Cardinal denies zucchetto thrown into papal succession ring

May 12, 2008

Book of interviews with Cardinal Rodriguez MaradiagaCardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga has denied throwing his red zucchetto (clerical skullcap) into the ring as a possible candidate to become the next pope. As we’ve already blogged here and here, the publication of a French book of interviews with the archbishop of Tegucigalpa last month has been interpreted by some Vatican watchers as subtle self-promotion — una autocandidatura, as they say in Rome. This was bolstered by unfounded speculation about Pope Benedict’s health, which seems quite good for a man of his age (81).

Now, in an interview with the Milan daily Il Giornale, Rodríguez Maradiaga has dismissed this speculation as a “mistaken interpretation” of his words. Most importantly, he said the interview in question took place in 2004, before the death of Pope John Paul II and simply expressed an obvious fact being discussed at the time. “Of course, the day will come for a pope from the South, as it came for one from the East,” he said. “At no time have I thought of myself as papabile (a possible pope). I have much to do in my beloved Honduras and I’ve never thought of putting my name forward.

Andrea Tornielli blog logoKudos to Il Giornale‘s Vatican correspondent Andrea Tornielli for tracking this down. The book in question, a collection of the cardinal’s interviews with a French journalist in Rome, states the conversations were held in 2006 or 2007. Soon after the speculation began in the French press, Tornielli challenged the date of these “recycled quotes” on his blog Sacri Palazzi. He later nailed down the date as 2004.

That said, Rodríguez Maradiaga remains a dynamic, attractive and relatively young (65) cardinal whose name will stay high on the list of possible papal candidates.


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He would deny it though, wouldn’t he! Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga has his eyes on one thing and one thing only. That is obvious to everyone that is near him.

Posted by Paul Murphy | Report as abusive


Posted by PAUL | Report as abusive

I believe he knows it in his heart that he will be pope, as if the Holy Spirit has made it known to him, but he doesn’t want to reveal it and any surface indications may be freudian slips sort of speak. In St Malachy’s order the next one after Pope Benedict will be Petrous Romanus, our last pope. I feel him to be sincere and genuine and strong for the coming future hardships the Church will be faced with.

Posted by jrc | Report as abusive

Given that YOU were so active in covering the 2005 election, YOU know that he was an oft mentioned papabile in 2005. So to be coy about not wanting to be thought of as a papabile might be taking modesty to a slightly higher degree than necessary, but it is OK. Plus he must be acutely aware of the adage “He who enters the conclave as pope comes out as a cardinal.”
Tom, in my papabili list you point to (, I have him at #7. Part of that is due to what I call the ‘Initial Conclave BOUNCE.’ I had studied the dynamics of the past 12 conclaves in minute detail last year. Prior to John Paul II, nine popes in succession, going back to Pius IX in 1846, were elected at the FIRST conclave they attended. Yes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI are the exceptions. I call it the NO PRIOR CONCLAVE BAGGAGE syndrome. That is why, in terms of Latin American cardinals, I put Cardinal Scherer as #1. (There is an interesting comment about Cardinal Scherer on my BLOG from a Latin American reader). I have since, however, been torn about Cardinal Maradiaga vis-a-vis Cardinal Scherer. Cardinal Maradiaga is thought to be a centrist much more so than the Cardinal from Brazil. So it depends what the cardinal electors are looking for in terms of ideology in the next pope. But we should also just remember his impetuous remarks in 2002. Tom, you more than anybody else, deftly covered the recent (maybe still ongoing) Pope Benedict XVI flap — that you referred to as a flip-flop. Those 2002 comments may play a role in the light of this. I do not know. Hope this helps. All the best. Thanks for the great coverage.

Posted by Anura Guruge | Report as abusive