Cardinal Justin Rigali, who led Philadelphia Catholics before he retirement a couple of years back, will have a vote for pope during the upcoming conclave in Rome. He spoke to Catholic Philly’s Lou Baldwin before departing from Tennessee, where he currently lives. Some highlights:
“I wasn’t planning on it at all,” he said in a telephone interview from Knoxville, Tenn., where he is living in retirement. “It is a great honor and a great privilege and occasioned, as we know, by the pope’s action.
“It is part of God’s plan, and we know that whereas the cardinals are the only ones who vote, they are sustained by the people of God throughout the world; not only Catholics but people of good will who recognize the importance of the papacy.”
“Before you vote you have to take an oath that you are voting for the person you truly think would be the best person to become pope,” he explained. “In the initial vote many times different names come up.”
In later votes, cardinals might have to change their vote to “the person who under the particular circumstances at the particular moment would be best qualified to be pope,” he said. “We are talking about the office of Peter, we are talking about the Petrine ministry, about the chief teacher of the Church; the one who above all proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are talking about continuity.”
This is probably Rigali’s last papal vote; Archbishop Charles Chaput, who now leads Philadelphia Catholics, isn’t a cardinal—and thus isn’t eligible to vote.