Monday, March 11
"Black smoke" is expected from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel tomorrow indicating that God has not made up his mind yet as to who should be his representative on Earth until the Messiah returns. With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the College of Cardinals, the men in the funny hats, must vote for his successor. 77 votes are necessary, a two-thirds majority of the 115 votes, to elect the next Pope.
World interest in this pick should be at a fever pitch given that the Prophecy of St. Malachy predicts that this will be the final Pope. In religious circles, the selecting of the next Pontifex Maximus combines the excitement of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, World Series, Stanley Cup, and Superbowl.
The politics of the process is fascinating. It's supposed to be super secret and anyone divulging what's going on is subject to getting ex-communicated, literally kicked out of the Catholic Church and being denied admission to Heaven.
Here's the scoop as I understand it: There are two camps, the status quo (AKA the "Romanists") and the reformers. The Romanists want to carry on business as usual and they are associated with running the Vatican via the Roman Curia, the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope.
Recent scandals in the Catholic Church have reached this level at the Vatican. Note the leaking of documents by the Pope's butler. The Pope Emeritus, the Pope who just resigned, commissioned an investigation and the results of the investigation will be given to the next Pope. There are rumors of financial improprities and even a gay sex ring in the Vatican. Given that the church has been dealing with child sexual abuse for some time, this could be explosive.
The next Pope is going to have to deal with this. Are there any Martin Luthers among the Cardinals who can reform this corrupt church? Does St. Malachy's Prophecy have any merit? Inquiring minds want to know. My hunch pick for the next guy to wear the big ring and funny hat is Cardinal Odilo Scherer.