Who can be Pope?

Who can be Pope?

A common question regarding the upcoming conclave is who can be elected Pope? This web site offers some answers. Much is made of the fact that it doesn’t have to be one of the cardinals at the conclave, but that any man who is Catholic who can be ordained is eligible. However, that is so unlikely as to be not worth mentioning.

In theory, any man can be elected who is willing to be baptized and ordained a priest and bishop. He does not have to be at the conclave. The last noncardinal elected was Urban VI (1378). The last cardinal to be elected pope who was a priest but not a bishop was Gregory XVI (1831). Callistus III (Affonso Borgia 1455) was the last person to be elected who was not a priest. Most likely a cardinal elector will be elected, all of whom today are bishops.

I agree. The next Pope will enter the Sistine Chapel and will cast a vote.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
22 comments
  • ..“who is willing to be baptized and ordained a priest and bishop.” So you would think the indiv. would have to be properly trained in order to be “ordained” a priest….so I dont see how anyone (a layperson)could be elected a pope. I guess maybe in the early church(forget my west. civ.)it was likely.

  • So you are saying you don’t think Mel has a chance…..well seriously I wish they would consider Archbishop Chaput.

  • Much is made of the fact that it doesnible.

    Maybe you and Melanie better hold off putting any deposits down Dom.

  • Jaime wrote:

    Well on the bright side, yougy of LOTR be accepted as penance?

    Would Tolkien’s birthday become a feast day?

    So many things to ponder..

  • “As a priest, he was intensely interested in the well being of those he encountered.”  I’m sure there are many times he was, and they shouldn’t be blotted out by his other activities.  However, I remind you of an event at a funereal in which Cdl. Law, upon being told by a victim of their experience, placed his hand on the victim’s head and told him that he was now bound by the seal of the confessional to never speak of his victimization again.  That is, if he ever told anyone else about being anally sodomized by a priest, he would be excommunicated.  That’s damnable.  Hell, that’s damnable in four or five different ways.

    I don’t find it that difficult to be forgiving of incompetence; cowardice is a little harder, but we’ve all been in those kinds of situations.  But that?  That’s not just incompetence, or poor team management skills or little white lies – that’s whoring your own Mother the Church to cover your own ass.  It’s a sin, not a “mistake.” 

    As far as holding him accountable goes, he hasn’t been arrested yet.  I Don’t Know Why other than that he was conveniently given a position outside the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts judicial system.  And the chances of him being prosecuted by a Boston DA, who’s actually managed to locate his own testicles, is fairly small.  Pedophiles themselves have seldom had better friends than those sitting on the bench and serving in the DA’s office.  I doubt the DA’s office is going to trouble a retired Bishop, even if it’s an election year.

    In all charity, I have to hope that he now knows what he did.  That he knows the consequences of his actions and inactions, not only to himself but to God knows how many others.  While we cannot excuse such sin, we can certainly thank God that such is forgiven by His Grace.  We can rejoice with Cardinal Law that where sin abounds, Grace abounds even more.  We can, with the angels, “Amen” that reconciliation.  We can thank God that a way has been made.

    But to minimize the sin is to minimize the sacrifice that paid for that sin, and the blood it cost to make that way.

    No.

    —Bubbles

  • However, I remind you of an event at a funereal in which Cdl. Law, upon being told by a victim of their experience, placed his hand on the victim’s head and told him that he was now bound by the seal of the confessional to never speak of his victimization again. 

    Can you cite where that happened and who that happened to? Is there independent confirmation from a third party? Is this victim quoted somewhere or was it passed on as “someone told me this happened to them”?

    I ask because it’s so out of character that I have a hard time believing it.

    Often these little stories get passed on and are accepted as Gospel truth, but no one can substantiate them.

  • For crying out loud Bubbles, if the DA could have indicted him he would have done it.

    If you look at even only the Paul Shanley saga, you’d have to prosecute tons of people – parents who knew and wouldn’t press charges for various reasons, judges and lawyers who facilitated payoffs, bishops who knew, priest friends of Paul Shanley who knew, lots of the gay community who saw Shanley with boys inside gay bars in Boston and who did nothing. All of these people let Shanley wander around for years and years and the cops could do nothing.

    There is no minimizing of the Sacrifice here.

    I wish NECN archived their shows because, as Alice mentions (Alice, love what you write but it would be so much easier if you used paragraphs!) there was a documentary which aired last year (“Who can fathom the human heart?”) which really opened my eyes to all the people who knew what Shanley was up to and who did nothing. In fact, Elaine Noble cried on that show and lamented that no one in the gay community ever spoke out when they knew what Shanley was up to.

  • Would he choose the name Pope Red Sox I?

    No, Pope Patriot I

    Would Boston clam chowder be the only proper meal on Fridays during lent?

    Not chowder which is only an appetizer. Lobster!

    Would viewing the full extended trilogy of LOTR be accepted as penance?

    Penance?! It would be a required part of any festal celebration.

    Would Tolkien whether this is not the work of another idealogy of evil, more subtle and hidden,perhaps intent upon exploiting human rights themselves against man and against the family.” The Pope would certainly consider the support for same-sex sex acts by Fr. Bob Bullock and Fr. Walter Cuenin to be acts that are supporting the ideology of evil.
    Yet, there are some reports in the media that the pope should be blamed for the exploitation of children by those who are engaging in degrading same-sex sex acts! And these same media personnel praise the work of Fr. Cuenin and his associates in Voice of the Faithful who considered Fr. Bob Bullock and , to this day, also consider Fr. Cuenin to be a priests of integrity!
    How twisted can things get!!!

  • Substantiation:  No sweat.  The victim’s name is Tom Blanchette, one of Fr. Birmingham’s Sudbury victims.  Mr. Blanchette gave testimony to this exchange in a sworn affadavit which can be found here.  Cardinal Law’s deposition which mentions this is found here.

    From what I could see, Law neither admitted nor denied making the statement.  Rather, he said he couldn’t imagine ever saying that.

    Given Law’s gifts for “episcopal prevarication” and selective memory retention, I find Blanchette far more credible.

    RE:  DA & Indictment.  Agree to disagree.  I don’t think any DA wants to ever bring a Bishop up on charges; and certainly not in Boston.  Personally, I think it’s telling that there was never a plea arrangement to avoid prosecution.  There was plenty of justification for a grand jury investigation of Law.  Prosecution of a child-molesting Priest?  That’s bread and circuses to the crowd.  Prosecution of a retiring Bishop, in Catholic city?  I’m thinking that’s highly unwise from a career standpoint.  I’m sure I can be wrong here, I just don’t think I am.

  • Can anyone forget this letter from Cardinal Law to Paul Shanley:

    (final two paragraphs)
    This letter provides me with an opportunity to thank you in the name of the people of the Archdiocese for the close to 30 years you have been in the service of God and His people. That is an impressive record and all of us in the Archdiocese are grateful to you for your priestly care.

    Without doubt over all of these years of generous and zealous service the lives and hearts of many people have been touched by your sharing of the Lord’s Spirit. You are truly appreciated for the efforts you have made. You will be in my prayers and be assured of the inestimable value to the Church of your prayers.

    With grateful rembrance all my blessings upon you and all whom you serve so well.  I remain,
    Sincerely yours in Christ,
    (handwritten signature)
    Archbishop of Boston

    for the full text : http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ma-boston/archives/PatternAndPractice/0020-RCAB-00664-00665.pdf

    Cardinal Law should be in jail but the bottom line is he knows too much and he will be protected as long as there are people in power who need his silence.

  • I’m not saying the cardinal didn’t do stupid things, but there’s nothing in his deposition that convinces me actually said that. It’s completely out of character because it’s so patently false.

    Like the letter Mary quotes, Cardinal Law was more likely to be patronizingly “pastoral” in minimizing the agony of the victims or the monstrosity of the sin. Yet it was not out of malice, but a misunderstanding of the meaning of forgiveness.

    I can’t imagine and can’t believe he would actually try to bind someone under the seal of the confessional in such a manner. It goes against not just my recollection, but against the recollections of every person I’ve met or interviewed who worked with him.

    He was not the evil, heartless bastard that some people try to make him out to be. He was more the bumbling incompetent who trusted too much in others.

    Of course, the hatred for the cardinal is so great that I could go around and around with everyone this and get nowhere. Those who knew the cardinal, but criticize him for his actions, say one thing. Those who don’t know him except for what they’re read say another. I think that says it all.

  • http://www.survivorsfirst.org/summary.htm

    164 priests accused of sex abuse in Boston. And Cardinal Law didn’t know and couldn’t have known about the magnitude of the problem here? 

    Come on.

    The only diocese with more than that is Los Angeles.  Is there anyone here who would like to defend Cardinal Mahoney?

    Sometimes incompetence if you really want to argue that, when it rises to the levels that it has in Boston does constitute evil.

  • “He was not the evil, heartless bastard that some people try to make him out to be.”

    No, I don’t think he is either.  I think he is a fallen man in a fallen world.  He made choices, sometimes based on his desire to do what was right, and sometimes based perhaps on fear or confusion or cowardice.  I do not believe for a moment that any Bishop said, “To hell with the kids!  We protect our own.”  Well, maybe one or two.  But I don’t think Law is one of them.

    As I get older, I’ve begun to realize that, when confronted with a problem, usually the worst thing anyone can do is turn their head and hope the problem goes away on its own.  And I think that’s often what happened.  Confronted with the figuratively unbelievable, many chose literal unbelief as a response.  A very, minor thing, with enormous consequences for others, and for themselves.

    Cardinal Law was in a position of enormous responsibility.  Whether through incompetence or self-interest, he clearly wasn’t up to it.  At the very least, it was a dereliction of duty to remain.

    Although, I have to say that there is one area where his authority was exercised with all propriety:  In the early ‘90s when he was complaining about how that bad ol’ debbil the press was printing the fact that there were child molesters in the priesthood and that he was involved in covering it up, he ”…call[ed] down the Power of God on them.”  Well, he got his prayer answered… in spades.

  • Several victims have said they did not reveal their abuse because the abusive priest told them it was confessional matter.

    It appears that at least some Catholics thought that the seal of the confessional bound the penitent, and could even be invoked outside the sacrament. This is not true, but Catholics’ grasp of the finer points of Church law is often hazy.

    I found Blanchette’s remark about Cardinal Law odd, but other
    people have reported similar incidents.

  • Recently, +Olmstead asked Msgr. Fushek to change a lot of the abuses in the LifeTeen Mass. He absolutely complied, and – at least in theory – those abuses should no longer be happening in a LifeTeen ministry.

  • Is there anyone here who would like to defend Cardinal Mahoney?

    Yes I would and already have and continue to do so. Not his acts but his soul.

    It’s called “prayer” and is in the not-so-fine-print of the Catholic contract.

    Sometimes incompetence if you really want to argue that, when it rises to the levels that it has in Boston does constitute evil.

    Okay. How about gossip? When it rises to the levels that is has on this thread, does that also constitute evil?

    Cardinal Law should be in jail but the bottom line is he knows too much and he will be protected as long as there are people in power who need his silence.

    Why tell us? If you really are certain of your facts—and you are pretty unambigious about your certainty—what are you doing about it? Posting on a blog?

    In your own words: “Come on.”

    Lee:

    It appears that at least some Catholics thought that the seal of the confessional bound the penitent, and could even be invoked outside the sacrament. This is not true, but Catholicsmment_author>
    wersectionseven@yahoo.com

    24.128.157.7
    2005-04-07 12:33:18
    2005-04-07 16:33:18
    I’m new to this list, but took the time to read through the entire thread. 

    It appears that some who are posting to this thread have had personal interaction with Cardinal Law and find him (to sum it up) personable.  While those of us who haven’t met Cardinal Law can only assess what we know of him publicly. 

    Frankly, I’m not terribly moved by those who find Cardinal Law personable (the same can be said of many more notorious characters).  I also can’t believe that a man who ascends to the post of Archpriest at one of the four largest basilicas in Rome is “naive” and a “blunderer.”  I suggest that the first term can be applied to those who find Cardinal Law personable.

  • And I suggest that someone who makes judgments not on personal experience of an individual, but on only what they have seen in the media is themselves naive.

    My statements are based not just on my own impressions, but on the statements of many priests and laypeople of the archdiocese, none of them fawning sycophants.

    He may be a naive blunderer, but he’s also very political. Those things are not exclusive. Look at Bill Clinton.

  • Well, I guess that’s what it comes down to, isn’t it?  From where do we get our information, and whom do we believe?  I’m a little puzzled by your statment that I (and those “who make judgments not on personal experience of an individual…”) obtain information from the media.  The context of this statement implies “popular media,” although it is left unsaid (and the assumption that this is the case is unfounded).  However, those of us who have not had personal interaction with an individual must obtain information from somewhere.  You stated that you base your statements on “the statements of many priests and laypeople of the archdiocese.”  I am also relying on the statements of others who have had personal experience with Cardinal Law.  These are people whose statements must be at odds with the statements of those whom you are using as your source of information.  This brings us back to the questions of “from where do we get our information, and whom do we believe?”

    Although, it may be another matter entirely for those who believe that Cardinal Law knew what was going on re: perpetual abuse by some members of the clergy, knew about and aided in the cover-up of these crimes; and still defend his actions or lack thereof that allowed the abuse to continue.  Is this the case?

  • Icredibility, but I’m just passing the information on because Fushek is well known in youth ministry circles.

    Fushek, by the way, was the righthand man, i.e. vicar general, under former Phoenix bishop Thomas O’Brien, who resigned after being convicted of a hit-and-run manslaughter. I do admit I have some disagreements with Fushek’s philosophy of youth ministry and the way he celebrates Mass aimed at teens.

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    garvin2@omuonline.net

    63.238.104.2
    2005-04-06 08:57:36
    2005-04-06 12:57:36
    In my early years as a youth minister we did Life Teen at our Parish.  I didn’t like the way Mass was done but the program is solid otherwise. 

     

  • Personally I find this to be very sad. I grew up in the diocese of Phoenix and I spoke with Msgr. Dale many times. Every encounter I had with him left me feeling loved and inspired.

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