he had no chance of becoming pope in 2005

Francis: They wanted to use me to prevent Ratzinger

Bacelona/Madrid  - The current Pope Francis had already won a third of the voters in the 2005 election. He confirms this in a recently published interview. However, the intention was never to actually elect him, he reveals.

Published  on 31.03.2024 at 15:03  – 

Pope Francis has countered the claim that he already had a chance of becoming pope in 2005. "The manoeuvre was to put my name forward and block the election of [Cardinal Joseph] Ratzinger," Francis said in an interview book by the Vatican correspondent of the Spanish newspaper "ABC", Javier Martinez-Brocal. "They used me for this." After a stalemate, "the men behind the vote" then wanted to present a third, different candidate. And, according to the Argentinian: "They later told me that they didn't want a pope from abroad at all."

Francis confirmed that he already had 40 of the 115 electoral votes behind him in the early rounds of the conclave following the death of John Paul II in April 2005. However, the intention was never to actually elect him. According to the now 87-year-old, he would not have been able to achieve the required two-thirds in another vote. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he himself, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, had backed Ratzinger's candidacy and also renounced in favour of the German after the third ballot.

A "transitional pope" was needed

"He was the only one who could be pope at that time," said Francis. After the upheavals of John Paul II (1978-2005), who was enormously dynamic as Pope, very active, with initiative, who travelled, "a Pope was needed who would maintain a healthy balance, a transitional Pope", Bergoglio said in the interview. "If they had chosen someone like me back then - what would that have achieved? A lot of trouble; I couldn't have done anything." No change was possible back then. He, Bergoglio, left the conclave happy.

Before giving his account, Francis also explained to the interviewer that, as is well known, the cardinals are subject to the so-called papal secret during a papal election; this means that they are not allowed to reveal anything about the election process under penalty of excommunication. However, this does not apply to him as pope.

The strongly conservative "ABC" is Spain's fourth-largest daily newspaper. The interview was conducted in the Vatican in 2022. It is included in a newly published book by Martinez-Brocal, which consists of both verbatim and edited passages. (KNA)