Soon we say good-bye to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, Metropolitan Archbishop of Rome, Vicar of Christ, Servant of the Servants of God, etc., as he retires from the Papacy to pursue a higher calling of cloistered contemplative life.
One of my few regrets in life is that I never got one of those “I love my German Shepherd” bumper stickers. I have been a fan of “God’s Rottweiler,” the PanzerKardinal/PanzerPope, the B16 Bomber practically since I was old enough to know what a Cardinal is. 8 years ago, when he was announced as the new Pope, as soon as I heard “Dominus Josephus,” I began to jump, and as soon as I heard, “Cardinalis Ratzinger,” I was yelling, “YES!” and my hand was hitting the ceiling as I jumped for joy. I went to Mass that day or the next day, and some ladies were talking about the “new Pope”, and “Do you know who this Cardinal Ratzinger is?” and I was dumbfounded. How could any Catholic *not* know who Cardinal Ratzinger was??
Anyway, it’s been a great 8 years. Many people seem to be of the impression that his reign was “short,” given the relatively long papacies we’ve experienced since the mid 19th Century, but the average papacy has been about 8 years, and he’s one of the oldest popes in history.
We must pray for the College of Cardinals to make a wise decision. It seems to me that the new Pope needs to be able to address several issues:
1) Authentic ecumenism. I hope to live to see the day the Patriarchs of Rome and Constantinope re-communicate each other. It would also be nice to see the post-Vatican II fractures in the Church healed.
2) Tied to that: Reform of the Reform. It’s a term we’ve heard a lot from such as Pope Benedict and Cardinal Arinze, who most people say is too old to be Pope (though they said the same of Cardinal Ratzinger). _Summorum Pontificum_ was great, but we still need a reform of the New Rite akin to what Cardinal Ratzinger called for in many of his writings, something more like what _Sacrosanctam Concilium_ calls for and not what Rembert Weakland and company actually did when they hijacked the implementation of the Council.
3) Speaking out against the worldwide Culture of Death, in particular against pro-abortion Catholic politicians.
4) Dealing with “the Scandals”–both the aftermath of the exposure of endemic sexual abuse, and dealing with the network of homosexual bishops–including, apparently, some at the Vatican–who have facilitated it.
So, here is the Collect for the Election of a Pope. I’m using it as part of my Office if there’s not a Saint of the day:
Here’s a cool “Adopt a Cardinal” app: you enter your name, and it randomly generates a cardinal for you to pray and fast for until the Conclave elects a new Pope. I got George Cardinal Pell. I think Pell would be a good candidate. There are a lot of sources, even in Europe, arguing the new Pope needs to come from America or an English language country because of the Scandal. Pell would fit that category. As the head of the “Vox Clara” commission, which Francis Cardinal Arinze organized to write the new translation when the International Committee on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) dragged its feet, Cardinal Pell is an ally of Reform of the Reform. I don’t know about how he would be viewed by the Orthodox, but Pell has worked with Anglican reunification efforts. He’s also outspokenly pro-life and has made headlines taking on some outspokenly liberal priests. So Pell was one of my top choices from various names of “Papabile” I’ve seen floated around, and I was quite pleased when this site assigned him to me to pray for: