The elderly mother of papal front-runner Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn hopes he won't become pope because she fears she would never get to see him after the conclave.
"The whole family is afraid that Christoph will be elected pope," Eleonore Schoenborn, 92, told reporters. Recalling Pope Benedict's farewell speech, which made clear that popes belonged entirely to the Church, she said her son's election would mean "it is over for me. Then I will not see Christoph ever again because I no longer have the strength to travel to Rome".
Schoenborn and his mother meet in Vienna for a couple weeks every year and Christoph calls her every Saturday. She believes that leading the world's 1.2 billion Catholics would be too much of a challenge for her son. "Christoph would not be up to the bitchiness in the Vatican. The intrigues in Vienna are enough for him," she admitted. Schoenborn reportedly assured his family before leaving for the conclave: "Don't get worked up. I certainly won't become pope."