Papal politics

Papal politics

The New York Times picks up on Hans Kung’s fevered imaginings that the spontaneous calls for Pope John Paul’s immediate canonization are part of an orchestrated campaign to influence the election of the next pope.

The movement for canonization may be tied to pre-conclave maneuvering. According to this interpretation, it is an effort to build a consensus of like-minded cardinals, or even to position one of John Paul’s inner circle as the best successor. The theory is that only someone of great weight, like a Cardinal Ratzinger or Cardinal Ruini, someone close to the pope or his thinking, could follow a man of such spiritual magnitude.

Emphasizing canonization is an effort to show that “only continuity is allowed in the succession of John Paul,” said Alberto Melloni, a historian of Vatican conclaves.

So did the cardinals plant the “Santo Subito” signs in the crowd during the funeral? Did they hand out fliers to the hundreds of thousands of people chanting for Pope John Paul to be canonized? Have they organized a campaign among Catholics around the world?

I think there are some people who are afraid that outpouring of love and respect for John Paul will lead to a like-minded successor and can’t believe that such expressions are spontaneous. Like the Democrats who continue to believe that Bush won the presidency (twice) only because many of their voters were “disenfranchised” rather than winning fair and square, some Catholics are mentally preparing themselves to find reasons why a particular kind of pope will be elected that don’t mean that he is the best possible candidate. No, it will have to be that politics and nefarious backroom dealing put an unwanted pope in office. What a sad way to live.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli