[Cardinal Ratzinger] frankly acknowledged the fact that cardinals can elect sub-optimal popes in an interview with German television back in 1997.
When asked whether the Holy Spirit is responsible for the election of a pope, he said:
I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. . . . I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit's role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined.He continued:
There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!Oremus…