Poor eyesight keeps cardinal from conclave

Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja

Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja

March 4, 2013

Indonesian Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja, the 78-year-old retired archbishop of Jakarta, said Feb. 21 that his health and particularly the “progressive deterioration” of his eyesight led to his decision not to travel to Rome for the conclave to elect a new pope.

Darmaatmadja said he made the “free and personal” choice because not being able to see and not being able to bring an assistant into the conclave with him would impose a “serious obstacle” to participating in the cardinals’ work.

The responsibility of electing a new pope requires serenity and autonomy, he said, as well as an ability to read texts and documents.