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Argentine cardinal refuses to discuss conclave support October 13, 2005

The Argentine cardinal who was reportedly the main challenger to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the April papal election does not want to comment on leaked reports from the conclave.

"I am still confused and a bit hurt" by the published reports about the papal election, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio told the Italian daily L'Indipendente. "I don't want to talk about these indiscretions."

Noting that cardinals take an oath of secrecy about the proceedings of the conclave, he declined to speak about the report, published in the Italian journal Limes, in which an anonymous prelate broke that oath. The Limes report indicated that Cardinal Bergoglio had won 40 votes in the conclave, with Cardinal Ratzinger capturing a winning total of 84.

Cardinal Bergoglio, who is in Rome for the Synod of Bishops, added that public speculation about the cardinals' voting pattern creates a misleading impression. "It is not we, the cardinals, but divine providence that guides the choice of the successor to Peter," he said.

"Recounting anecdotes or facts about the conclave leads to the belief that it is the men who are deciding. But that is not the case," the Argentine cardinal said. "I can only say that I recall a climate of intense recollection-- almost mystical-- that was present at those sessions. We were all conscious of being nothing but instruments, to serve divine providence in electing a proper successor for John Paul II. That is what happened."

Cardinal Bergoglio expressed his confidence that the conclave had made the right selection. "Benedict XVI shows every day that he has exceptional qualities," he said.

Questioned about reports that he might receive a post in the Roman Curia, the Jesuit cardinal said that he would be extremely reluctant to leave his current assignment as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. "In the Curia, I would die," he said. "My life is in Buenos Aires. Without the people of my diocese, without their problems, I feeling something lacking every day."

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