“I was not a candidate for pope”

The former archbishop of Milan and patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Angelo Scola, is publishing his autobiography this Wednesday, in which he recounts details from the 2013 conclave. He was never an opponent of Cardinal Bergoglio.

Cardinal Angelo Scola (76) has denied being a possible candidate for the papacy in the 2013 conclave. This was "fake news," the former archbishop of Milan and patriarch of Venice said in an autobiography to be published Thursday. The conclave began without a candidate, Scola said in an interview with journalist Luigi Geninazzi, co-author of the book, from which the Corriere della Sera newspaper quoted this Wednesday.

Scola had never speculated on the papacy

On his departure from Milan for the conclave, he had told his staff at the time: "The resignation of Benedict XVI. is a completely new event in church history and heralds a new pope who has also not been there before. Be reared, it will not be me."He never thought he would become pope, says Scola.

He would not have liked media reports that he was defeated as the candidate of the conservatives Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio; "the nostalgic candidate of the previous popes, the man of the past," as Scola writes. The book "Ho scommesso sulla liberta" (I bet on freedom) will be presented Wednesday evening in Rimini.

Change from the quiet, serious cardinal to the youthful, partly ironic Pope Francis

Bergoglio he had met earlier, according to Scola. At synods, for example, he was struck by the tactfulness of his contributions and the seriousness and remorsefulness of his attitude. During breaks, the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires usually sat quietly in his seat and studied documents. Overall, he had appeared very reserved. All the more, writes Scola, he was surprised by the open, youthful, partly ironic character that Francis developed as pope.

Scola resigned in 2017 for reasons of age

Scola, on 7. November 1941 born in Malgrate near Milan, was Bishop of Grosseto from 1991 to 1995, then Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University. John Paul II. appointed him patriarch of Venice in 2002; Benedict XVI. Made him archbishop of Milan in 2011. In July 2017, Francis accepted the resignation offered by Scola at age 75 for reasons of age.

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