Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Shhh! We are trying to prepare for a Conclave.

Today, we find again, the Pope Emeritus in prayer for the Church. Each day it becomes clearer that he desired to continue the transformation of the Petrine ministry – bringing it back to its Patristic roots, begun by Blessed John Paul II, including a cultural change within the Curia. Even after two saintly Popes, the current culture is deeply ingrained. Nuncios unhappy, Curia is being severely criticized and it has been suggested that Cardinals are trying to influence a Papal election with the media:

Concern was expressed in the general congregation about leaks of confidential proceedings reported in Italian newspapers,” said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops media director. …The American cardinals have been the only ones to organize press conferences during the general congregation phase of the Sede Vacante period. Before the decision was made to maintain media silence, three press briefings were held at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, attracting outlets from all over the world. (College of Cardinals imposes media silence after breach) 

From a public affairs standpoint, the American Cardinals, in my opinion, were smart: answer questions you are able to and refuse the rest i.e., control the message. One of THE most important questions in public affairs is, “Are you going to be part of the conversation because the conversation will continue whether you are part of it or not.” It also seems that there may be a hint of jealously as John Thavis shares on his blog,

He [Fr. Lombardi] said it was not up to him to tell cardinals what they can and cannot say to the press. But he added that the conclave was not a congress or a synod, in which abundant information is given. On the contrary, he said, this process has “a tradition of confidentiality in order to protect the freedom of members of the college.”

Therefore, he said he was not surprised that the rest of the cardinals may have reacted to the U.S. availability to the press – especially as the cardinals deepened their discussions this week. He noted that no other national group had decided to give the kind of briefings as the Americans were doing. (Gag order on the cardinals)

I know my preceding comments sound unabashedly pro-American, and possibly to my detriment. Ad contra: One might think the Americans were the problem with info leaks – but not so as we are told…And, the Cardinals know how to “take care of their own”:

However, the real reason for the cancelation was that some Italian cardinals were divulging too much information to the Italian press. At this morning’s general meeting, the names of those who raised eyebrows were read off in front of the assembled cardinals. (College of Cardinals imposes media silence after breach)

It is clear that the transformation of the Vatican is a work in progress. Even with all the cordial criticizing and polite positioning among the Cardinals, I am truly convinced that the Lord is still in control. I am reminded what history reports when Napoleon took Pius VII prisoner and flew into another one of his tirades exclaiming to Secretary of State, Ercole Cardinal Consalvi that he would “crush” the Church. The Cardinal’s response? The cardinal sighed and shook his head over the emperor’s naiveté:

“If in 1,800 years we clergy have failed to destroy the Church, do you really think that you’ll be able to do it?”

Yep, we are Catholic and Jesus is in charge regardless of our stupidity and/or corruption. And this fills me with great hope.

Share with me your thoughts and choices: Papal Election 2013: Your Vote.

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