Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

To Start or Not to Start…That is the Question

CNS reported today that the College of Cardinals is working hard. We all are anxious to know what are the qualities that have been compiled for the next Pontiff. While the end is important, the process seems equally logical and important.

So what is happening:

  • Almost all the Cardinal-Electors are finally in Rome
    • Cardinal Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam arrives tomorrow
  • A recommended time limit has been set for comments
    • Translation: Crunch time
    • The result: 18 commentary periods during a three-hour meeting
  • Sistine Chapel is almost set (Don’t believe me – check out the video below)
    • Platform is being erected, stoves being set up and the cloth wall hangings are being sewn

All that being said, the Italians want a conclave date set to elect a Pontiff quickly while the Americans want to take their time to get to know everyone. The former schema favors an election of a member of the Curia or a diplomat while the former favors the election of a non-institutional Cardinal.

At the core of the American’s concern to move slowly is scandal. Jean Lopez with National Review Online, reports during an interview with George Weigel that he stated:

But there is no doubt, here in Rome, that the dysfunction in the Vatican bureaucracy will be a major topic of the cardinals’ conversations before the conclave is enclosed. Benedict XVI was ill-served by men in whom he reposed trust and to whom he gave great authority, and everyone knows it — except, alas, those who ill-served him. (The Corner)

For this reason Cardinals O’Malley and George have been outspoken on the issue of first understanding the Vatileaks and Curial corruption and then the qualities really needed for the next pontiff. To be fair, it is not just the Americans who want answers reports Paolo Mastrolilli with Vatican Insider:

Foreign cardinals, on the other hand, would like more time, to get to grips with the Vatileaks case and possibly reach a consensus on a foreign figure for Pope: a pastor, a surprise. (U.S. bishops: “We aren’t ready to start the Conclave”)

So, we need to continue to “pray, hope and don’t worry”. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

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