Friday, March 08, 2013

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS - " THE POPE'S DAD WAS A TRUCKIE!"?

THE GREAT BELL SEEN ON THE LEFT OF THE FACADE
AS ONE LOOKS AT ST. PETER'S BASILICA
FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS INDEED but, whoever is elected as the next Vicar of Christ on Earth, whilst there will be great joy and excitement - especially if it is someone from Africa or Latin America, it will not be the same as the glorious surge of joy that greeted the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on 19th April, 2005.

The reason is quite simple :

Firstly, Cardinal Ratzinger was already exceptionally well known throughout the world, both on account of his writings and because of his 25 years tenure as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and,

Secondly, because of his reputation as the staunch defender of Catholic orthodoxy.

Those intimately concerned with the welfare of the Catholic Church, now in the Internet age more numerous and better informed than ever before, knew all about the new Pope and could not have been happier to see him elected. Indeed he was probably the best known Pope in all history at the time of his election.

IT WILL NOT BE THE SAME

So , whoever is elected, there will not be the same universal degree of knowledge and recognition of the man's standing. The elected Pope might be well known in his own Continent, or defined area of expertise, but not one of the Cardinals in the Conclave has the degree of universal recognition that Joseph Ratzinger possessed.

We will thus need , of necessity to strive to find out what we can about the man elected, and no doubt the Media will have a field day seeking out the basic details and then trying to sniff out some non PC element in his record, or something more  earthy . One can imagine if Cardinal Scola ( Archbishop of Milan) is elected, the headline " Pope's Dad was a Truckie!"  swamping more serious consideration of the Cardinal's achievements. 

WHAT WILL BE THE SAME

Whatever about our foreknowledge of the man to be elected, one thing will be the same as it has always been, for Benedict XVI and each of his predecessors - the man elected is the one the Holy Spirit has chosen.

 Even that assurance can lead to surprising results. We do not have to look far back to the election of Pope John Paul I. It is said that without the shock of his seemingly premature death after a brief Pontificate of only 33 days, the Cardinals would never have elected Cardinal Karol Wojtyla who became our beloved Blessed Pope John Paul II.  God's ways are not our ways. 

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