Hurry up and wait

Worker prepares Sistine Chapel for conclave. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

Worker prepares Sistine Chapel for conclave. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

VATICAN CITY — There were plenty of mixed feelings at the Vatican in recent days.

Tweeting cardinals are no longer talking to the media

The sense of urgency in starting the conclave was going against the idea that choosing a new pope requires ample time for discernment, contemplation, prayer and also conversation.

But Rome itself seems a contradiction. The recent days have been both sunny and rainy. Fast cars and motorcycles zoom across the ancient cobblestone streets. Litugical vestment stores bump up against high-end fashion stores and tourist shops sell postcards, T-shirts, magnets and snow globes along with rosaries, holy cards, crosses and images of Pope John Paul II and retired Pope Benedict XVI.

The interregnum by its very nature also produces mixed feelings, as Father Gustavo Castillo, a priest from the Los Angeles Archdiocese pointed out. Father Castillo, currently studying in Rome at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas, known as the Angelicum, said he still feels an “emptiness” after the resignation of Pope Benedict but at the same time he has hope that a young pope will be elected who will “have the strength to deal with the things the church has to face.”