Perpetual is as Perpetual does

by Kieran Healy on April 21, 2005

From a WP story “about the conclave”:

bq. Although the cardinals swore an oath of perpetual secrecy about what occurred in the conclave, many began to talk about it on Wednesday.

I know it’s impossible to properly conceive of eternity within the finitute of the human mind, but you’d think the Cardinals might have done better than “about 24 hours after the Conclave.” Still, the article is worth a read for its glimpse of the politics of the Church at its highest levels.



riffle 04.21.05 at 9:12 pm

I was taken by another quote from that Washington Post piece:
“Following centuries-old procedures revised by John Paul in 1996, each voted by writing the name of his preferred candidate on a folded piece of paper, then held it up to show the entire assembly that it was a single ballot before depositing it into a urn.”

I’m not sure I’d trust a cardinal since they don’t even trust each other, even during an event they apparently feel is so incredibly holy.



nick 04.21.05 at 9:23 pm

Heck, they can go to confession and get off with ten Hail Marys and a Glory Be. Actually, I think the cardinals have kept to the letter and most of the spirit of the oath, and there’s a fair amount of (well-informed) reading between the lines from the press reporters.

And in keeping with the earlier thread, bending the rules? Tch, that’s Catholicism in the real world.


Barry Freed 04.22.05 at 12:46 am

Yeah, the voting procedure is pretty fascinating. But they left out the part where the Cardinal who casts the decisive vote has to cry out “Bingo!”

Actually Security maven and Crypto-Guru Bruce Schneier had a very interesting analysis of the voting procedure from a security standpoint:


Maria 04.22.05 at 1:26 am

I thought it was quite show-bizzy that Ratzinger’s peers elected him in part because he gives good funeral.


Delicious pundit 04.22.05 at 1:56 am

But the R.C. brand Church stands for quality showbizz. Consider the morality plays. Or the shameless reworkings of pop tunes of the day like “L’Homme Arme.”

And when I married a Protestant and went to my first Methodist church service, I was stunned to find out they had no second act. It was all exposition.


tlr 04.22.05 at 5:53 am

Well, in some places, people are now hoping that unpopular archbishop-cardinals may get excommunicated for breaking their oath of silence.


Uncle Kvetch 04.22.05 at 8:54 am

I know it’s impossible to properly conceive of eternity within the finitute of the human mind

This will come as news to George Bush’s economic advisors.


tad brennan 04.22.05 at 8:57 am

I think it’s pretty clear which Cardinal talked–the really short squeeky one in the ill-fitting Francis Arinze costume:

Giblets sneers at your oaths of perpetual secrecy! Stupid oaths! Perpetuity cannot outlast Giblets!


nofundy 04.22.05 at 11:33 am

Someone expected the Cardinals to actually tell the truth about keeping a secret?? They don’t know the church very well, do they?


Bernie Nicholls 04.22.05 at 9:15 pm

If you’re going to be irreverent and ridicule church officials, at least make sure your jokes are funny. All of the above are bombs.


lakelobos 04.23.05 at 5:58 am

Politics in the Vatican? “I’m shocked.”

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