So I’m driving my sixteen year old over to the youth group and I observe that it is really pretty cool when you think about it–all the Cardinals gathering from the four corners of the globe to elect a pope. I mean, what other religion has something like that? All geared up in their red robes from the Cardinal Archbishop of New York to the little buy from Vietnam, and the Sistine Chapel and it is all really very neat.
So he observes that it is like the Council of Elrond in the Lord of the Rings when they all got together to decide who was going to take the ring to Mordor. Which I thought was a very cool idea, and before long I was visualizing which Cardinal was like Gimli and who like Elrond would preside and who was like Gandalf (who lives in Castel Gandolfo) and Boromir and Merry and Pippin.
And of course it became clear that Frodo Baggins is the one they want to choose: the one nobody expected because he was little and humble.
Then do you remember that moment when they are all fighting over who is going to take the Ring of Power and Frodo steps up and says, “I will take the Ring to Mordor…but I do not know the way.”
Geesh, what a moment! It is the moment of the whole turning point of the whole trilogy: a simple act of courage and faith.
I know the headline is silly, but isn’t that the sort of man we want for Pope, and isn’t that often the sort of man who gets elected? It’s the little guy that nobody expected. It’s the old guy everybody had written off. It’s the humble fellow from a far country who nobody would have guessed.
So let’s pray that Frodo is our next Pope–or at least a pope with the littleness of Frodo which is the littleness of a child–remembering that unless you become like a little child you cannot enter the kingdom.
Here’s a serious essay I wrote on the subject: The Little Way Through Middle Earth