Vatican The situation of Pope Francis improves, but "now there is a risk of a shadow Conclave"

"The Pope is slowly improving

Vatican The situation of Pope Francis improves, but "now there is a risk of a shadow Conclave"

"The Pope is slowly improving. But he will come out of this hospitalization weakened. And the Conclave of Shadows will be reactivated like never before...". The effects of Francisco's hospitalization at the Agostino Gemelli Polyclinic after the respiratory crisis on Wednesday are already noticeable. But it is not only physically, since since the death of Benedict XVI, the 'Pope Emeritus', on December 31, many doubts have accompanied the current pontiff. "The issue is not this hospital stay: the Pope is not in danger of death. The issue, rather, is how he himself will analyze what happened, and what conclusions he will draw from it," according to a Vatican source.

The words sound a bit anodyne but they reveal the great doubt that exists in the internal circles of the Vatican about a possible resignation, an issue that has not been resolved from the legislative point of view, probably because it is unresolvable, but still pending due to the fluctuating indications that have come in recent years from Casa Santa Marta. In recent months, Francisco has conducted a series of interviews in which he has hinted at intentions that do not always coincide, to the point of specifying, given rumors interested in possible resignations, that the papacy is usually for life.

But previously he had stated that he could resign for serious health reasons, or if he realizes that he is losing his lucidity and that if he resigned he would not stay in the Vatican, that he would not even go to Argentina, that perhaps he would retire to a parish Rome, or the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, who would not be called 'Emeritus Pope' like his predecessor but 'Emeritus Bishop of Rome' and who would no longer wear white. The problem is that suddenly, for two days, these hypotheses have collided with a sudden and unpredictable physical problem. And therefore they cease to be theoretical speculations about the near future of his pontificate.

Francis's supporters fear that what happened will bring not only his resignation but a reckoning in a deeply divided Church. For their part, the pontiff's detractors trust that the weakening of Francisco will accelerate a Conclave of the most difficult and conflictive in recent decades. At a time when compassion and solidarity towards Jorge Mario Bergoglio must emerge above all, the almost tribal division that survived every papacy reappears, and which continues unabated in the decade of Francis.

It is a shadow conflict that the Pope perceives and suffers. Before his hospitalization, he was already affected by statements by the Prefect of the Papal Household, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, who had told the Corriere "that many cardinals would have lived better if Angelo Scola had been Pope." Cardinal Scola, then Archbishop of Milan, was considered in 2013 the most accredited Italian candidate for the papacy.

In addition, the fact that the Vatican press office, and not the doctors, continue to communicate the course of the hospitalization, may contribute to giving birth to rumors that increase doubts about his real condition. Until now, the voice of the doctors who care for him has never been seen or heard. There are no official hospital bulletins, just as there weren't two years ago when Francesco underwent stomach surgery. And this lack of transparency allows enemies and friends to choose his favorite narrative, without the public being able to fully understand how things stand.

The impression is that in the Vatican everyone holds their breath before a silence that confirms the disorientation and uncertainty of the situation. And unofficially, the maneuvering for the Conclave, which has never stopped, is intensifying.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project