What I think does not matter one whit. But hey, it’s my blog, so I can say what I want, and what I want to say is that if I had a vote, it would probably go to this guy:
Cardinal Ivan Dias of Bombay
He is one of the few prelates who can rival Pope John Paul’s linguistic ability; he is fluent in at least 17 languages. Another veteran of the Vatican diplomatic corps and the Secretariat of State, he now heads a huge diocese in an often hostile environment. A friend and ally of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, he has protested the anti-Christian attacks by Hindu zealots, yet observes that for the Church, “persecution is something natural,” often presaging a great growth in the faith. Disadvantages: When speculation turns toward a Pontiff from the Third World, most prelates speak about Africa or Latin America, where Catholicism is growing– not Asia, where the faith remains largely unknown.
A linguist who knows how to deal with hostile factions, a pal of Mother Theresa’s, smart enough to know that the Church is always under persecution somewhere, and from what I’ve read, he has a sense of humor to boot. I likes him!
I also like Cardinal Lubomyr Husar
Cardinal Lubomyr Husar is the Major Archbishop of Kiev, the spiritual leader of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which is the largest Eastern Church in full communion with the Holy See. The selection of a Byzantine prelate would be a sensational move, sure to cause turmoil in Vatican relations with the Orthodox churches, with results that are difficult to predict. Trivia note: Cardinal Husar is the only US citizen on this list.
He just looks really pastoral to me. And it might be nice to have an Eastern-Rite pope, particuarly from the Ukraine, at this moment in history.
Both of these men are considered “longshots” in the article I’ve linked to, btw.
Karol Wojtyla was considered a longshot, too.
I guess I should let Rome know what I’m thinking, eh? They’re waiting, of course, with bated breath, to hear my selections!
Two other decent articles on the subject, although the normally very reliable John Allen blows it for me here by neglecting to make distinctions between stem cell research and EMBRYONIC stem cell research. He has been writing a lot, maybe he’s tired! The other is by Laurie Goodstein who I am liking a lot, these days, even if she does work for the dreaded NY Times. She’s a good writer and seems to go out of her way to be even-handed.
MEANWHILE: The tireless and stunningly prolific John Allen (who is going to need a long vacation once a new pope is finally named and installed) informs that the cardinals don’t really know each other very well, and in the NY Times, Henry Fountain explains why their unfamiliarity with each other might not be a bad thing.
FINALLY: The press has been working overtime to do as much damage as they can to Cardinal Ratzinger, so now we’re being informed that he was a member of the Hitler Youth – but you have to read some ways into the article to discover that this happened with such membership became mandatory, and that he deserted and spent some time in a prison camp:
Ratzinger has insisted he never took part in combat or fired a shot — adding that his gun was not even loaded — because of a badly infected finger. He was sent to Hungary, where he set up tank traps and saw Jews being herded to death camps. He deserted in April 1944 and spent a few weeks in a prisoner of war camp.
I dunno. I frankly don’t think Ratzinger is going to be the next pope, but that’s just my gut, and my gut is often wrong. I know conservatives who love him and conservatives who hate him (they have serious mistrust of him because of some Fatima issues), but I know that all the liberals and the folks in the MSM hate him, and that is always a reason for me to give someone the benefit of a doubt!
Note, the last line of this Times article quotes an “anonymous” liberal theologian: “One liberal theologian,when asked what he thought of a Ratzinger papacy, was more direct: “It fills me with horror.””
Like I said, I don’t see a Ratzinger papacy. But I almost want to see it just to tick that person off!