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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ancient envies and rivalries among Italians led to election of Pope Francis

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As Bergoglio gained steam, Scola’s fortunes continued to decline, thanks also to “ancient envies and rivalries,” as La Stampa’s Giacomo Galeazzi put it, among the 28 Italian electors – a bloc far larger than any other country’s, but also more fractious and “inexorably hostile to Scola.”

“In the last few hours there were signs that Scola’s strong candidacy was a giant with clay feet,” Galeazzi wrote.

No Italian restoration

By the fourth ballot on Wednesday — the fifth since the conclave had begun — Bergoglio passed the threshold of 77 votes on his way to upwards of 90 votes out of 115. It was just before 7 p.m., a little more than 24 hours since they started, and the Catholic Church had a new pope. “I was surprised that consensus among the cardinals was reached so soon,” said Ireland’s Cardinal Sean Brady.

Also surprised, apparently, was the Italian bishops’ conference, which was so sure that Scola would win that it sent out a message of congratulations to Scola on his election as soon as the white smoke appeared over the Sistine Chapel.

Yet there was to be no Italian restoration.

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