Tomorrow the Conclave begins. And we all start looking at the smoke stack and sometimes, it isn’t always clear right away what color the smoke actually is…so my reflections on this last pre-Conclave days.
1. The Conclave begins tomorrow. That doesn’t mean we have a Pope elected tomorrow. In fact, the Cardinals may not even vote tomorrow. Because the Cardinals have closed themselves off literally and virtually, we won’t know if voting even takes place or how often.
2. The Cardinals don’t have to bow down to the laity’s desire for a Pope quickly. While they surely feel the pressure of those of us who want to hear _________, our Pope back in Mass, or want a picture of the Holy Father in their homes, the authority they answer to is God. Not us fallen humans. And by allowing the Holy Spirit to direct them in their decisions, they are doing what is best for all of us. If that takes a week or a day, that is what they are supposed to do.
3. Where will this next Pope be from? I have no idea, I was sure we would have an African or Latin American Pope when Benedict was chosen. Not a European. And definitely never occurred to me he would be a German. After all, John Paul was the first non-Italian in several hundred years. I think way too much emphasis has been placed on where the next Pope will come from. What is important is that his election was guided by the Holy Spirit and that he himself is guided by the example of Christ. Therefore, it really does not matter as much as we believe it will.
4. What will the next Pope be named? I can say which names I like: Gregory, Leo, Clement, John and Linus. Not as smiley about Boniface, Pelagius, and Innocent. Just not fans of the names. I think just to get at the Malachy ding-dongs Peter would be good, but since my intentions there is to annoy/mess with people, I don’t list is as a favorite (although it’s always in play if I have another son!). The 83rd Pope is Conon. I’m not sure how they pronounced it at the time, but I do wonder if it is pronounced like Conan, that would be kind of pop-culturally cool. It would make late night tv more interesting for sure.
So, yeah, four things I’m thinking about today. Can’t wait to find out, but doing so prayefully.