Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Candid Conclave Candidates & Current Concerns

Here we are the night before the opening of the Conclave wondering what will happen tomorrow. Frankly, no one knows what will happen and who will emerge as the 266th Bishop of Rome. Two men whose opinion I value have weighed in on this occasion: John Allen and Fr. Robert Barron. First, John Allen and then Fr. Barron.

John Allen, a prominent Vaticanista, provides some important points to remember in his blog, Picking the pope a contest among four camps during the Conclave process. Initially, are a few thoughts to consider prior to the vote:

  1. All the Cardinals were picked by Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI
    • There will be little if any ideological clashes
  2. This Conclave is very different from 2005:
    • This one follows an abdication not a death
    • Only two Cardinals had been in Conclave before, now 50
    • Cardinal Ratzinger was a clear front-runner in 2005 while there is no one who comes close in respect, influence and/or voice
    • Simple majority was an option in 2005 – Benedict removed that possiblity thus requiring a two-thirds majority and inevitable comprimises
    • There is no built-in advantage for any candidate unlike Cardinal Ratzinger who was the dean of the College of Cardinals (Cardinal Bertone is not considered a serious candidate – even as camerlengo)

Mr. Allen also broke down the four camps which I will briefly summarize:

  1. Governance
    • This camp believes in a strong internal structure and control. They desire a return to a strong administration as a central (no pun intended) concern
    • Typically, governance is code word for “Italian” who seem to believe they have a genetic advantage in ecclesial administration
  2. Pastoral
    • This camp is looking for someone who is not an ideologue but someone who can heal the rifts in the clergy and among the laity
    • Translation: No bureaucrats
  3. Third World
    • Camp “Third World” believes that a face needs to be put on a growing Catholic poplution outside of the West
    • Statistically: More than two-thirds of the Church are not from the West
    • Nota Bene: All agree that Islam is a top priority for the next Pontiff
  4. Evangelical
    • Of course, this camp would like intellectual continuity with more of a missionary zeal
    • Characteristics of this individual include superior communication skills, media appeal, and proficent at teaching

Next, Fr. Barron has been meeting with the movers & shakers as well as all who cover them. This evening provides installment number three. Here is the summary:

  • There are two to three very credible American candidates
    • Cardinal Dolan
      • Continues to be a phenom
    • Cardinal Sean O’Malley
      • Impressive linguistic skills: 8 languages
      • Well respected in South America
      • Loved by the people because of his humility and iron will
    •  Cardinal Donald Wuerl (Surprise name)
      • He is known for his administration, efficiency and commitment to the New Evangelization
      • He also has flawless Italian and spent a good amount of time in the Eternal City

Tomorrow it all begins. Solemn Mass is 5:00am EDT. Don’t forget to weigh in on your pick for Pope. See you tomorrow…

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