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Cardinals say they do not know who next Pope will be yet

Vatican City, Apr. 18, 2005 (CNA) - Prior to entering the House of St. Martha yesterday, several cardinals told the faithful that they did not know—and had not discussed—who the next Pope will be.

Their statements addressed speculative reports in the press about who will succeed Pope John Paul II and rumors that the cardinals had specified the names of those who could be possible successors.

"People believe that we will vote like in a normal election. But this is something entirely different. We will listen to the Lord and the Holy Spirit,” said Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga during a homily. The cardinal celebrated a mass in his titular church of St. Mary of Hope in Rome.

"The new Pope has already been chosen by the Lord. We just have to pray to understand who he is," Florence Cardinal Ennio Antonelli told the congregation in St. Andrea delle Fratte, his titular church a short stroll from Rome's Spanish Steps.

“We don’t know who will be Pope. No one can say at this time,” said Mexican Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera. "I believe that the Holy Spirit, already knows, but he has not communicated it to us yet.” The Mexican primate celebrated mass at St. Francis d'Assisi at Ripa Grande.

Today marks the official opening of the conclave to elect the Church’s 265th Pope. The 115 voting cardinals took their oath today in the Sistine Chapel and will be sequestered until a new Pope is elected.

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