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Headline of the day

From the New York Times (where else?): "Popes Successor Is Likely to Share His Doctrine."

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Pope's Successor likely to be Catholic

and most likely to be a male.

And a male. Just a guess, though.

Just the sort of thing that, if you're an academic, for which you can get a large research grant, so you can study it for the next three years.

A list of the eleven American cardinals who will vote in the conclave includes Cardinals Mahoney, Rigali, and Levada. What sort of legal system does the Church have that permits criminals to be electors of popes?

Yeah, I just saw Cardinal Dolan on CBS. He said the next pope will be a lot like his predecessors. They sent the blooming anchor himself over to St. Patrick's to get that insight.

What an incredible gift this pope has given the Church. The next time a narcisist takes over and believes it is his job to continue on long after his body and mind are toast, Benedict's decision will be there to tell him to step down.

This just in: Bear's newborn cubs likely to go in woods. Developing.

Of course the next pope will share Benedict's ideas. Most of the Cardinals who will elect the next pope were either appointed by Pope Benedict or had earlier elected Benedict to the papacy.That should surprise nobody. Sounds like a 'dog bites man' type of news story; a filler.

How could a man rise to rank of cardinal without the support of the most reactionary voices in the hierarchy? Especially Ratzinger?It would be near impossible for the next pope to be that much different than B16, especially since Ratzinger has only appointed cardinals that conform to his version of orthodoxy. Since the Europeans and North Americans have made such mess of the church over the last four decades, isn't it about time that the cardinals give the papacy to someone from Africa, Asia or South America? At lest the Catholic Church could begin to reclaim its mission to hear the cry of the poor.Papa Giovanni XXIII, pray for us!

Speaking of Giovanni XXIII, were things any better-looking when he was elected than they are now? Who appointed the Cardinals who elected him? Who appointed ninety per-cent of the bishops present in Rome as Vatican II began? We've seen (or at least I'm old enough to have seen) wonderful things happen before.

Ann - does Rigali belong in that list of alleged criminals? I know he is not a fan favorite here, but I don't recall seeing his name linked prominently to the sex-abuse crisis?

But how will someone from Africa, Asia, or South America likely be on the subject of women's ordination, or LGBT issues?

Jim, Check again in philadelphia:"There are, Rigali decreed, no archdiocesan priests in ministry today who have an admitted or established allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against them."But then, a month later, after the archdiocese conducted an internal investigation of accused priests, Rigali suspended 21 of them."

Crystal: you seem to be saying that people from Africa, Asia, or South American would not want women's ordination or change on LGBT issues. Since the church is worldwide, and unity must be preserved worldwide, doesn't your question imply that the time is not yet ripe for tacking women's ordination or LGBT issues? Let me go further: doesn't it seem to imply that if there was a democratic vote, among the 1 billion Catholics worldwide, then they would vote against the sensibilities of lay Catholics in the US? Imagine you're right to be advocating for women's ordination and LGBT rights, and imagine that most people - on a global scale - disagree with you: Might it not mean that there is a wisdom to slow change - change that happens only as fast as Catholics worldwide can adjust? It's that, or breaking unity. The church is a mammoth, and mammoths move slowly.

"Pope Prays for World Peace"A most common headline.

Mark Proska 02/11/2013 - 7:01 pm "This just in: Bears newborn cubs likely to go in woods. Developing.: What are you implying here?

This is probably a knee jerk defense of my guild, but I don't think the question is all that obtuse. When a new leader comes in everyone wants to know what might change, or if there will be any change. And there have certainly been major changes -- John XXIII to Benedict XVI, each pope was quite different from the other, prompting changes in teachings as well as bringing an enormously different style. There are many cardinals, even some of the reputed papabile, who have expressed differing views on optional celibacy, communion for divorced and remarried, not to mention the decided lack of enthusiasm that I suspect the next pope will have for the old rite Mass and related liturgical issues. I have no clue what will happen -- the curial ranks are very strong, but there is more awareness of their strength and more time for non resident cardinals to think about who they would vote for, and maybe even read up on their colleagues. Many of them have never met each other except to shake hands, and they couldn't pick each other out of a line up. (You know all cardinals look alike...) But I am more sanguine than others that there may be a shift to a non-European, someone who would bring a very different world view. Then again, there are plenty of "non-Europeans" in the College who are more Roman than the Romans...Vediamo.

Claire,I'm not saying that *the people* of Africa, Asia, and South America are more conservative (for instance, I think same-sex marriage is legal in Argentina and Brazil), but I'd bet that the stance of the church in those countries is more conservative and that a pope from Africa, for instance, might tend to be more conservative than Benedict has been. But even if that's not so, the majority opinion is not always the right opinion - given that, minorities would always suffer under majority rule and things like interracial marriage, which was made legal by the court, would have taken much longer to be accepted.

Helen--Do you really not know? Read the lede again.

Crystal:ok, could be discussed. But I don't want to sidetrack this thread. I would simply say that you are viewing the current events through the lens of discrimination inside the church.

Claire,Yeah, I don't want to highjack the thread :) But if a pope was chosen who had very conservative views, it could affect many people's lives, especially given Africa/AIDS/condoms and the church's medical/charity work.

Cardinal Turkson departed a bit from the Vatican line about the use of condoms when one spouse has AiDS. This is promising.

Over at Andrew Sullivan's blog he quotes JAK's comment here at dotCommonweal, saying "This is worth absorbing".http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/02/11/resignation-and-the-papacy/

There is good reason to believe the next bishop of Rome will not be conservative. Angelo Roncalli surprised everyone. John Paul II and Benedict XVI have shown that we need a change. These two popes presided over the demise of the church in Europe while they were nationalist Europeans themselves. Charlemagne anyone?

The oddsmakers have picked three others above him. From Ghana, Nigeria and Argentina. But I am taking Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras at 7-1. I don't believe there has been an election in which the top two were not Italians or Europeans. http://www.cnbc.com/id/100450439

At the Washington Post two dotCommonwealers draw attention, Terrence Tilly and Fr. Joseph Komonchak:'Benedicts resignation helps refine the notion of the papacy and, thanks be to God, distinguishes the person from the office,' Terence Tilley, a theologian at Fordham University and past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, wrote in a discussion of Benedicts resignation at the blog of Commonweal, a leading Catholic magazine.'By this act, his frank admission that to carry out the Petrine ministry certain conditions of bodily and mental health are required, Benedict helps bring the papacy back within the Church, down from what Hans Urs von Balthasar calledpyramid-like isolation, added the Rev. Joseph Komonchak, an eminent church historian."http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/how-the-traditional-pope...

Are there any kind of core competencies for an effective Pope? Are there criteria to help guide the Cardinals in their choice? We tend to have rules on everything, do we have any for this?

"doesnt your question imply that the time is not yet ripe for tacking womens ordination or LGBT issues"It's probably off topic to open a debate on these particular issues, but this does raise a general question about what you might want in the next Pope. To what extent does majority opinion determine the ripeness of time?

Joe McFaul and Ann - regarding Rigali, you're quite right. I apologize, I was confusing my former archbishops of St. Louis.

This morning's headline, Pope Resigns, With Church at Crossroads, is even odder. What crossroads? Surely no one thinks the cardinals, picked by Benedict XVI and John Paul II, will take a different direction than that charted by the group that controls the Church.

Thanks, Fr. K - for some historical reminders and context. Needed that!

doesnt your question imply that the time is not yet ripe for tacking womens ordination or LGBT issuesGood grief why the unending obsession with womens ordination and gay issues? Reminds me of the old Saturday Night Live skit where a newsman announces "Soviets drop nuclear bomb on US; women and minorities hardest hit.Korea just exploded a nuke bomb, and Iran is working toward the same. In the USA we allow the murder of a million babies each year, and almost half of the children that are allowed to be born are illegitimate. For those who have forgotten, illegitimate refers to a bastard i.e., a child born out of wedlock. We have 11 million people we force to live in shadows/limbo because some Americans like cheap labor, disposable people. We have maniacs shooting people from one end of the country to another, mainly because we allow folks to sell machine guns willy-nilly, and also because we to not tend the mentally ill but instead allow Hollywood to fill peoples heads with violent nonsense form sun up to sundown.On top of all this we have a remarkable situation of the first pope to resign in six hundred years, and all some can manage, is to babble on and on about wanting women priest-essas and wondering what is in store for the gays.Jeez!

Ann, just FYI, that WaPo story was an RNS story that I wrote and they ran -- quotes lifted from Father K's post here, which was one of the more spot-on things I've read. Thanks again to dotCommonweal for helping out an overworked journo!

Doctrine, ideology, belief, superstition, bigotry, prejudice - it's all the same to the Times :O)

Thanks for the RNS story, David G. It's good to see dotCWL being appreciated.