Saturday, March 9, 2013

X - Factor

I wish to thank CNS for this video and recommend it to others. Over these weeks now (almost a month) since Pope Benedict XVI announced his renunciation of the See of Peter, we have been confronted with all sorts of more or less authoritative commentaries on the impact his step will have on the Church (his refusal, if you will, to opt for dying with his boots on). I think the video is a good contribution to putting us back on track concerning that which is essentially Conclave.

Whether the commentaries on the impact of the renunciation on the Church are positive or negative, I guess I have my doubts about the usefulness at this point of the exercise in analysis or commentary. The easy out for dismissing this kind of talk is that such judgments are premature. Very simply, though, I have my doubts concerning the possibility ever of being able to say what exactly, if anything, has changed in the life of the Church. Pope Benedict made a choice as foreseen by Church law; it may never have happened like this before, but the option has always been there. It would be difficult to say what changed when John Paul I refused coronation. Thirty or forty years from now, I doubt if the experts will be agreed on the consequences, if any, of Benedict's decision.

You might say that this video has offered some reassurance to me in this regard by presenting the testimony of several Cardinals, veterans of the 2005 Conclave, who see the same thing happening in these days leading up to this Conclave, starting on 12 March 2013. They offer some profound insights into what they personally experienced in the last papal election. Our present College of 115 electors will not be shortchanged; their experience will be just as powerful and positive for the life of the Church. The law and the good will of the electoral college provides a constant, an x-factor if you will, and which represents always and perhaps more so in our time than even just a hundred years ago not only the sublimity of the actual process of choosing a pope, but of our faith, the faith first and foremost of the College of Cardinals, in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit here acting in a singular way in the life of the Church.

Extra omnes! The life of all us outsiders is drawn to prayer in support of a wonder not that different from Pentecost in the Cenacle on Mount Sion. Mother Mary, gather your sons, the princes of the Church, under your mantle! 

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