Contrary to media reports, he wrote in a blog post, the focus of the cardinals' meetings is much the same as it was two millenniums ago, namely: "How most effectively to present the Person, message, and invitation of Jesus to a world that, while searching for salvation and eternal truth, are also at times doubting, skeptical, too busy, or frustrated."
He said, "Those are the 'big issues.' You may find that hard to believe, since the 'word on the street' is that all we talk about is corruption in the Vatican, sexual abuse, money. Do these topics come up? Yes! Do they dominate? No!"
The scandals came up again Monday when the Vatican Press Office denied conclave accreditation to Italian journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, who wrote a book about scandals within the Vatican. The book was based partly on documents leaked from Benedict's personal apartments.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi told CNN the accreditation had been denied because Nuzzi applied as a documentary filmmaker, not as a journalist.
Meanwhile, the Italian press is full of speculation about which cardinal may win enough support from his counterparts to be elected, and what regional alliances are being formed.
The United States has 11 of the 115 votes, making it the second largest national bloc after Italy.
Sixty of the cardinals are from Europe and 67 were appointed by Benedict, who stepped down at the end of last month, becoming the first pontiff to do so in six centuries.