11 MAY 1901, Page 1

The Paris correspondent of the Times sends a valuable letter

about Vatican politics, upon which we have commented at length elsewhere. We may, however, mention here that he represents Cardinal Rampolla as anxious to retire, in order that he may when the vacancy occurs be a more acceptable candidate, the tradition* of Rome being that the Secretary of State is never elected to the Chair. He adds that if the vacancy occurred to-day the struggle would lie between Cardinal Vannutelli and "the Cardinal-Prince Rampolla. del Tindaro," with a chance for Cardinal Gotti—the Pope's nominee—Cardinal Svampa, and Cardinal Parocchi. Other authorities consider the last-named as much the most prob- able next Pope. No one, however, really knows, the mode of election making the choice something of a lottery, especially when the time is very short. The old delays are most improbable, as the Conclave will dread lay interference from the Powers, and is never quite sure of the temper of the populace of Rome, accustomed for ages to consider an inter- regnum a time of complete license. We gather, though it is not stated, that the life of the Pope, who was ninety-one in March, is considered one which may end almost without warning.