Tuesday, April 26, 2005
The Not-So Political Conclave
In a recent gathering among friends, someone raised the world-wise view that the conclave was rife with political maneuverings. Coward that I was, I conceded this point and chose to change the topic. Part of that retreat was what I read in the face of the speaker: a conclusive expression that told me, and I could be wrong, that this was not open to discussion. Regardless, it was a cowardly retreat on my part. It only goes to show that, regardless of how enthusiastic I might be, I am not fit to be an apologist. I am not quitting, however. What I did not realize then, was something that Oswald Sobrino wrote almost in passing: Pope Benedict XVI was elected in a "lightning quick conclave." That does not fit into the political science models that Oswald cites in his blog, and it does not fit the "political maneuvering" opinions that many are quick to charge the cardinals with. And it strikes me as unfortunate that Catholics themselves can be so cynical as to forget that the papacy was not instituted as a tradition of man. Jesus Christ built his Church on a man, St. Peter, and instituted the papacy by referring to his office with the vizieral Keys of the Kingdom (links to Dr. Scott Hahn writing about the Papacy). He meant it to be a visible office, handed down by annointing, and he meant the office to hold an authority second only to that of Christ himself over his Mystical Body, the Church. So the charge that Catholics lay against the conclave as being so much political maneuvering is serious because it takes the Holy Spirit out of the picture. I must confess that I am not so brave as to suggest that the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with the election of the Pope. Nor am I so dense as to believe that an unusually quick conclave such as this does not bear any specific message for the faithful. What message do I see in the quick election of a Pope who has been champion of orthodox doctrine for many, many years? You can figure it out. :-) References (links in context given above): 1. Oswald Sobrino: The Political Model of the Conclave Collapses, Catholic Analysis Blog. 2. Scott Hahn: on the Papacy, Catholic-Pages.com.