“I can confirm that the Holy Father, before his death, did not communicate the name of the cardinal he had reserved ‘in pectore,’ when it was announced in the consistory of October 2003,” Vatican press office director Joaquín Navarro Valls said today.
Thus, the question of the unknown cardinal’s participation in the conclave “is no longer posed,” the spokesman said. The conclave to elect a new pope begins on April 18.
Some press sources believe that this cardinal might be a Chinese bishop. If the Pope had revealed his name, they speculate, it might have sparked a negative reaction by the Beijing government.
Decades must pass before knowing who the cardinal is, which will be revealed when the archives of this pontificate are opened.