Monday, February 11, 2013
Well, not quite yet but for the first time since 1415 without laying a Roman Pontiff to eternal rest, we will see the white smoke and hear the bells tolls as the words Habemus Papam are announced to the world.
I've been meaning to get back to blogging for quite some time now, but with a newborn at home it leaves little time for anything extra. I had decided to make my re-entry into the blog world as I journey through lent, but then Pope Benedict XVI came onto my TV this morning renouncing the ministry of the Bishop of Rome and the Chair of St. Peter.
This brought to my mind the course of events that led Josef Cardinal Ratzinger to become His Holiness, the Pope of Rome. It reminded me that after a time of sorrow for the Catholics of my generation came a time of excitement and hope, and ultimately history.
The days leading up to Pope Benedicts election were met with much speculation on who was to take over the vacant See of Rome. Would it be another Italian like in the 455 years between Pope Adrian VI (of present day Netherlands) and Blessed John Paul II? Would it be a pope from the Third world where Catholicism is blooming at very high rates? Would it be an American Cardinal? The media talked about this for days before the white smoke plummed out of the Sistine Chapels chimney.
I was in a political science class across the street from the Universities Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas when the bells started incessantly tolling. We were in class for another 20 minutes and the bells still had not stopped. When class was dismissed I walked over the the chapel and joined the growing group of people that were fixated on the television. We where watching images of the smoke coming from the chapel debating on whether it was white or not. And waiting. The priest at the time thought for sure he would be from Africa, everyone was offering their speculations. Then it happened, Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez came out flanked by preists, and said "Dear brothers and sisters; I announce to you a great joy! Habemus Papam!"
The 265th Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church would be, Josef Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI.
Now already, some sites just two hours after his announcement of resignation, the names are buzzing. An African, Cardinal Peter Turkson? A Canadian, Cardinal Marc Ouellet? A Nigerian, Cardinal Francis Arinze? An Italian, Cardinal Angelo Scola? There are others too, more Italians, A South American, another German.
One this is for sure, The conclave has its work cut out for it. Over the next few weeks leading up to the election of our next supreme Pontiff I will profile some of the Cardinals marked out to be on the short list for papacy. I'll also explore a little deeper the electors who will have the duty of filling the crimson shoes of our Holy Father.
Who do you think will be our next Vicar of Christ?