Today’s news from Rome is that the Cardinals who are meeting for the General Congregations will no longer give interviews about the meetings and about the forthcoming conclave. As I understand it, this is in keeping with the media blackout after Pope John Paul II’s funeral in 2005, though with the difference is that this time the Holy See Press Office will continue to give a daily Press Briefing, broadcast live on www.news.va.
It’s easy to assume that a heavy-handed ‘Vatican’ has closed-down the dialogue, but this would miss an important point. Without a Pope, the Cardinals themselves are the principal authority in the Church and so it is only the Cardinals who can (self-)impose this ban, which is what they’ve done. It’s also worth noting that the reason for enforcing this ban is that the confidential nature of the General Congregations was apparently undermined this morning by an article in La Stampa, an Italian daily newspaper.