Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $38,395 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on

2005 WikiLeaks cable: Ratzinger ‘lacks enough support’ to become Pope

Catholic World News - September 06, 2011

In the latest massive release of Wikileaks documents, one diplomatic cable from an American analyst demonstrates that the documents are not always based on accurate intelligence.

One day before Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pontiff, the US embassy at the Vatican downplayed the possibility of his election, according to an unclassified diplomatic cable recently publicized by WikiLeaks.

“Despite a week of media speculation suggesting that German Cardinal and close John Paul II collaborator Joseph Ratzinger was moving close to a majority of votes, it appears that he lacks enough support to achieve the required two-thirds, given strong opposition from factions that see Ratzinger as too rigid and jealous of Rome's prerogatives,” the cable stated.

“Some of these forces appear to be uniting around retired Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, as a standard-bearer for the initial votes that will test the strength of the differing groups, though he is not expected to be a viable candidate,” the cable continued. “Based on these initial showings, the cardinals in subsequent votes are expected to shift to other candidates who reflect the Ratzinger or Martini views, but who offer better hope of garnering support from other groups. Italian Cardinals Ruini or Scola, and Argentinian Cardinal Bergolio would be suitable to the Ratzinger camp, while Milan's Archbishop Cardinal Tettamanzi or Brazilian Cardinal Hummes could pull the support of the anti-Ratzinger groups.”

The cable also praised Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, then prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, as “a good friend of the United States,” saying:

At 74 years old, he is also just the right age. Castrillon Hoyos is a realist and a good friend of the United States, who has expressed strong support for U.S. efforts to combat terrorism. Combining firm and traditional theology with modern communication methods, he has used his position at the Congregation for Clergy to involve tens of thousands of priest worldwide in Internet videoconferences on themes ranging from bioethics to Church/State relations. Castrillon Hoyos may be the perfect candidate for those hoping for a Hispanic pope who knows his way around the Roman Curia.

“Predicting who will emerge from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica in the hour after the white smoke appears from the Sistine Chapel roof is impossible to predict, given the absence of a clear consensus candidate, the divergent regional priorities of the cardinal electors, and differing views on church leadership and pastoral style,” the cable cautioned.

Just hours later, Cardinal Ratzinger would appear on the balcony, having been elected promptly as the "clear consensus candidate."

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($125,773 to go):
$150,000.00 $24,226.70
84% 16%
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Sep. 06, 2011 11:16 PM ET USA

    Yes, it can be difficult to predict the actions of the Holy Spirit.

  • Posted by: voxfem - Sep. 06, 2011 8:41 PM ET USA

    Or maybe it is the work of the Holy Spirit who does not abide by political wisdom but is the Wisdom of God.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on

Recent Catholic Commentary

Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal 7 hours ago
Has the Vatican finally discovered how to avoid inaccurate English translations? 10 hours ago
The Synod: It's a Wrap! October 21
A chaotic synod? Not in its results October 21
Cardinal Kasper's unsubtle threat October 21

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6