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Interregnum report, March 8

Some quick links for the end of the week:As everyone now knows, the papal conclave will begin on Tuesday, likely to be preceded by a formal Mass in the morning. At the close of the week, governance was said to remain a topic of discussion among cardinals, but other reports say meetings have been all over the map, hinting at a lengthy balloting process. The consensus is that there is no consensus on a leading candidate, but Vatican Insider says Milan archbishop Angelo Scola seems to be winning new support, and from the American contingent too.Still more on job qualifications (and another sign of creeping managerial-ese): Which candidates possess the sufficient global fluency?If you cant tell the papabile without a scorecard, heres a helpful interactive guide for putting faces to the names and studying up on vital statistics. Meanwhile, the Rome correspondent for Frances La Croix calls for the canonization of Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.After cataloging the (familiar) fault lines among the gathered electors, The Guardianthen delves into qualities and accomplishmentsof certain cardinals that tend to get lost in the coverage:

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Jesuit intellectual and archbishop of Buenos Aires who travels around town by bus and told his compatriots not to waste their money on plane tickets to Rome to see him become a cardinal but to give it instead to the poor; Cardinal Dominik Duka of the Czech Republic, who practised and deepened his faith despite enduring years of state repression; Cardinal Fernando Filoni, who refused to leave his diplomatic post in Iraq in the violence that followed the US invasion, saying "If the pastor flees in moments of difficulty, the sheep are also lost"; Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the charismatic, 55-year-old archbishop of Manila, whose scholarship on the second Vatican council and passionate defence of the sanctity of life have won him popularity on both sides of the political divide; and Cardinal scar Rodrguez Maradiaga of Honduras, who has proved an ardent defender of human rights and a fierce critic of capitalism and the drug trade.

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Jack - that's a pretty archconservative Catholic source. It criticizes O'Malley for admitting the children of homosexual parents to Catholic schools, and for employing people who donate money to President Obama.

Jim: SNAP is there to represent and help victims of sexual abuse by clergy. Their lack of objectivity only comes from their empathy with the victims. Even if they are passionate about their mission and sometimes sound excessive, they must be taken seriously. They are an important voice in the church. Their negative assessment of Cdl O'Malley gives me pause.

Snap has been way ahead of all of us in discovering sexual abuse among priests and the bishops coverup. No one said they are infallible. But they have infinitely more credibility than the bishops and the Vatican.

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