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Future Pope Likely to Follow in Benedict XVI's Footsteps - Cardinal Pell

Last edited 4th March 2013

Future Pope Likely to Follow in Benedict XVI's Footsteps - Cardinal Pell

The Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell has described Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI as a "very kind and wonderful man."

In a television interview in Rome for EWTN, the Global Catholic Network His Eminence said the Pontiff, who stepped down as Pope on Thursday 28 February, was very much "the German gentleman ," "a gentle, faithful and prayerful priest," as well as a "brilliant teacher and scholar."

"I remember him very fondly and with gratitude," Cardinal Pell said and added that there had been a real moment of sadness during the final meeting between Benedict XVI and the Cardinals on the morning of his final day as Pontiff.

His Eminence believes one of the most important contributions made by the Pope Emeritus during his eight year Pontificate was liturgical.

"I hope we don't lose the momentum that we've gained towards the restoration of a proper sense of worship in the liturgy," he told the television channel.

Today Cardinal Pell will attend the First General Congregation of the College of Cardinals at the New Synod Hall in Rome when it is expected a date for the Conclave to elect the a new Pope will be decided.

Commentators have speculated the date for the Conclave will be 10 March to ensure there is a new Pope elected by Palm Sunday and the start of Holy Week on 24 March.

The date will be decided by the 115 Cardinals who will take part in the Conclave which is when the Cardinals will file into the Sistine Chapel and remain cut off from all communication with the outside world until a new Pope is elected.

From the moment the Cardinals enter the Sistine Chapel, the world's eyes will be fixed on a smokestack high above the voting chamber. Black smoke will billow out after each round of non conclusive voting until finally white plumes emerge when a pontiff has been chosen.

For Cardinal Pell, this will be the second conclave he has attended and in his interview with EWTN he recalled the 2005 conclave which elected Pope Benedict XVI.

"It is a very edifying time in the Sistine Chapel and what struck me forcibly was the manifest faith and devotion of other cardinals. I found that fortifying and consoling and I am sure it will be the same this time."

The Cardinal said when he enters the conclave he will be thanking God that he is not alone in making the decision about who will be the next Pontiff. Instead it will be the combined wisdom and enormous experience of 115 cardinals who will decide.

The new Pontiff will face many challenges to the Church including what the Cardinal described the often hostile agenda of the world of the press.

The Pope Emeritus had answered that challenge and answered it well, His Eminence said and believed that future Pontiffs were likely to follow in the footsteps of Pope Benedict XVI.

"I think his pontificate will be typical of pontificates of the future," he said.

"I felt for him as he had to decide whether it was time to go, whether it was beyond him," Cardinal Pell said and reflected on one of his most treasured and beautiful memories of the eight years of the Benedict XVI Pontificate.

This occurred during the vigil at Sydney's World Youth Day in July 2008 when 400,000 young people gathered early in the morning at Randwick Race Course for Mass and when the silence after communion was so perfect, he could hear the birds singing.

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
4 Mar 2013

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