Monday, April 18, 2005

And so it begins, the process to select a new Pope.

I watched a CNN report tonight about the Papal selection process. They gave what I thought was a pretty good report , revealing that the next pope will come from one of three camps: 1) Social Justice Cardinals, e.g. those who are concerned about the ever increasing gap between the rich and the poor. 2) Catholic supremacist, e.g. those who are concerned with preserving Rome's authority over the increasingly rebellious American Church. Folks in this camp oppose women for the priesthood and also oppose contraception and gay marriage. The third camp is spiritual revivalists, namely those out to win souls for the Church in countries like China and in the Middle East and Africa. Their position could best be described as a cross between 1) and 2).



Me, I hope a Social Justice Cardinal wins. I believe that this is the great contribution that the first 21st century pope can make, defining the issue of the gap between rich and poor and reminding the world that having a large poor population is drag on all of society. Problem is, conservatives equate this view with Socialism and Marxism so there is an inbred bias against it.
However I'll maintain my position, this is the place the next Pope can make a real impact.

Lets face it the American church is not going away and they will continue to push Rome. As John Allen of CNN points out: " "I'm pretty sure the next pope is not going to be an American," he said. "The Vatican takes its diplomatic independence far too seriously to elect a pope from the world's lone superpower."

The other issue is the math, which is stacked against a non-European. Here are the stats for the College of Cardinals:


CONCLAVE GEOGRAPHY
Below is the geographic distribution of cardinals voting in the conclave:
Europe: 58
Latin America: 20
North America: 14
Africa: 11
Asia: 10
Oceania: 2

Leading countries:
Italy: 20
United States: 11
Germany: 6
Spain: 6
France: 5
Brazil: 4
Canada: 3
Colombia: 3
India: 3
Mexico: 3
Poland: 3
Source: The Associated Press

I recently reread a great history about the Papacy called, " Hitlers Pope. The secret history of Pius XII" It's a great read and is not disrepectful of the Pontiff at all , despite the title.

May the best man win!

Skippy-san

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