One thing the secular media often get wrong when covering a conclave is what exactly the issues being debated within the conclave are. The MSM talks about its usual interests – gays, abortion, sex, etc. –- even though there is no realistic prospect of a change of policy on those issues, whoever is elected pope. (The next pope may or not decide to spend less time talking about stuff like contraception and gay marriage, but the probability of his endorsing these things is zero.) But this does not mean that there are no serious disagreements that need to be hashed out, and that may be important foci of the struggle to elect a pope. The most important issue dividing cardinals in this conclave probably has to do with administration and curial reform. But another important one is liturgy, and it’s addressed by David G. Bonagura Jr. in this interesting article at The Catholic Thing. Bonagura describes the split between the “new orthodox,” who are theologically conservative but tilt toward a modernizing liturgy, and the “Benedictines,” who share Ratzinger’s aesthetic/theological love for liturgical tradition.
While you’re at The Catholic Thing, you should also check out Robert Royal’s Daily Conclave Report. In today’s dispatch, he reports that scandal-plagued Roger Cardinal Mahony was seen eating alone at a Roman restaurant — something hard to do in one of the world’s most sociable cities.