We Are Church International

From Christian Weisner in Rome


Today is the second day of the Conclave. I tried to prepare everything for THE moment e.g. inform the journalists how they could reach us for interviews, send lists of email addresses to Laura so that she could send out our press release directly after the announcement of the new Pope. At midday Martha and I moved to the hotel near St. Peter. Then Martha went to a liturgy by Janice from Women's Ordination Worldwide. In the afternoon I wrote a draft for our press release which didn't comment on the new Pope (who we still don't know) but on the agenda he has to work on. Valerie and Brendan, our native English speakers, polished up my draft. Now all documents are posted on the website www.we.are.church.org which was fixed and updated by Valerie just in time. While I started to work on the translation into German I suddeny heard the word "bianco" from the TV, it was 19:06. Shocked that THE moment came so early I phoned Martha and just said to her "white smoke". Then Martha, Marilyn and I together with many thousands of Romans rushed to St. Peter's Square.

We waited in the rain until Cardinal Tauran said the words "Habemus Papam" (applause) and "Cardinal Bergoglio" (silence) - because nobody knew him and he was not on the list of the journalists. His name Francesco (from Assisi), never been used by another Pope before, hopefully is also a programme and a promise that he wants the Church to work for and with the poor. It was Francesco who wanted to rebuild and renew the Church. What a huge task! His first welcome was moving. He asked us to pray for him, only then he blessed us. That was a form of acceptance of the bishop by the People of God that was done in the first centuries.

This was the moment I expected to receive many phone calls from journalists but no phone call reached me - the mobile networks just broke down because so many wanted to make phone calls from here. So I had to give many interviews later on until midnight from the hotel. After midnight I sent emails to our Argentinian group Helder Camara and to some Jesuits I knew. I congratulated them on the new Pope and asked for further information about Jorge Mario Bergoglio. In principle they said: Give him a chance for the future.

On Thursday I had the first interview at 6:30 on an empty and sunny St. Peter's Square, and from then onwards almost every 15 minutes. I didn't count them and I didn't count the taxi rides I had between TV interviews at St. Peter's Square or on roofs around St. Peter and telephone interviews in our hotel. Martha was getting a bad cold because of the rain yesterday. So I had to do most of them but I was in close contact with Martha, our chair, about what to say. Martha's train left Rome at 16:15 but she got stuck in Verona. So her husband will have to fetch her at the border to Austria. I'm now on the nighttrain to Munich where I will give another radio interview immediately after my arrival and will report to our Bundesversammlung this weekend in Bamberg. Among many others I will

After 11 stressful and hectic but also thrilling and very interesting days in a rainy and sunny city of Rome I want to thank everbody for her and his contribution in this enormous teamwork. Not everybody worked in Rome but we all worked with the same aim. So I hope for a new spring in nature and to a certain extend also in our church. The petition we launched today (thanks, Sigrid Grabmeier!) will help to make our visions come true.