Another evaluation of papabile; votes counted already?

Another evaluation of papabile; votes counted already?

Catholic World News is providing our list of the top papabile and our current pick as the favorite: Cardinal Ratzinger. We also go through the list of the top 12 or so and discuss why they might be considered and their disadvantages. And for a bonus we provide a list of 3 longshots.

By the way, I’m taking the reports in Italian and British media that purport to tell you how many votes are going one way or the other with a huge grain of salt. For one thing, the cardinals are not supposed to be talking to the media, and I’d be very surprised if any of them are talking to friends, and telling them how they’re going to vote. They’re supposed to be keeping this secret. They’ve even taken an oath binding them to secrecy under pain of excommunication. These are all priests: They’re used to keeping secrets.

As Phil Lawler cautioned last week, it’s most likely that this is speculation or intentional disinformation by someone who doesn’t know anything or it’s someone who’s not supposed to be talking who is talking, and is showing that they can’t keep their oath. And if they can’t keep a sacred oath, what makes them trustworthy in this matter?

So why is this vote-counting already going on? Ironically, one of the same British newspapers engaged in this vote-counting says that liberals who don’t want Ratzinger elected are setting him up. Some of the rumors say that Ratzinger had 60 of the 77 votes needed and could pick up the rest quickly after the first ballot shows how popular he is. Why would they say that? To build up false expectations, they say, so that when the groundswell doesn’t appear, nobody will switch votes to him and they go to another candidate.

Of course, I’m not sure why these rumors are any more believable than the previous ones. The best thing to do is ignore all the rumors. As they say in Rome, “Those who know, don’t speak. Those who speak, don’t know.” The same wild speculation occurred before the last couple of papal elections and they were way off as well. It’s better to just wait and see (and pray).

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
23 comments
  • I am personally not a big fan of the whole “rosary on mirror thing”… I think it is a deed that could turn “separated brethren” away from the truth of what we believe about prayer and Mary etc.. (I do not mean to insult anyone; perhaps others have stories of converting others who have struck up conversations after seeing hanging beads??)

    See Lumen Gentium:

    67. The sacred synod teaches this Catholic doctrine advisedly and at the same time admonishes all the sons of the Church that the cult, especially the liturgical cult, of the Blessed Virgin, be generously fostered, and that the practices and exercises of devotion towards her, recommended by the teaching authority of the Church in the course of centuries be highly esteemed, and that those decrees, which were given in the early days regarding the cult images of Christ, the Blessed Virgin and the saints, be religiously observed.[22] But it strongly urges theologians and preachers of the word of God to be careful to refrain as much from all false exaggeration as from too summary an attitude in considering the special dignity of the Mother of God.[23] Following the study of Sacred Scripture, the Fathers, the doctors and liturgy of the Church, and under the guidance of the Church’s magisterium, let them rightly illustrate the duties and privileges of the Blessed Virgin which always refer to Christ, the source of all truth, sanctity, and devotion. Let them carefully refrain from whatever might by word or deed lead the separated brethren or any others whatsoever into error about the true doctrine of the Church. Let the faithful remember moreover that true devotion consists neither in sterile or transitory affection, nor in a certain vain credulity, but proceeds from true faith, by which we are led to recognize the excellence of the Mother of God, and we are moved to a filial love towards our mother and to the imitation of her virtues.

    —————————-
    Just my 2 cents, though..

  • I don’t really have a strong opinion on this matter… jsut thought that the deeds of the laity should conform with the deeds of clergy..

    How many Bishops or Priests have people seen drive around with rosaries on their mirrors??

    Again, I have no strong opinions on this… would really LOVE to hear some stories on hanging beads being great evangelizers!! Honestly..

  • Just in case it is Ratzinger (I would be actually be fine with this choice), people should prepare themselves for the media onslaught by reading up on him:

    http://www.ratzingerfanclub.com/blog/

    Just this morning I had to write a letter to the editor of my morning paper defending Ratzinger after they publsihed the ol’
    “Hitler Youth” half-truth….

    Pray for a great conclave!!!

  • I think this is a custom that worked its way up from Mexico.  There is nothing wrong with it.

    Actually, I find this custom less distasteful than most popular Catholic art – both traditional and post V2. 

  • I just want to be clear that I have no problem with hanging a rosary from your rearview, as long as it’s an expression of faith and not just following a trend. I found it interesting that an automotive accessory company was selling it, not a religious goods company.

  • I’m surprised there is so much musing about the next Holy Father.  What’s the point? Are we not called to be obedient regardless of who takes office?

    I have this wondering in the back of my head about we who loved and obeyed willingly Pope John Paul II for so many years:  Will we choose obedience to the next Holy Father?  Will we put conditions on our faithfulness?  Will we wonder “where he stands”? Will we doubt the work of the Holy Spirit to move and place the man who is most fit for the job? 

    In the states it just seems like we are looking at this like we do our elections-and putting about as much energy into it.  But the reality is that the Church is bigger than US Catholic Agenda and bigger than what we think needs to happen. 

  • No, no.  The refusal to talk to reporters BEFORE the conclave is an agreement made between the cardinals.  There is no law to this effect and as far as I know no penalty, certainly not excommunication.  Indeed, there was a little known African cardinal on EWTN just the other night….

    During the conclave, the documents written by PJP2 plus the tradition of the church and laws that still stand dictate what can and cannot happen.  There IS a penalty of excommunication for a cardinal who talks to the press during the conclave.

    AFTER the conclave, no one, including members of the household, are supposed to divulge details of what happened because they have taken a vow to keep that secret for life.  It has been the case that on occasion, things have leaked out.  No one that I know of has been excommunicated on account of it.  It’s very much the exception rather than the rule.  The participants realize the enormous damage that could be effected by second-guessing the events of the conclave, you see…….

  • Jen:

    I chalk that up to our media, more than anything else.  I don’t know of Catholics thinking of this like a U.S. election.  But the media is.  For whatever reason, the media elite in our country seems to think that American political dialogue is something incredible (where, to make an analogy based on education, it’s more akin to a 5th grade educational level).  There’s just no convincing them that their right/left, conservative/liberal mindset barely explains anything valuable about our political scene much less the rest of the world.

    Also, since it has been so long since there was a conclave, someone should remind the American media that the Italian press does not have the same concept of journalism.  I wouldn’t rest my credibility on quoting an Italian journalist’s report. Ever.

  • Jen, yes, of course, we are called to be obedient and recognize whoever they choose as the new Holy Father. 

    But as for the discomfort that might cause, you perhaps don’t remember the papacy of Paul VI.  It was a martyrdom for many people, even those who remained faithful to the office of Pope.

  • j802, they don’t have to.  They wear clericals to remind themselves of who they are. 

    I have a rosary on my rearview mirror.  Just in case I left my pocket one home—happens sometimes.  Just to remind me not to carry on in traffic.  Just to keep this old convert remembering who I belong to.

  • I am certainly interested in who might be our next Pope, but not to the extent that I have sleepness nights.  Our expectations are sometimes quite wrong.  Even if one of the persons whom we hoped is not the one, it is only fair and just to allow whomever it is sufficient time to develop within the role that Christ ordained.

    As for press speculation, may I suggest that we do think about the last US Presidential election only for the fact that the polls were often dead wrong, and wrong because they did not consider the deep faith of many voters.

    Most of the Cardinals have a much broader world view than media reporters, pundits and their groupies.  Pundits and reporters are there not only so speculate and gather/offer opinions, but to promote themselves and to sell a product.  They are notoriously unreliable for much more than knowing the approximate time of day.

    We are the Church of Jesus Christ, which has weathered untold horrendous storms over 2,000 years, including those within the Papacy itself.  As St. Paul reminds us, we belong to Christ, not to Apollos, Paul, or Cephas.

    Let us pray quietly now that the Cardinals, acting together, will accept the divine wisdom of choosing a man, who is the man for this time and place.  And that as we go through possibly several days next week, our minds and hearts are with our Cardinals in this grave decision.

  • Michigancatholic – you’ve seen priests wearing clericals *in public*??? I thought the last priest publicly in clericals, away from Church functions, was last seen in the US sometime in late 1983.

    (Apologies in advance to all you well-behaved priests out there.)

  • Jen, you may not know it, but there are many many people in the Church (especially in chanceries and theology faculties) who – well, I won’t say *hated* John Paul II, but certainly hated his policies as pope and defensor fidei, and were, in a sense, looking forward to the day he was gone, and his successor arrived, whom they were certain would be “more reasonable”, “more progressive”, “more liberal”, etc. I have heard this so many times! People like this are not interested in hearing how “progressive” (in good ways) John Paul II was, or about how the pope is not *permitted* to teach error, or that it is impossible to ordain women, that’s not a mere whim of an old white man – on and on. I eventually gave up arguing. What can you do with deluded “liberal” Americans who cannot see beyond their narrow worldview? (I’m sure similar Europeans/Australians/etc. are just the same.) I just gave up arguing a few years ago.

    These same people were bitterly disappointed by Paul VI writing “Humanae Vitae”. Paul is a very good example of a notso-hotso pope, in opposition to what we have been blessed to have over the last quarter-century. He *was* prevented by the Holy Spirit from teaching error, and he wasn’t *that* liberal, but he was rather weak as a governor, and he also tried to please everyone, so pleasing no one. Yet he was the “obvious” choice for that conclave – I sometimes wonder if they came out a little too soon. So we must pray hard for the conclave and for our new pope, whoever he is, and not jump right down his throat.

    Of course, if it *is* Ratzinger, let the media s***storm begin. But he’ll prove them all wrong, if the Holy Spirit leads them to him. I think there’s enough soft oppo to him that they’d really have to “feel” for him to elect him. However, the cardinals also have the benefit of knowing his true personality as well.

    Has anyone else wondered who the cardinal is who Bob Moynihan referred to the other day – “Rosario’s choice”? I’ve tried out a few but don’t really know enough about them personally.

  • No, no.come. It’s now just another “cool” trend, like various funky dashboard Jesuses or variations on the icthyus fish, taking what was once a sincere expression of a heartfelt belief and making it a joke or just a decoration. (Not unlike certain pop stars who wear cross necklaces while engaging in various public acts hinting at immorality.)

    Is this the end of the world? Nah. In fact, I think the dashboard Jesus is kind of cool, in a way, although I wonder if my lack of being disturbed by it is a good sign. In any case, I’m not making a big deal out of. I just want to throw in my observation of a recent trend.

    Who knows, maybe some good will come out of it and somebody will buy the rearview rosary and start praying them. Is it me or is Catholicism uniquely subject to such kitsch?

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    singogoddess@yahoo.com

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    2005-04-17 11:11:03
    2005-04-17 15:11:03
    Is it me or is Catholicism uniquely subject to such kitsch?

    Maybe not.
    On one hand Catholicism is more subject to such kitsch than any of the Protestant denominations because they don’t do sacramentals.  (though I think some of them do the fish)
    On the other hand I’ve seen lots of Oriental kitsch, Indian kitsch, even when I was in Greece kitsch based on old pagan artifacts.
    For example, I’ve seen little Buddah statuettes that perch on people’s dashboards.

  • I’ve had many conversations started by the rosary which hangs from my rearview mirror. Catholic friends sometimes make comments, worrying that such things are too casual, and possibly irreverent. I remind them how forgetful I am… It means that I have a rosary everywhere I go; it makes it a little hard to forget my rosary.

    Protestant friends remark on their discomfort at the Catholic treatment of Mary. I have the opportunity to talk about how Mary leads us to Christ, and why we hold such a special place for her in our hearts. For a few it has eased things a bit, and allowed us more room to talk. And given them food for thought. After one such conversation, a Lutheran friend of mine actually prayed a rosary with me. She got a lot out of it. She wasn’t sure what she got out of it, but it had an effect which she couldn’t deny or ignore. It has given her much food for thought. She started having conversations with her pastor and others at her church, and found that a surprising number of them have a love for the rosary. Not a lot of people, but more than you’d think. Sometimes they pray it together.

    Atheist, agnostic, and pagan friends have many mixed reactions. For some, it is a constant (and uncomfortable) reminder of what sits at the heart of my life; my faith. But my Buddhist friend thinks it is fantastic, and applauds that I am willing to boldly hang a cross in my car.The rosary has sparked several good conversations about christianity, and about Catholic theology.

    As well as providing opportunities to talk about my faith, it is a good reminder for me. When I get irritated and start driving fast, the cross has a tendency to swing wildly as I go around curves and corners. I reach out my hand to steady the cross, and it reminds me to pray instead of getting irritated, and to slow down. It reminds me, when I have a bad day, that it could be worse. Christ died for us so that it would not be worse. So that no matter how bad things get, I have someone to turn to, someone is with me. It is a constant reminder of love, God’s love for me, and a reminder that I need to be more loving.

    I know people who hang rosaries in the car just because. For no truly good reason. Because of that, I use to hate the custom. So I ask myself time and again why I have it there. And I always come away with a good answer.

  • I don’t have a problem with people displaying religious symbols in or on their cars, if done out of religious faith and in moderation. The fish symbol is quite popular with Evangelicals or Lutherans in these parts.

    Just so its not like the guy here in Milwaukee who has Scripture quotations plastered all over his car. No kidding – every square inch of the car is covered with them! Maybe he’s just covering up the rust…?

    My wife has an angel figurine hanging on string near the visor in her car. I usually tuck it behind the visor when she lets me drive her car (sorry, angel). That’s not due to any anti-angelic sentiments on my part. I just can’t stand the distraction of something swinging back and forth as I’m driving.

    Of course years ago when St. Christopher was in vogue people in Ireland had St. Christopher medals or statues in their cars – or on their bicycles (before cars were in general use by the populace – about 50 years ago…).
       

  • I have a small reproduction of the divine mercy painting of Jesus hanging on my rear view mirror.  It’s supposed to clip on to the sun visor or something, but it doesn’t fit on mine, so I improvised.

    I will worry about offending others when you can explain to me why it is any of their business.  I have to endure an endless craporama of vulgar and just plain stupid bumperstickers, as well as miscellaneous culture of death / culture of lamebrain materialism geegaws leering at me out of rear view windows every day.  I shrug it off as the burden of democracy.

  • I am not worried about offending folks when necessary (just ask my fiancee!) … but I think we should use “honey” to draw people into the Faith, not vinegar.. I think b/c so many “cultural Catholics” use the hanging rosary as “good luck charms”, it can be viewed as “Vinegar” by Evangelicals and NOT a discussion opener etc…

    But Theresa above gave some excellent examples where the Rosary was “honey”… so I may just wrong-headed (or it’s my Northern European blood!)

  • I think the most important thing is that we witness with deeds not only with the things we hang in our car.
    If you have a rosary or a bumper sticker that identifies you as Catholic you should be careful that your actions provide a good witness. don’t cut people off, gesticulate inappropriately, etc.

    If we love one another as followers of Christ our actions will be the greater witness.

  • I’m reminded while reading through this thread that Scripture tells us to go to our room and pray in private.

    In any case, my daughter went out with a guy who had rosary beads on the mirror.  She got the impression he was interested in her and a practicing Catholic.  He had recently broken up with his girlfriend, though at the time she didn’t know what sort of relationship it had been.  I think it was the second or third date that he took her to dinner and gave her a nonstop monologue about the wonders of his former girlfriend, with whom he had apparently had a sexual relationship.  That was their last date.  This guy was a doctoral student, so it wasn’t a lack of brains.  Wisdom, however…

    It was the last time she dated a guy with rosary beads hanging.  After that, when she saw beads on the mirror, she ran.

    Another time I’ll tell you about the guy who carried a Bible in his car. 

    Personally, I’m in favor of clear vision so as to avoid accidents.  Consider that my Christian witness.

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