Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Reese's Pieces--Animated Talk About Papal Succession

Elements in the secular media have been interested in the upcoming Papal Conclave, jocularly calling the election for the Supreme Pontiff as Vatican Idol.  But since the Holy See’s ways have two millenia of history behind it, it is prudent to consult with experienced Vaticanologists to understand the process.

 Recently, TheBlaze Radio’s Jay Severin sought out the opinions of Father Tom Reese S.J., a Georgetown University Scholar from the Woodstock Theology Center and the author of
Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church.   While Severin as a conservative commentator may not share the Jesuit’s political and liturgical orientation, he could not help but respect Rev. Reese’s knowledge of the byzantine bureaucracy of Vatican City, which he acquired by interviewing more than a hundred Vatican officials for his book.

Severin, who is not a Catholic, believes that this Papal succession could be globally game changing, especially if the new Vicar of Christ “went big” and took an active role on the world stage.  Father Reese chose to illustrate the qualities of the immediate predecessors to the prospective new Pope.  Pope Benedict XVI was expected to be scholarly and concentrating on theology.  As for Pope John Paul II, his pastoral and theological qualities were eclipsed by his formidable presence on the public stage and his numerous foreign pilgrimages.

It was observed that  some of Pope Benedict’s views on secular politics could seem quite radical.  In fact, Reese astutely analyzed that the religious right would embrace B-XVI’s social pronouncements (perhaps on traditional marriage or being pro-life) but his fiscal philosophies and drive for world government would alienate the Tea Party.  So American political shorthand does not always translate when evaluating the Holy See.

Peter Cardinal Turkson
Many prognosticators in the Lamestream Media have been broadcasting a drumbeat for an African Pope, such as Cardinal Peter Turkson (Archdiocese of Cape Verde, currently Curia President of the Pontifical Council of Peace and Justice), the gregarious Ghanan who is the talk amongst papabili Reese’s answer concentrated on the process of discerning, especially the informal encounters up to and during the Conclave.

While illustrative of the decision making process, punters will not be added in placing their bets at Paddy Power with Reese’s answer.

Severin persiverates on the tenant that new Pope could be in an unique position to denounce Islamofascism as an abomination to all people of faith around the world.  Reese is quick to diffuse any notions that the Pope would call for a new Crusade.

Rev. Reese pointed to the persecution that the Chaldean Catholic Church has faced in a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq which is causing many Chaldeans to flee.  In this short interview, Fr. Reese also failed to mention how Palestinians have driven away most of the Arab Catholics from the Holy Land and how the Palestinians have been arrogating holy sites of Jews and Christians in Israel but not respecting freedom of worship and religious pluralism.

This Blaze colloquy was playful in tone, yet it deftly alluded to the inside observations on how Popes are chosen, without resorting to favorite son speculations or trotting out grievances of alienated ex-Catholics or frustrated Church progressives.

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