Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Habemus Papum. Boy, that was fast.

Cardinal Josef Ratzinger was elected Pope on the second day of the Conclave. He chose the name Pope Benedict XVI.

I know he was John Paul II's right hand man during his papacy, but I still wonder if the new Pope is going to continue the outreach that JPII made to other faiths and to Catholics around the world.

If he doesn't keep the channels open between faiths and countries, I'll be sorely disappointed.

I'm surprised that they picked a 78-year-old. If John Paul II had survived another two years, Ratzinger couldn't even have attended the conclave, never mind voted in it. I suppose he COULD have been elected, as technically any baptized Catholic male can be picked. I'm not even sure they're REQUIRED to choose a priest, never mind a cardinal. But the age limit for cardinals taking part in the conclave is 80.

It makes me sincerely wonder why they chose a Pope who is of an age where they're likely to be meeting in conclave again sooner, rather than later. And all these descriptions of Benedict XVI as "hardline" conservative, and predictions that he'll undo all of Vatican II, though I think that's a bit of an extreme thing to say, make me uneasy.

But as for me... I'm responsible to live the same kind of life today as I was yesterday, as I was a few weeks ago when John Paul II was still living, and as I was prior to Cardinal Wojtyla's election to the papacy. The fact that one individual or another is leading the Church doesn't alter what God expects of ME one iota. So I'll keep right on doing what I've been doing. And I pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance for the new Pope, since the responsibility of leading 1 billion Catholics is beyond immense.

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