Paul Josef Cordes is one of six German cardinals in Rome to choose a successor to Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned last month. But he seemed less than excited by the prospect of being sequestered with his fellow clergymen in the Vatican.
"Hopefully it will be a short conclave that will start soon," he told the Bild newspaper. "I'd compare it to a visit to the dentist – you want to get it over with fast."
Cordes said had few preconceptions heading into the deliberations at the Vatican.
"I don't really know what to expect. Everything I know about the conclave is from mediocre films," he admitted. "We'll see."
The 78-year-old also said he was still smarting from the pope's decision to step down due to his advancing age.
"The resignation of this great pope leaves a painful gap not only for me, but for many of the faithful," he said, offering details of a recent visit with the former German pope. "He was mentally very aware. But he didn't have the great vibrancy that I once knew."
Some Germans, however, seem to be dealing with losing their hold on the papacy in unusual ways. A German prankster recently irked the country's Catholic leaders by dressing up as bishop to mingle with cardinals gathering in Rome for the conclave.