Tuesday, April 19, 2005

No pressure or anything

Nobody can put you on the spot quite like an old friend. And, thanks to the Barking Spider, I've been recommended to you as a papal enclave handicapper.

The white smoke went up about a half-hour ago. I'm afraid that I won't live up to the pressure; in fact I've been hanging my own hat on Kathryn Jean Lopez's Corner updates, along with the local news broadcast. As of 12:36 PM, no announcement yet to the new man's identity, however.

My initial thought is that it won't be Cardinal Ratzinger. I like one of the two young Italians (whose names escape me currently), not because of the whole Italian pope thing but because it's likely the Cardinals will choose a young, dynamic priest in ironic counterpoint to John Paul II (who started out exactly that way 26+ years ago). Cardinal Arinze from Africa is also a contender.

Ratzinger may be looked upon unfairly as a chair-warmer - a man who was instrumental during the Second Vatican council forty years ago, and who would keep John Paul's legacy going while a "real pope" was planned. The problem there is that John Paul's declining health was a long-term concern; the Cardinals would have already been doing such planning. And I seriously doubt that the Church would look at it that way; I'm trying to get inside the secular head a little here, and it's such a confined area... Besides, the broadcast heavily features Notre Dame's Fr. Richard McBrien, who can give you all the non-Catholic thought you care to have.

The name? John Paul III seems like a lead-pipe cinch. If it is Cardinal Ratzinger, he may go Leo XIV, or perhaps Gregory (I think it would be VIII). Either choice would rock.

More in a bit...

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