April 30, 2015
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, offered teasing bits of insider information about Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical on the environment, on what he might say in the U.S. in the fall, and on what it was like to be in the conclave that elected Francis in an April 29 public conversation.
One of Pope Francis’ advisers on the Council of Cardinals, Cardinal Rodriguez told an audience at Georgetown University that he saw his longtime friend, Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, walk into the conclave two years ago talking about his anticipated retirement. The cardinal who would leave the room as Pope Francis was over 75, the age at which canon law requires bishops to submit their resignation, and expected his replacement to be named soon.
As soon as he became pope, however, Cardinal Rodriguez’s old friend “started like a young man.” The atmosphere in the Sistine Chapel, where the conclave was held, palpably changed as the cardinals selected the Argentine as pope, he said.