Religion: John Paul: Calling All Cardinals

The Sacred College convenes to talk of cashflow

As 120 Cardinals filed out of a modernistic hall at the Vatican last week, there stood Pope John Paul II, shaking hands, remembering everybody's name, offering a joke or a reminiscence to each prince of the church assembled. It was a disarmingly informal moment in a formal historic event. For the first time in four centuries the Sacred College of Cardinals had been specially summoned to discuss church affairs.

The week's agenda did not include such burning Roman Catholic issues as celibacy and doctrinal dissent. It was...

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