Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Candidates for the March Conclave

Cardinal Angelo Scola - Milan
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez - Honduras
Cardinal Leonardi Sandri - Argentina
Cardinal Mark Ouellet - Canada
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco - Genoa
Cardinal peter Turkson - Ghana
Cardinal Timoth Dolan USA

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Let the Conclave Start - A New Pope for Holy Week & Easter

Vatican Raises Possibility of Early March Conclave

AP Photo Alessandra Tarantino

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican raised the possibility Saturday that the conclave to elect the next pope might start sooner than March 15, the earliest date possible under current rules that require a 15-20 day waiting period after the papacy becomes vacant. Vatican spokesman The Rev. Federico Lombardi said that the Vatican rules on papal succession are open to interpretation and that "this is a question that people are discussing." "It is possible that church authorities can prepare a proposal to be taken up by the cardinals on the first day after the papal vacancy" to move up the start of conclave, Lombardi said. He explained that the 15-20 day rule is in place to allow time for the arrival of "all those (cardinals) who are absent" to take part in the conclave in the usual circumstances of convening after a pope dies. But in this case, the cardinals already know that this pontificate will end on Feb. 28 with the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, and therefore can get to Rome in plenty of time to take part in the conclave, Lombardi said. The date of the conclave's start is important because Holy Week begins March 24, with Palm Sunday Mass followed by Easter Sunday on March 31. In order to have a new pope in place in time for the most solemn liturgical period on the church calendar, he would need to be installed as pope by Sunday, March 17. Given the tight time-frame, speculation has mounted that some sort of arrangement would be made to start the conclave earlier than a strict reading of the law would allow. Questions about the start of the conclave have swirled ever since Benedict announced on Feb. 11 that he would retire, the first pontiff in 600 years to abdicate rather than stay in office until death. As a result, his decision has created a host of questions about how the Vatican will proceed, given that its procedures for the so-called "sede vacante" - or vacant seat - period between papacies won't begin with a pope's death. Lombardi also gave more details about Benedict's final audiences and plans for retirement, saying already 35,000 people have requested tickets for his final general audience to be held in St. Peter's Square on Feb. 27. He said Benedict would spend about two months in the papal summer retreat at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome immediately after his abdication, to allow enough time for renovations to be completed on his retirement home - a converted monastery inside the Vatican walls. That means Benedict would be expected to return to the Vatican, no longer as pope, around the end of April or beginning of May, Lombardi said. He was asked if and when the pope would meet with his successor and whether he would participate in his installation Mass; like many open questions about the end of Benedict's papacy, both issues simply haven't yet been resolved, Lombardi said.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI

Now that the shock has run its course on Pope Benedict's resignation as the Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Christ. Here are some of my thoughts and those of others. I love Pope Benedict XVI. He's a brilliant, holy, and blessed servant of God. He connected this generation to that of his predecessor Pope John Paul II. No one on that joyous day in April 2005, thought his papacy would be very long, he was already 78 years old. I loved his sweet Bavarian accent, it reflected his humility and his love for his flock. I love how he faked out his critics by making his first Encyclical "Caritas in Veritate" about Christian charity. His stature as a theologian is world renown, and his voice resonated against the evils of the world, partcicularly the extreme danger of relativism. The Pope demonstrated Catholic discernment in his remarks. We Christians are not robots whom God dictates to do this or that. There aren't voices going off randomly that tell us what to do after we read a particular Scripture passage. The Pope tells us,  After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God... He is fully aware of the magnimity of his decision, conscious of his role in the Church at this moment and the future. He is the Servant of the Servant. After this discernment and mutiple examination of conscience he concludes I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. He is doing this of his own volition, For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter... It is in our acts of true freedom with the guidance from God that we discern what and where God wants us to be. This is the model for discovering our vocations, as we read in Sunday's Gospel after Peter's fishing encounter with Christ, he and the others, When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.
We are family in this Church and Our Holy Father has decided to pass the mantel of Shepherding us to anothyer man. We need to pray this Lenten season that God through the Holy Spirit brings to us a vibrant, dynamic, holy and spiritual leader who will stem the tide of secularism, with the Truth of Jesus Christ.