Fait accompli

Guardian: Battle begins for soul of church

The conservative wing of the Roman Catholic hierarchy yesterday launched a pre-emptive strike, aimed at blocking any swing towards a more progressive stance following the death of Pope John Paul II.

The Vatican's "prime minister", Cardinal Angelo Sodano, surprised church observers by describing the late pope as John Paul "the Great", a title only previously accorded to three of his 263 predecessors, all from the Dark Ages and all canonised…

His attempt to raise the late pontiff to the status of a saint within 24 hours of his death appeared to represent an effort to put Karol Wojtyla's profoundly conservative legacy beyond dispute and freeze the terms of debate on the next pope, signalling the start of what is likely to be a battle for the soul of the world's largest Christian denomination.

Scrap at the Vatican! Scrap at the Vatican! Scrap! Scrap! Scrap! Scrap!…

The Roman Catholic conservatives have little to fear. Karol Wojtyla made pretty sure the ideological battle for his successor was won many years ago by appointing bucketfuls of right-thinking cardinals. Indeed, he appointed 114 of the 117 cardinals who will elect the next pope.

I suppose you could call it Pole rigging.


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