When someone (like my mom) asks me who I think is going to be our next Pope, I give varying versions of the same answer: I have no idea, but I am praying fervently for our Cardinals that their decision be guided (as I know it will) by the Holy Spirit. I’m not going to make any public “predictions”.
But I’m not above reading the endless analyses that seem to be coming out over the past week highlighting the Papabili. Today, I ran across this excellent blog post by Catholic News Service’s Cindy Wooden and Francis X. Rocca. The two have done an super job of running down twelve Cardinals who are getting a ton of “buzz”. Presenting their candidates in alphabetical order, Wooden and Rocca say these are “12 cardinals expected to have a major voice in the deliberations”.
Of note to me in reading this article is the omission of Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, who in another CNS article today was called “papabile” by CNS columnist Carol Glatz who shared:
It took a “papabile” American cardinal as guest celebrant one Sunday to fill the pews of a small Roman church, which is normally trafficked only by hoards of backpack-slinging tourists. Instead of dog-eared guidebooks in hand, people were actually looking for hymnals, extra copies of which had to be fetched from the sacristy by parish assistants… read the full article here.
Another highlight of my Conclave reading/viewing today was Kevin Cotter’s “How to Know Who the Pope is Faster than (almost) Everyone Else”. Kevin gives a primer on the formula which will be used by Protodeacon Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran in announcing our next Holy Father. But the best thing about Kevin’s post (for me) was watching the awesome Youtube videos he’s collected of previous announcements.
Watching these videos immediately points out the incredible advances in technology even between the Conclave election of Blessed John Paul II and his successor, Pope Benedict XVI. Watch those and then take the “way back machine” in Kevin’s post and look at the black and white footage from Pope Pius XI’s announcement in 1922 and you will be amazed.
When our new Pope is announced (perhaps some time next week), we will be tuned in and watching in high definition on a vast array of devices, but the news will also instantaneously be spread via Twitter, where most certainly #HabemusPapam and the name of our new Pope will immediately trend. We will share the good news with our friends and family on Facebook, and I’ll be immediately turning to the Instagram and Youtube feeds of my friends who will be witnessing the moment firsthand in St. Peter’s Square.
In the midst of so many ways to view and share this monumental news, I’m struck by the beauty of the fact that all of the digital sharing will still be set off by a simple white column of smoke and a time honored formula. But I’ll also admit here that I think it would be absolutely perfect if at the same time as Protodeacon Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran makes his announcement, we could have an immediate announcement via the now dormant @Pontifex Twitter account. If the Vatican needs someone to “live tweet” #HabemusPapam when the big moment comes, I will happily volunteer for the job!