Cardinal Ratzinger was not the "obvious candidate"

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been mildly irritated by the assertion of many journalists, particularly Catholic ones, that at the last conclave Cardinal Ratzinger was the obvious candidate (and that, by contrast, this time there is no such front runner.) This is nonsense. In 2005, people were suggesting all sorts of names but few people seriously thought that Cardinal Ratzinger would be elected. The surprise of his election added to the jubilation of the thousands in St Peter's Square and many more throughout the world.

Therefore I was most interested in this post at Rorate Caeli today and I am entirely in agreement with it - also thankful that they have put on record one or two telling pieces of supporting evidence. Pope Benedict's election roughly coincided with the growth of the Catholic blogosphere. In days gone by, it would have been possible for journalists to get away with a hindsight-coloured picture of events. That is more difficult today.

It is consoling to think that the Conclave which elected Cardinal Ratzinger was somewhat weaker in terms of traditional sympathies, than the one which will shortly go to the Sistine Chapel. Still, we need to get down on our knees and pray humbly and in tears for God's mercy.

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