March 23, 2005


Why The Next Pope May Be A Surprise (Business Week, 3/21/05)

The College of Cardinals will select a Pope when John Paul passes on. But when the time comes for a conclave to anoint a new pontiff to lead the world's 1.1 billion Catholics, John Paul's influence will still be considerable. He has appointed 115 of the 120 cardinals eligible to elect the next Pope, all with an eye to enforcing his conservative stance on such issues as abortion, the role of women in the church, homosexuality, and bioethics. Meanwhile, liberals such as Cardinal Martini of Milan have entered mandatory retirement, strengthening the hand of the conservatives.

John Paul has also recruited cardinals from the poor but vibrant southern rim of Catholicism and from regions hardly ever represented before. New cardinals hail from as far away as Cameroon, Syria, and the Dominican Republic. "He has made the College more reflective of the global reality of the Church," says Harold W. Attridge, dean of the Yale Divinity School.

This widening of the ranks complicates the task of figuring out who the next Pope will be. "John Paul has conducted three planetary battles," says Orazio Petrosillo, a Vatican commentator: "Breaking down the wall between East and West, reducing the gap between North and South, and curbing the hostility between Christianity and Islam." If the college wants to focus on the North-South divide, it could select one of the so-called southern cardinals.

These are prelates from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Papabili -- papal prospects -- from this group include Nigeria's Francis Arinze, a conservative; Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, a Honduran known for his work with the poor; and India's Ivan Dias, a friend of Mother Teresa. The selection of Arinze as the first African Pope since Gelasius I, who died in the year 496, would certainly put the issue of poverty at the top of the agenda.

The question is whether the College will go that far. Some observers think the cardinals want a transitional Pope, i.e. one older than 75 who will not reign for long. In that scenario, the next Pope could be Joseph Ratzinger, a German who has been John Paul's enforcer on Church doctrine. During his short rule, Ratzinger, 78, would keep the Church focused on social conservatism.

Fortunately the Democrats can't filibuster cardinals.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 23, 2005 12:00 AM

My money is on the new pope being from either Africa or Latin America.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at March 23, 2005 12:40 AM

All else equal, a non-European pope would be wonderful. If I'm the only pantheist left standing, what the hell.

Posted by: ghostcat at March 23, 2005 12:44 AM

I think Arinze would be an inspired choice. It would certainly excite many young Catholics and give the Church the appearance of representing the future. Arinze is also old enough that he would not dominate either. It's critical time in the world and the Church should step up to it.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at March 23, 2005 1:34 AM

The appointment of a non-White Pope will virtually eliminate the Catholic Church in America, at least its main source of funds here. Given the realities of American race relations, the notion of the White ethnic rank-and-file Catholics of urban and suburban America expressing fealty to a Black guy is a complete non-starter. My bet would be on a White Latino, preferably with an Italian or German last name, from Argentina, Brazil, Chile or Uruguay.

Posted by: bart at March 23, 2005 6:27 AM

Wow. Let's do the time warp, again.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 23, 2005 7:19 AM

Bart, it's amazing that in the week Ms. Schiava is being starved to death among a cacaphony of uninformed chatter, you actually managed to write the most stupid, ignorant, and hateful thing I've read all week on a completely different topic. Congratulations. You seem unaware not only that America has progressed from the 1950s, you in fact seem to think we have a racial setting akin to the Reconstruction South. You also seem to prefer it as it gives you apparent license to slime anyone of faith.

Posted by: MG2 at March 23, 2005 7:23 AM

Bart lies awake all night long worrying that they will come to dominate basketball.

Posted by: Peter B at March 23, 2005 7:58 AM

Bart: You really have to lay off the drugs, man, it's, like, distorting your perception of reality, dude.

The Great Commission is to "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations," not "Go therefore and make disciples of the pink-skinned ones, and ignore the rest of 'em." There is a paper trail of Papal encyclicals condemning slavery that goes back to the 1500s. The average Catholic parish (even an "ethnic" parish like St. Brendan's in my old hometown) has always been a "salt and pepper" sort of place--less segregated, overall, than most protestant denominations.

Posted by: Mike Morley at March 23, 2005 7:59 AM

Something tells me the African pope
Galasius was not sub-saharan. Using that
as a precedent without qualification is
fairly predictable misrepresentation.

Posted by: J.H. at March 23, 2005 9:03 AM

So I guess they are playing the old country favorite 'Who are you going to believe? Me or your own lyin' eyes' in the mass now? Well, given recent litigation, it would make the parents less nervous than a priest rendering a version of 'Jesus Loves the Little Children.'

Let's see. Catholic communities and neighborhoods are notorious for violence against minority groups, whether it is Blacks walking down the wrong street or Mormons and Jehovahs' Witnesses doing door to door evangelism. When you see synagogue or Jewish cemetery desecration in the NY Metro area, the perpetrators are always Catholic. Towns where large numbers of non-White Catholics have moved in mysteriously find a new 'downtown' parish constructed in order to minister to their needs, so they don't have to darken the door where the Irish go. Boston is correctly seen as perhaps the most racist city in America, and it is perhaps the city in America with the most entrenched Catholic ascendancy. Nobody but a Catholic has been mayor since 1896. Chicago, another City with an overwhelmingly White Catholic population, is the most segregated city in America. Jersey City, Cleveland and the Detroit Metro area are no different. New Orleans has a segregated Mardi Gras. Michael Stewart wasn't chased into on-coming traffic by Hasidim and Al Sharpton wasn't shot at by Presbyterians.

Papal encyclicals condemning slavery in the 1500s? I have no doubt that the Church which gave us the 'Donation of Constantine' and the Shroud of Turin has produced encyclicals it claims were from the 1500s. However, that would come as a shock to those people enslaved by the Catholic Church in Mexico and Brazil into the 19th century, the 1820s in Mexico and the 1890s in Brazil. Or to those French, Spanish and Portuguese slave traders braving the Atlantic Ocean and British men-of-war during the 19th century. The Catholic clergy in NYC in the 1860s actively encouraged both the draft riots and the murders of freed Black slaves by Irish mobs.

I have little doubt that the current Pope does have the best of intentions today when it comes to racial matters, certainly compared with even the very recent past. However, even the most casual observer would see that these attitudes have made zippo penetration to the laity here or in Europe or certainly Latin America.

Posted by: bart at March 23, 2005 9:46 AM


Those are Orthodox Jews clashing with blacks, not Catholics.

Posted by: oj at March 23, 2005 9:50 AM

Arinze would alienate North America, not because he is Black, but because he has Third World attitudes towards women and their place in society.

The church would be wise to root out the perversion and corruption in its own ranks before embarking on any global strategy to remake society. The Austrian seminary scandal, and the use of African nuns as harems for African priests, shows that the rot is pervasive and not just a pedophilia/ephibophilia/homosexual crisis confined to North America.

There has been a silent schism between heirarchy and laity over the use of ABC between married couples that has gone a long way to discredit the Vatican and erode its authority. This prtion of Humanae Vitae needs to be rethought (as has past RCC attitudes towards charging interest and slavery), and can be rethought since it was explicitly described as not infallible.

Then there is the priest shortage, which can only be remedied by doing away with mandatory celibacy. For the past 1,000 years celibacy has been nothing but a source of scandal and hypocrisy, either with straight priests having "housekeepers" or by providing a sanctuary for gay priests (who now make up 2/3 of the clergy).

Posted by: daniel duffy at March 23, 2005 10:03 AM

Besides your numbers being absurd, we could use a reassessment of birth control and women's proper role in society.

Posted by: oj at March 23, 2005 10:11 AM


Nonsense. The examples I cited were Italians attacking Blacks. Hasidic 'violence' against Blacks has amounted to little more than neighborhood shomrim holding criminals for the police. They reserve their real violence for Jews who don't follow their particular weird version of Torah.

Posted by: bart at March 23, 2005 10:34 AM

You didn't cite examples. The recent examples are Jews vs. blacks.

Posted by: oj at March 23, 2005 10:43 AM

The 2/3 number comes from "Goodbye Good Men" and "Goodbye Father, the Next Catholic Church". The first is by an ultra-conservative Catholic critical of gay priests, the other is a more sober statistical analysis. time for people like you to pull your heads out of the sand and face the fact that the RCC clergy (in the West at least)is a primarily gay profession. After Vatican II, straight priests expected to be allowed to marry. When that hope was dashed by the sclerotic Vatican heirarchy, they left the priesthood in droves during the 70s and 80s. What was left gave us what should properly be called the ephibophilia crisis and the cover ups by bishops desparate to keep the few priests they have left.

So what role would you force/impose on women in society?

You do realize that 95% of catholic couples reject the ban on ABC in marriage? Statistically speaking, support of HV (on this issue) among the laity does not exist. By staking its teaching authority on a logically inconsistent and morally weak argument, the Vatican's attempt to shore up Papal authority has backfired.

Posted by: daniel duffy at March 23, 2005 11:00 AM

Follow up:

Someone like Arinze will not reassess birth control. Rather, he will reinforce the heirarchy's uncompromising opposition, in violation of the sensus fidelius, further alienating the already fed up laity.

Posted by: daniel duffy at March 23, 2005 11:03 AM

The position should be reinforced. Self-discipline is the core of morality.

Posted by: oj at March 23, 2005 11:11 AM

So how do you reinfoce a discipline rejected by 95% of Catholic couples using their "primacy of the informed conscience"? Excommunicate them all? HV is not infallible, that was made explictly clear by the Papal spokesman when it was published. The ban on ABC between married couples is the biggest self inflcited wound in the modern history of the Church.

Please also respond to my questions on women in society, the priest shortage and the gay priesthood.

Posted by: daniel duffy at March 23, 2005 11:19 AM

You teach them that they are behaving immorally. That's what the Church is there for.

Posted by: oj at March 23, 2005 11:37 AM

People give to the Church out of their loyalty to their local parish. That is unlikely to change no matter who is Pope.

The hostility of white ethnics to blacks is based on past experiences related to competition over jobs and an understanding that accepting black inferiority was required for their communities to progress up in a racist society. Neither exists anymore and the only remaining cause is fear of criminal violence and inertia. I believe someone like Arinze could help alleviate both by being a prominent role model for American blacks and inspiring the laity to overcome remaining racism.

This is not to say that if Arinze was elected Pope, it would not cause shockwaves. The issues Bart points out are valid. However, I think ultimately Arinze would end up being a rejuvenating force.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at March 23, 2005 11:51 AM

So why is the use of ABC sinful but NFP is OK? The intent is the same in both. Sin is always in the intent. If a pilot crashes his plan and kills everyone on board purely through pilot error, he has not committed the sin of murder since there was no intent. And as Jesus pointed out, just have lustful intent in your heart is the sin of adultery, no physical act is required.

And how an act is committed is irelevant. Proponent's of NFP emphasise its naturalism. Using this reasoning, to murder someone "naturally" instead of "artificially" would not be a sin. Proponent's of NFP say it's OK to space out children. But since any woman has only a finite number of fertile years, what is the difference between spacing children and limiting their number?

Church teaching on this issue is hair-splitting, hypocritcal sophistry. For that reason, using the primacy of my informed conscience, I proudly reject that teaching. According to my parish priest, I'm still a Catholic in good standing (even most of the clergy knows that the ban on ABC between married couples is BS).

And when are you going to respond to my questions on women in society, the priest shortage and the gay priesthood?

Posted by: daniel duffy at March 23, 2005 1:58 PM

The sin lies in placing instant gratification over a modicum of self-control.

Women need to work less and mother more.

The Church needs to do a better job recruiting priests.

Thinking that immoral men could be moral leaders was obviously idiotic.

Posted by: oj at March 23, 2005 2:02 PM

The sin lies in placing instant gratification over a modicum of self-control.

So how is not wanting 12 kids an example of "instant gratification"? To quote one of the lay particpants in the preparation of HV:

"Is contraceptive sex irresponsible when I have already borne ten little responsibilities?"


Women need to work less and mother more.

And how would Pope Orrin enforce that? Make it a sin for mothers to work outside the home? And how much is "less" and how much is "more"? How many hours a week would it be ok for a mom to work? IIRC your wife is a doctor. Do you keep her at home? You're a little weak on the specifics.

The Church needs to do a better job recruiting priests.

How are you going to attract normal, sexually mature and emotionally healthy men to a life of celibacy?

Thinking that immoral men could be moral leaders was obviously idiotic

So I guess Fr. Michael Judge, New York's heroic fireman priest, who died while giving last rights to a fallen fireman at ground zero (he was struck by falling debris) was not a moral leader becasue he was gay?

And you beg the question of what to do about the vast majority of gay clergy already wearing the collar.

When the US Council of Bishops proclaimed its "one strike and you're out" policy concerning the pedophile priests, the Vatican objected. Apparently the heirarchy in Rome considers the first raped child to be a freebie. Explain to me how the RCC has any moral leadership after making a statement like that.

Posted by: daniel duffy at March 23, 2005 2:53 PM

Gay clergy are a subset if immoral clergy and not the largest subset, at that.

Posted by: ghostcat at March 23, 2005 3:02 PM

I've never understood why the Catholic Church couldn't treat all its clergy like the Byzantine Rite clergy or the Anglo-Catholic clergy. Both groups have married priests at the parish level but celibate priests as you move up the hierarchy. They are considered members in good standing of the Catholic Church. Why not just extend the rule governing them to all Catholic clergy?

Posted by: bart at March 23, 2005 3:24 PM

Yes, but a clergyman can be moral. A gay man is not.

Posted by: oj at March 23, 2005 3:44 PM

Defrock them.

Posted by: oj at March 23, 2005 3:45 PM

If a gay man is inherently immoral he is unfit to be a priest.

Please take the time to address my other points.

Posted by: daniel duffy at March 23, 2005 4:12 PM

Yes, contraceptive sex is an alternative to responsibility.

We need churches to help lead a reconsideration of whether it's a good idea for both parents to work. It's best if mothers stay home.

Celibacy is no bar, though the Church will eventually allow priests to marry as it reincorporates Protestant sects.

Posted by: oj at March 23, 2005 4:21 PM

How is contraceptive sex different than NFP sex?

Has your wife stayed at home?

Celibacy is an abject failure, a state the Jesus described as fit only for eunuchs. The sooner it is done away with the better.

Posted by: daniel duffy at March 23, 2005 4:51 PM

It requires that gratification be deferred.

No, I do.

Yes, the Church is only a billion people.

Posted by: oj at March 23, 2005 4:56 PM

"When you see synagogue or Jewish
cemetery desecration in the NY Metro area, the perpetrators are always Catholic."

After the Berlin Wall fell, we discovered the KGB were behind the desecrations in the 1970s.

Pinning it on Catholics was designed to degrade (as usual) the Church and to distract attention from the plight of Jews in the Soviet Union (the typical liberal excuse for everything: "Somebody else does it too! You think Jews are mistreated in the USSR? Look at New York City!"

Posted by: David at March 23, 2005 5:00 PM

Funny? In my town, it was a bunch of teenagers from St. John Vianney High School. In the next town over, it was three Catholic kids from the neighborhood driving a bulldozer into a synagogue during morning prayer.

The KGB sure has some reach, don't it?

Posted by: bart at March 24, 2005 10:38 AM

Given that deferred gratification is built into any married relationship involving children, this isn't even an issue. How is NFP more open to life than ABC? How is NFP more natural than ABC?

So your wife works, but you want to force everyone else' wife to stay at home? Where I come from we have aname for people like you, they're called hypocrites. Jesus would not be pleased:

11-46 And he said, "Woe to you lawyers also! for you load men with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers.

Gee, out of 1 billion people you'd think they could find enough men who don't want sex to be priests. Unless celibacy is unnatural and the source of evil and scandal.

Posted by: daniel duffy at March 24, 2005 11:35 AM


People beating you up isn't anti-Semitism.

Posted by: oj at March 24, 2005 11:37 AM

Speaking of hypocrisy OJ,how many children do you have?

Posted by: daniel duffy at March 24, 2005 11:39 AM


ABC is only required if you can't control yourself.

Who said anything about forcing women to stay home? We're talking about religious teaching, not state diktats. The Wife happens to be much more talented than I and has a calling to practice medicine, so I watch the kids. That will rarely be the case but certainly fits into a discussion of returning to a culture where kids have mothers at home.

The problem wasn't too few priests but a too easy source. Gay men want access to young boys and go where it's available. The Church should have known that.

Posted by: oj at March 24, 2005 11:49 AM

I guess that means 95% of catholic couples can't control themselves.

Who said anything about forcing women to stay home? - You did when you said, "Women need to work less and mother more." So why don't you follow your own rules?

The church has been primarily Gay since the institution of mandatory celibacy 1,000 years ago.

Posted by: daniel duffy at March 24, 2005 12:28 PM

Of course they can, if we change the culture.

We do need that, but we aren't going to force it. This is about the church, not the State. I do. I stay home and the superior breadwinner works.

That's asinine.

Posted by: oj at March 24, 2005 12:34 PM

Culture does not change biology.

If you are the one staying at home then you are violating your own rule which calls for the mother to stay at home.

Plain fact, except of course for all those priests, bishops and cardinals and popes that kept "housekeepers" and openly lived with their mistresses. Normal,healthy human males cannot tolerate celibacy. Its never beenanything but a wellspring of hypocrisy, a source of scandal and a cover for homosexuals.

Posted by: daniel duffy at March 24, 2005 3:23 PM

ABC is by definition not biology.

Rule? It's preferable that mothers not work so that they can raise children. In some cases the mother will be the spouse more useful to society, as in our case. Then the father will be a poorer, but acceptable, subtitute.

They're all homosexuals except for the many who were straight and the few who were celibate?

Posted by: oj at March 24, 2005 3:32 PM