Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Papabili "Pontificate"

Even before the interregum began, Vatican watchers could not help but speculate who would become the sole Cardinal survivor who would become the Supreme Pontiff.



 Choosing  the next vicar is not decided by playing musical chairs in the Sistine Chapel or at a chatty Church “Tribal Council” but by prayerful discernment with the guidance of the Holy Spirit after interacting with their Cardinal colleagues.

Part of the reason for the General Congregations of the Cardinals in the Sede Vacante interregnum is so that fellow cardinals can informally acquaint themselves before going into the Conclave.

These  informal judgments about character and virtue gleaned from coffee breaks and schmoozing can inform Cardinal-electors to their choice . Consider that as they cast each vote, they must swear an oath to vote for the vest man to lead the church as they as they stand before Michelangelo’s Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel.



Now that the start of the Conclave has been set for Tuesday March 12, we ought to  educate ourselves of potential pontiffs. While the faithful outside the College of Cardinals are neither  privy to a Papabili’s piety nor their force of personality amongst equals, we can get a glimpse of their persona through quotes attributed to these Princes of the Church.

In furtherance of this understanding, here are a passel of Papabili.  For those who appreciate hemaneutics, studying their heraldry along with their chosen mottoes might be revealing.

Note the San Marco lion and the ship on Archbishop Scola's crest--those are remnants from when the nine years when Scola was the Patriarch of Venice before he was transferred to the influential Ambrosian diocese of Milan.


Ravasi was appointed as Prefect of the Pontifical Council for Culture in 2007. Ravasi was also appointed for a five year term on the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Pontifical Council for Interreligous Dialogue and he was the first member of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Turkson to the the President of the  Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in 2009.

Ouette has been the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops (having the responsibility for "recruiting" and vetting bishops)  as well as also serving as the President of Pontifical Commission for Latin America.


Aside from his tony lineage and close connections with  Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI, Schoenborn was a key editor for the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Scherer does has some experience with the Roman Curia, as he washe was an official of the Congregation for Bishops from 1994 to 2001.

Braz de Aviz was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as the Prefect of the  Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in 2011.


Tagle only received his scarlet zucchetto in November 2012.  But the 55 year old Tagle had been named for a five year term to serve on the Congregation for Catholic Education.  Moreover, Pope Benedict XVI named Tagle as one of the Synod fathers for the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization on September 18, 2012.


Cardinal O'Malley is a Capuchin who is renowned for his holiness.  O'Malley serves on the Pontifical Council for the Family which befits his longstanding commitment to pro-life issues as well as  his association with March for Life founder Nellie Gray.



Dolan has  been a Cardinal for just over a year but he transferred from a seven year stint being Archbishop of Milwaukee to the Archbishop of New York in 2009.  Currently, Dolan is the President of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops.  Last year, Dolan was a leading voice in the Fortnight for Freedom project to educate Americans about the HHS Mandate and how it encroached on First Amendment liberties.

Prior to the Conclave's commencement, Cardinals have urged for prayer in their discerning.  To that end, Adoptacardinal.org  will designate a Cardinal-elector for you to pray for during this period.

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