Benedict Says He Prayed Not to Be Elected
Pope Benedict XVI said Monday he had viewed the idea of being elected pope as a “guillotine,” and he prayed to God during the recent conclave to be spared selection but “evidently this time He didn’t listen to me.” For the first time since his election, Benedict shed light on his feelings inside the conclave during an audience with fellow Germans. Speaking in his native tongue, Benedict told the audience that at one point during the conclave, when it became clear he was garnering many votes, a fellow cardinal slipped him a note reminding him what he had preached before the conclave about Christ calling Peter to follow him even where he did not want to go.
Benedict, 78, said he had hoped to spend his last years living quietly and peacefully. “As the trend in the ballots slowly made me realize that Ã¢€” in a manner of speaking the guillotine would fall on me Ã¢€” I started to feel quite dizzy,” a smiling Benedict said, clearly joking. “I thought that I had done my life’s work and could now hope to live out my days in peace. I told the Lord with deep conviction, ‘Don’t do this to me.'”
He recalled saying to God in his prayers: “You have younger, better, more enthusiastic and energetic candidates.” “Evidently, this time He didn’t listen to me,” Benedict said.
As far as signs and portents go, that can’t be a good one. Technically, I suppose, Ratzinger didn’t become the Vicar of Christ until the ballots were in.