Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani of Lima, Peru, discouraged a spirit of intrigue surrounding the upcoming conclave and said the new Pope will be chosen with God’s help, regardless of nationality.
“I think that geography has nothing to do with it,” the cardinal said on Feb. 16. “The right person needs to be sought out with the help of God, regardless of where he is from.”
Responding to media questions about whether the new Pope should be from Latin America, he explained that “geographical or political considerations are not going to be part of the conclave.”
While he said that it is “understandable that there are people who think this way,” he warned that it is not good for the media to promote this understanding or to make bets or create “intrigue.”
The action of the Holy Spirit will help the cardinals “to be men who listen to God,” he emphasized. “If not, we serve for nothing.”
Expressing faith and acceptance at the news of the Holy Father’s upcoming resignation due to old age and declining strength, he voiced hope that “we cardinals now can respond to God as well, whom we ask to enlighten us to know which way we have to go.”
Cardinal Cipriani said that he personally would not like to be Pope.
“I think it’s really tough and requires a lot of preparation,” he observed. “And I think there are others who are better prepared.”
He went on to tell reporters that one of the challenges facing the Church is today is that “the world does not believe.”
“There is too much self-sufficiency, too much ‘I don’t need God, I’m not interested,’” he said, adding that those in power “have structured society in such a way as to make it very difficult to live humanely, let alone in a Christian way.”
“We need to recover the human dimension: the respect for life, the respect for the family and the respect for the truth,” the cardinal continued. “An attitude has set in that is excessively contrary to the human being, despite all the talk about human rights.”
Today’s society faces a “crisis of faith” that can only be solved by responding to the personal call to conversion, he said.
“The great missionary figures who have kept the Church going are saints.”