Being the precocious proto-conservative child that I was, I remember sitting at dinner with a family priest-friend ca. 1988 (age 11) and expressing hope that Cardinal O’Connor would be the next pope. “No,” he said. “They won’t make an American pope. The next pope’s going to be Cardinal Ratzinger.”
Well, they say “If you enter the conclave a pope, you come out a cardinal.” By the early 90s, Ratzinger’s name had dropped from the list of “papabile,” both due to his age & the fact that he’d been named so often in the past.
Suddenly, people started identifying Francis Cardinal Arinze, due to his ecumenical status, African race and the fact that he was, at the time, virtually unknown. Cardinal Arinze remained at the top of lists for over a decade. Of course, that means that he is now where Ratzinger was in the early ’90s. Ratzinger, meanwhile, popped back up on the list recently precisely because of his age and his lack of desire to be Pope.
I really hoped it would be one of them. Either would have been great, but I didn’t expect it. John XXIII, JP I & JPII (I’m not sure about Paul VI) were all “out of nowhere,” as it were. While anyone can be Pope, Popes are traditionally a) Cardinals and b) very prominent cardinals. . . . Positions like Prefect of CDF and Vatican Secretary of State are traditional proving grounds for the papacy.
We’ve gotten so used, in the past few elections, to a non-Vatican Pope, that we suddenly have to backtrack and realize this appointment wasn’t much of a surprise. Fr. Neuhaus called it on EWTN, even while the secular media were still saying “Arinze.”
Personally, between the two, I’d rather have Ratzinger *now*. Arinze’s younger, and still has time.
Both are staunchly orthodox, but Ratzinger is much friendlier to the Traditional Mass than Arinze. Arinze says the current state of affairs for the TLM is fine (where groups must appeal for an “indult,” or special permission, to say the “Old Mass,” and priests can only say it under certain circumstances). Cardinal Ratzinger has always maintained that there is no such thing as an “Old Mass.” If it’s an approved liturgy, it’s an approved liturgy, and no indult is needed.
On the other hand, Arinze is a little more emphatic regarding Pro-abortion politicians, but they’re mostly the same as the “issues” go.
What I think is funny is how much the media *tout* Arinze, a cardinal who demands the use of Latin at every mass, who decries liturgical dance and other “innovations,” who says laity should only receive the Precious Blood by intinction, who demands the excommunication of pro-aborts, emphasizes “there is no salvation outside the Church” in his interfaith dealings, says taht advocates of population control ought to just volunteer themselves, and says that 9/11 is a consequence of the Culture of Death. . . .
All positions I of course agree with, but it shows how stupid the media are that they think this man would be their ideal pope, just because he’s Black.
Anyway, here’s to the PanzerPope. . . . Here’s hoping he does a lot of house-cleaning. Recently, the Congregation for Doctrine of Faith recently upheld Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz’ blanket excommunication of members of Call to Action, Planned Parenthood, NOW, Society of St. Piux X & various other anti-life or dissident Catholic groups, after a canon law-suit by the pro-abortion Call to Action.
So the next thing to watch out for is his appointments. It would be cool if Pope Benedict pulled Bruskewitz out of a hat to replace him at CDF. . . .