The Vatican has urged cardinals to maintain its policy of secrecy as it struggles to contain leaks from its pre-papal-election discussions.
Thursday saw the Holy See’s financial chiefs give a behind-closed door briefing on the state of the church’s finances – just one issue among many the cardinals must consider in the light of choosing a new pope.
“The preparatory meetings have been going on for almost a week and a large number of people have spoken,” said the Archbishop of Lyon, Philippe Barbarin. “We’ve had in-depth exchanges, questions, impressions, suggestions, with a very very wide-ranging debate. But we can’t go on longer than 20 days.”
With all 115 eligible cardinals now in Rome a date for the start of the election conclave must be set soon.
Journalist Ignazio Ingrao who covers the Vatican for the Italian weekly newspaper ‘Panorama’ gave euronews his opinion: “The cardinals prefer first of all to define the priorities that the Church has to face in the future, and then to define the ‘identikit’ of the future Pope in relation to the urgent issues of the Church.”
Once the conclave starts on Tuesday, March 12th, there is little time for discussion. The voting is conducted in silent prayer so the start of the conclave in effect marks an end to all the talking.