Cardinal Wuerl describes a Papal Conclave as a time of prayer and silence; like a “very, very strong, very heavy retreat.”
He says that the cardinals will be focused on the aggressive secularism that is tearing at the faith all around the world, as well as other challenges. He asks for prayers from all of us, which I personally have already begun.
Our next pope will be tasked with leading us through times of great challenge. I am excited to learn who the Holy Spirit will send us.
The National Catholic Register article describing Cardinal Wuerl’s comments says in part:
The archbishop of Washington asks the Church to pray and ask God to send the Holy Spirit on the cardinals during the conclave.
by ESTEFANIA AGUIRRE/CNA/EWTN NEWS 02/28/2013 Comment
– CNA/Estefania Aguirre
ROME — Attending a conclave is similar to going on a rigorous spiritual retreat that is pervaded by silence, according to Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C.Cardinal Wuerl assisted a sick cardinal at the 2005 conclave that elected Pope Benedict..Since he was made a cardinal in 2010, this will be his first conclave as an elector.
“It’s like going on a very, very strong, heavy retreat,” explained Cardinal Wuerl in an interview at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
“It’s heavy in the sense of leaving aside everything else, but this time the retreat master is the Holy Spirit,” he said.
He believes that while the conclave is focused on the actual voting, it is also a time of prayer and being open to the Holy Spirit. “I will be. And I’m sure it will be the same for all of the cardinals there, taking this time of quiet simply to open our hearts to that voice of the Spirit.”
“There’s a silence that pervades the entire conclave, particularly in the Sistine Chapel,” he said.
“I think that sustaining the serenity of spirit is why the whole idea of the conclave is quietness.”
According to the cardinal, the next Pope will have two major challenges: fighting secularism and being media savvy.
“Great secularism is pervading the Church and prevailing all around us, so it brings a sense of urgency that we need to be re-proposing the Gospel,” the cardinal said.
“He will need to be able to reach out through all the means of communication today, especially social communication to be present all over the world,” he added.
Cardinal Wuerl said that while a pope cannot be physically present worldwide, he can use social media as a way to be present electronically.
He added that the most important thing for people to do now is to pray and ask God to send the Holy Spirit on the cardinals during the conclave.
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