Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Can anyone be Pope?


In theory it is possible any male Catholic can be elected Pope, really I wonder if it is possible for anyone to be Pope, it is an impossible job. I find I am tired after celebrating four Sunday Masses, hearing a few confessions and doing a couple of baptisms, and I am quarter of a century younger than Pope Benedict, and I haven't had a week reading boxes of documents, meeting heads of state, bishops, cardinal etc. and frankly my decisions do not affect millions.

The Italians have a saying, "Fat Pope, thin Pope", the problem is each successive Pope has to fit into the Papacy created by his predecessor. Benedict is not JPII, what Benedict hates JPII loved.
There is a very interesting short article here about the various problems faced by Pope Benedict, some are external, like the ridiculous Vatican press office and its mishandling various issues, including the sex abuse crisis, others come from Benedict's own gentleness, shyness and reserve. I am sure that the author is right about what he says Pope Benedicts isolation, those who work in the Curia often complain about the Pope's meticulous examination of document and his caution. Yet all that he says about Benedict speaks of the immense weight of the Cross he bears and of his great sanctity. It also makes me wonder if anyone can actually be Pope and if it is possible for a good man to be a good Pope.

13 comments:

August said...

In practice though, didn't JPII effectively remove the possibility of any male Catholic being elected Pope?
Can they really follow a prompting of the Holy Spirit, or are they forced to work off a list?

Conchúr said...

The only reason being Bishop of Rome seems such an impossible task is because of the faithlessness, spinelessness and laziness of the national bishops conferences. They refuse any responsibility and childishly expect Rome to clean up their messes. So much for subsidiarity.

Oona said...

what Benedict hates, Jp2 loved ?

I think some revisionist history is going on here. These 2 men were different sides of the same coin for more than 30 years. One did not sneeze without the other knowing. Yes, they are quite different personalities, with the same vision. JP2 did the excavating (long job), B16 came and sowed the seeds.

wretchedwithhope said...

the linked article's compare and contrast with this Pope and his predecessor is mean. He characterizes Pope Benedict as, "always something of an isolated figure"; after almost three decades of the globe-trotting monster-masser, party in a papal robe (his last few years notwithstanding but even that became spectacle), anyone would seem smaller, 'more isolated'; i.e. more real.

there's a thing that apparently people who don't polka properly with the rest of the die-hard re-inventors have to suffer - a mean little poison called the 'exile of the ignored'... Oscott college - which Pope Benedict visited during his visit to England - refuseing to allow seminarians access to the Extraordinary Form is mutiny - how characteristic is or was this actioning of ignoring Pope Benedict's push for continuity?when the pirates have taken over the ship what's to be done?

GOR said...

Being Pope is certainly a daunting job. Who would want it?

We are feeling loss at present and much is being made of what Pope Benedict didn’t achieve – reform of the Reform, the SSPX reconciliation, the proper interpretation of Vat II, reunification with the Orthodox, Curial reform, the New Evangelization, etc. etc.

But is any Pope completely ‘successful’…? Did St. Peter feel somewhat depressed at his seeming failure to convert Rome? It would take almost 250 more years and over 30 more Popes before that became even a likelihood (some would say it’s still not completed!).

Pope Paul III probably felt bad that he would not see the conclusion of the Council of Trent. It would take fifteen more years and three more Popes after him before it was finally completed.

Closer to our day, did Pope John XXIII feel let down that he would not see the Council he inaugurated, reach its conclusion? Or John Paul the First feel shortchanged at his short reign - measured in days?

I suspect Pope Benedict is well aware of the limitations of every occupant of the Papal throne. “One man sows, another reaps” is very true - especially of Popes.

JARay said...

I see that there is a move afoot by some to call on Benedict to rescind his abdication. If you get the "Chiesa" blog you will have read it already

Fr Ray Blake said...

Oona, I don't do "revisionism", it is merely "fat Pope, thin Pope".

Nicolas Bellord said...

I found the linked article rather poor. Lots of comment but precious little evidence to support it.

gemoftheocean said...

It's useful to have someone who is both spiritual, and has a good head for delegating and moreover picking GOOD people in charge of various departments. I think Cardinal Burke might make a good pope. Solidly orthodox, and I think he could clear out the nest of vipers in the Vatican who were doing their best to undermine BXVI. Burke would be able to effectively kick some teeth down throats. He could start with clearing out that posse of Communists in the Vatican news agency for one thing and get rid of their socialist kumbaya claptrap for opener.

Mr Grumpy said...

The author of your link thinks Pope Benedict should have just carried on being an awful administrator. He seems to forget that there are human costs to administrative paralysis. The Pope who instead of going into denial about priestly abuse listened to the victims has certainly not forgotten.

Jeremiah Methuselah said...

In an wild attempt to put things into a vague sort of perspective : should the choice of a pope end up between a priest of a parish in an certain southerly English town and a sort of retired cardinal, I know whom I would prefer. Not that I am suggesting any changes of plan of course, but I hope you get my drift.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Ah, the failings of southern English priests are simply not highlighted as much as bishops or cardinals, especially Irish ones.

All need prayer and foregiveness, and a degree of mercy too

GOR said...

Among all the comments about the Holy Father’s resignation, one aspect has rarely been mentioned. Much is made about the practical implications of the abdication – the conclave, day-to-day administration, impact on the next pope, diminution of the office, ‘outside’ influence on future popes – not to mention possible reasons for his action.

But Pope Benedict began the announcement by saying:

”After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty….

I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering."

The Holy Father only reached this decision after much prayer and examination of conscience. He spoke to God about it. He prayed about it. This was not a decision taken lightly or for mere practical reasons. It was a prayerful, spiritual decision – asking God what he should do.

So his decision is God’s will for him – revealed to him by God through prayer. In the final analysis, that is all that matters.