Program #0486 for Tuesday, March 12, 2013: LIVE from Rome: Mass for Election of a New Pope and the Conclave begins!

LIVE from Rome: Mass for Election of a New Pope and the Conclave begins!

LIVE from Rome: Mass for Election of a New Pope and the Conclave begins!

Summary of today’s show: Events in Rome reached their penultimate phase as the cardinals celebrated the Mass for the Election of a New Pope and then entered the Sistine Chapel for their first vote. Scot Landry welcomed Fr. Roger Landry, Terry Donilon, and Jay Fadden to discuss the events of the day, including their experience of the beauty and universality of the Church during the Mass and the obvious gravity and focus with which the cardinal-electors are taking their duty. Terry also talked about Cardinal Seán and all the intense media focus on him in these day. George Martell then joined Scot to discuss some of his photos which have been gathering national interest.

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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry

Today’s guest(s): Fr. Roger Landry, Terry Donilon, Jay Fadden, George Martell

Links from today’s show:

Today’s topics: LIVE from Rome: Mass for Election of a New Pope and the Conclave begins!

1st segment: Scot Landry welcomed Fr. Roger Landry to the show and they discussed the procession of the cardinal-electors to the Sistine Chapel. Fr. Roger said many of the cardinals know that this is one of the most significant acts of their lives. The show was recorded about an hour and a half prior to the procession into the chapel. Fr. Roger said the cardinals will be led in a meditation by an older cardinal on their responsibility.

Today’s vote is important to show after all the conversations behind the scenes who the first and best choice is. He predicts that the decision for most cardinals will be between best and better candidates. He said a lot of times the cardinal who comes out with the most votes first isn’t the eventual winner and so they turn to their second choices on their lists.

They discussed the selection of Cardinal Prosper Grech of Malta as the one to lead them in the meditation. The means by which he’s chosen for this task isn’t in law, just that there would be someone to lead them in this meditation. It’s the second of two homilies they receive. Earlier this week, they heard from Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa.

If there’s no result after 14 votes they will hear from the senior member of the cardinal-deacons. After 7 more, from the senior cardinal-priest and 7 more from the senior cardinal-bishop.

Scot said the cardinals swear an oath as they place their ballot in the receptacle and that process takes at least an hour. Fr. Roger said a cardinal told him that the rest of the cardinals pray their rosaries or pray the Divine Office. In 1978, during the election of John Paul I, Cardinal Wojtyla would be writing the first part of his Theology of the Body. However, today the rule is that all papers on the cardinals’ desks must be burned as well.

Scot said after the voting, three cardinal-scrutineers count the ballots to make sure there are 115. Then they read each one aloud. He asked Fr. Roger what it’s like to hear their name announced, given the heaviness of the what they’re called to. Fr. Roger said Pope Benedict said hearing his name called was like a guillotine falling on his neck. To hear your name mentioned would feel like a compliment. All the other votes would be overwhelming especially as the momentum tends to build. Most people are in elections to win it, but in an election like this, it would be the opposite. Relief would come from hearing someone else’s name being announced.

Scot said after the voting, the cardinals go back to the Domus Sancta Marta. What happens? Do they talk about it? Fr. Roger said some cardinals have said in 2005, they went to the chapel to pray and there are reports of finding cardinals in the chapel in the middle of the night. There’s talk over dinner while others go back to their rooms to read and avoid the conversations. He thinks some will sleep better than normal and some who won’t sleep at all.

Fr. Roger said EWTN’s coverage of the day’s event will be repeated at 9pm and streamed online.

2nd segment: Scot said he is reporting from the top of the Augustinianem overlooking St. Peter’s Square. He said the cardinals were gathering in the Pauline Chapel to prepare to process into the Sistine Chapel. Terry Donilon, Secretary for Communications for the Archdiocese of Boston, joins him now. Scot said they gathered for a sendoff of the American Cardinals at the North American College at 7am. He said some people think the next pope might have been on that bus.

Terry said if we believe what’s been in the Italian press, there’s been a vigorous mention of Cardinal Seán. He said the cardinal was his natural quiet reserved self and Cardinal Dolan was his natural boisterous self.

Scot said all of these cardinals have led their large archdioceses and they all say this is the most significant decision they’ve made. Thinking of all his biggest life decisions, it’s amazing what the cardinals must be going through. Terry said their previous biggest decision was answering the call to become a priest. He said Cardinal Seán has consistently answered the call for difficult assignments throughout his life.

Terry has been busy in Rome in recent days as international news organization want to know more about Cardinal Seán. Terry said it’s rewarding to be able to explain this cardinal who is real. He is the same in private as he is in front of the camera. He said he’s pleased there’s so much attention of the media back home on this. It’s nice to see the secular media showing the Church is relevant and important to the people.

Scot noted that at 9:45 this morning, they started praying a rosary in many languages in St. Peter’s Basilica for the cardinals. Terry noticed during the rosary that the Swiss Guard was praying during the rosary too. He said he also noticed the media following the cardinal at his titular church the other going to Mass as well, which he wasn’t used to in the US.

Scot said Cardinal Dolan was in a good mood and gestured to him while other cardinals looked very solemn. Scot said the congregation was the most diverse crowd he’s ever been in and it represented the universal Church. Terry said the cardinals likewise represent the diversity of the Church. He said that’s one of the reasons Cardinal Seán stands out, because of his Irish background but close association with Portuguese and Spanish-speaking people.

Scot said during the Mass he gave thanks to God for being lucky enough to be in the room and praying for the prayer requests people are sending to Terry said what stood out for him was the music and the Latin chant. He said it added a lot of energy that we’re on the threshold of something important that is out of the ordinary experience. He loves music and loves the music of the Church. Every time he walks in the basilica he gives thanks for the those he loves and it’s a spiritual experience. But to be there in person is remarkable.

Scot said he and George Martell were sitting very tightly packed and they discussed how they would receive Communion. But even in that jungle to receive Communion, as disorganized as it was, it really worked. It was moving to him to see people of all ages and all origins to be patient and helpful to one another.

Terry was struck by the great number of people who were just milling about in the sides and people were very respectful. \

Scot said the cardinals are in the silent period. Cardinal Seán left his iPhone with his cardinal secretary at the North American College. He asked what people will see in the local media. Terry said they will be reporting on all the various angles. The Church is a complicated story. Terry thinks Cardinal Seán is being celebrated at home for all his pastoral achievements. Everyone he’s talked to on the national scene has said what a wonderful priest he is. He thinks they will also report on the rumor mills and unfortunately treat it a little bit like a political campaign. He hopes it shows that the Church is relevant with 1.2 billion Catholics and 1.8 million in Boston.

Scot said many of the local Boston media are reporting that Cardinal Seán is thought to be a frontrunner, but it’s not the Italian people doing the voting. He asked how do people who love and admire Cardinal Seán deal with it if he’s not the one who comes out on the balcony later this week. Terry said selfishly we want him to come home. Nobody really wants the job of pope, but Cardinal Seán will do what’s asked of him. He thinks perhaps now we’ve turned a corner of people getting to know him and that will help with his commitment to the New Evangelization back home.

Scot said when the smoke comes from the chimney he’s either going to be in the square waiting to see if it’s black or white or he’s going to be nearby and listen for the bells that signal white smoke. Terry said he’s too stressed to wait and will be in the square. Terry said he thinks the final vote will be Thursday. Scot said he found out at lunch that Friday is the Ides of March and if the vote is that day, there will be a lot of headlines.

Scot thinks it will be Thursday evening and then it’s likely the Mass of Inauguration will be on the Feast of St. Joseph, Tuesday, March 19. He’s the Patron of the Universal Church and it’s a national holiday. Terry said he just hopes the sun shines on that day.

3rd segment: Scot welcomed Jay Fadden of CatholicTV and they noted they just heard Cardinal Seán take his oath in the conclave. Scot said the pageantry of the procession of the Litany of Saints and the praying of the Veni, Sancte Spiritus was beautiful. Jay said there was a change today at the moment of the procession. The weight of the decision these men will make was on them and they have become very focused. A man started to clap for the cardinals and one of them motioned for him to stop.

He said in the Square, hundreds of people are standing in the pouring rain and watching the events on the giant monitors set up there. Scot said they show the universality of the Church.

Scot said the Mass in the morning was beautiful. Jay said what stood out for him was the people in the basilica. There were so many young people, especially young nuns. He noted that during Communion people knelt on the stone floor until the cardinals had all received Communion. Scot said it’s now pouring in the Square but people don’t want to leave because it’s an historic moment and the next time we see the cardinals, we will have a new pope. Jay said it’s amazing to watch. One of those men will be the new leader of the Catholic Church.

Scot said in the morning Jay was with them at the North American College to see the American cardinals boarding their bus for the conclave. He said they are supporting each other and preparing for this momentous decision together. Jay said the seminarians lined the street and clapped and cheered the cardinals as they left because they were recognizing the difficulty of this decision because of the enormity of what they will do. They’re not electing a CEO, but a spiritual leader.

Jay said CatholicTV in Rome is doing blogs and live Skype shots back to Boston. They’re also filming many segments for other programs and interviewing people as well to make the trip worthwhile.

Jay said he keeps bumping into people he knows. He bumped into Msgr. Connie McRae and other people from Boston, including those who have moved to Rome. He said they’re friends because they’re all part of this universal Church.

Scot said the first ballot will be in an hour and then another hour for the smoke. He asked how long Jay thought how long the conclave will take. He guessed three days because it’s been a long time since it’s gone more than three days. The cardinals have the advantage of having been there eight to ten days talking to one another and thinking about it for at least a month. Scot repeated that he’s been predicting Friday all week until he realized that Friday is the Ides of March and no cardinal wants to come out on the Ides of March, so he thinks it’s Thursday. Jay said he hopes it’s Thursday because he wants a new Holy Father.

Scot asked Jay how people could watch CatholicTV. He said people can use SkyAngel,, Roku, or iPhone and Android apps. He is also blogging at They both said they’re blogging for the first time.

4th segment: Scot welcomed George Martell to the show. They discussed how bad the weather has been in Rome, unusually bad. George said it makes taking photos more difficult, to capture those faces and the emotion. Scot said other media are able to use George’s photos in their publications. One of George’s photos from yesterday, of the cardinals on the bus, has gotten very wide distribution. He had gone to the North American College to use their Internet. He noticed the bus outside and went out to a lobby where some of the cardinals were gathering. He acted like a fly on the wall and then chatted a bit with Cardinal Seán. Suddenly they all got on the bus, so George followed them on even though he wasn’t sure. He asked Cardinal Seán if he thought it would be okay and he said sure. It turned out to be a great photo. Scot said it looked to him that Cardinal Dolan was joking in the back of the bus.


Today, Scot said they had a group photo and George was able to take a photo of them before the very serious moments in the Sistine Chapel. George said Cardinal Dolan was very jovial and he thinks another man there was the cardinal’s brother. Scot said the back story is that this man is wearing jeans because the cardinal’s brother’s luggage had been lost.

Meanwhile Cardinal Seán was, if not serious, deeply in the moment because he understands the import of what he’s doing. Scot described him as intense. It’s an important day and a heavy vote. It will be a long day too.


Scot said he also liked another photo of a man holding a homemade sign calling for Pope Francis I.


He also captured photos of a Swiss Guard being playful with some kids.


They talked about the beauty of the art and architecture and the beauty of the faith of the people praying in those buildings. It makes it easy to capture the intensity they’re feeling in that moment.

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