Conclave Set to Begin, Local Clergy Watching Closely

All eyes are on the Vatican this week as the conclave to elect the new head of the Roman Catholic Church is set to begin. One keen observer will be Father Bill Pomerleau, the pastor of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Springfield and a veteran journalist and staff correspondent for Catholic Communications. He says the process of choosing a pope kind of resembles a political campaign

“I think it’s probably a little bit like the Iowa caucuses, where you get together, you talk, you figure out what are the needs of the church, first, and then once you kind of say these are the issues, these the things that need to be dealt with, then obviously people start looking at who would be the best man to deal with these needs. And just like in secular politics there’s never a perfect candidate.”

Pomerleau thinks there is some time pressure on making the decision sooner rather than later:

“I think there’s a great concensus to have the installation Sunday the 17th because the following Sunday is Holy Week and it just gets very complicated trying to roll two big events into one big feast day.”

Pomerleau says 115 cardinals from around the world will be secluded under lock and key until they come to a decision, which he thinks is likely to come Wednesday or Thursday.