Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY
American cardinals in Rome for the lead-up to voting for the next pope may have been blabbing too much about secret discussions in advance of the super-secret conclave.
The daily news conference by U.S. leaders prompted concerns that they were influencing the advisory meetings, now underway. Wednesday, the day after the Associated Press reported this, the briefings were canceled.
In describing the scene Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that more than 100 journalists from the U.S., Britain and European countries packed "an auditorium for what has become the daily 'American Show' at the North American College, the U.S. seminary just up the hill from the Vatican."
Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a Wednesday statement, "Concern was expressed" in the daily meetings of the College of Cardinals "about leaks of confidential proceedings reported in Italian newspapers. As a precaution, the cardinals have agreed not to do interviews."
Lombardi said the Vatican did not intervene to shut down the show but that cardinals made that decision talking amongst each other.
He said, "The cardinals journey toward conclave is not a convention or synod. It is a journey, that is above all a time of reflection for the College of Cardinals. The College has decided to maintain reserve over proceedings. But we are try to give as much information as possible."
No date has been set for the conclave, where 115 cardinal electors will be cut off from any communications with the outside world.
At the morning Vatican press conference, spokesman Rev. Frederico Lombardi said there's no hidden meaning in the delay. They are waiting for two more electors -- cardinals under the age of 80 -- to reach Rome and they are in a "journey" of prayer and discernment, he said.
Meanwhile, representatives from the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) called a news conference in Rome to announce a "dirty dozen" names of cardinals whose record on dealing with the abuse crisis should disqualify them for voting for the pope or being elected to the papacy. The list includes many of the names on media and betting sites' short lists for the next pope.
Lombardi said the Vatican is "well aware" of the positions of SNAP, but added it is not up to SNAP to decide who should participate in the conclave.