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Interregnum report, March 7

Leading stories on a slow news day:Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi has announced that no date for the papal conclave has been established, while rumors of a Monday mass for election of the pontiff are not true. And, thefinal electing cardinal has landed in Rome;he is "Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh Man from Vietnam, and his arrival brings the College of Cardinals to its full count of 115.The ban on on-the-record interviews was supposed to plug leaks to the press, but John Thavis reports on the unsurprising results, noting that the Vaticans communication culture remains one of back-channel sources and speculation, as evidenced by the fact that Italian papers today were chock-full unsourced details from the cardinals closed-door meetings. (A good example from earlier this week: La Stampas piece headlined The Perfect Next Pope: A Secret Guide From Anonymous Cardinals, in which one unidentified Vatican source is described taking the time to lay out his thoughts in a letter written with an old-fashioned silver fountain pen.)Thavis says another story line (aside from the apparent lack of cohesion and focus among cardinals) may be the Curias surprise at the unexpected activism of the U.S. contingent of cardinalsand the consequent renewed attention to potential American candidates like Timothy Dolan.The new evangelizationremains high on the list of issues many say the next pope should address. But what about the churchs loosening grip on Hispanic-and Latin American Catholics?Poet and novelist Mario Vargas Llosa captures the essence of Benedict in a way few Catholics have (according to Michael Sean Winters) in his essay The Man Who Disturbs, while in our pages John Garvey notes that Benedicts resignation will affect future papacies all to the good. Also, Peter Jeffery is first up in our special multi-part report, Regime Change: Benedict & His Successor. From his piece:

[T]here are some things I think we can safely predict about the next pope. First, he will probably be the first pope ordained as a priest in the Vatican II era. He wont remember the preconciliar church, and may not even know Latin. That, frankly, worries me. Theres way too much amnesia already. Our disputes about liturgy, models of leadership, the churchs role in society would be far less painful if the most vocal partisans on every side knew more history. We need a hermeneutic of continuity now more than ever before. You cant know who you are if you dont know who you were.

On the other hand, the new pope will have grown up in a church that has always wrestled with the challenges of ecumenism, modern culture, liturgical renewal, the vocation shortage. He will know that these things are not temporary detours on our way home to the golden age: they are where we live now, and where he has lived all along. I dont know what vision he will offer of where we need to go, but I am hopeful he will recognize that we need to do some regrouping and reshuffling to face our challenges head on.

NPR put some key questions to business leaders, asking them to identify the churchs biggest challenges and how best to confront them. Among the interviewees is a Harvard MBA and former consultant who is now a priest. While Las Vegas is laying odds on who might be the next pope, papal betting is illegal in the United States since the selection process is considered an election. No such restrictions in Ireland, where one busy online site is taking wagers on everything from duration of the conclave to the name the next pope selects for himselfand even who will be the next pope to resign. One cleric notes theres a long history of betting on the pope and that often the bookmakers top candidates are in line with those identified by insiders. Some organizations are using a mix of online metrics and media buzz to make their rankingsthough one site notes the numbers are not intended as a judgment on the worthiness of each man.Finally, pursuant to an earlier post on a fake bishop mingling with the electors: tips for spotting the impostor among you.

About the Author

Dominic Preziosi is Commonweal’s digital editor.



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More Weigel: he presents seven qualities a good candidate must or should have. Among them:"Pastoral experience. John Paul IIs papacy was previewed by his work as archbishop of Cracow and his successful ministry there. That model makes sense for future popes, who must have demonstrated evangelically effective pastoral leadership and a capacity to meet the challenges of aggressive secularism, which did not end when the Berlin Wall came down."Good judgment in people. A holy, brilliant, humanly decent pope will find his ministry impeded if he does not have shrewd judgment in choosing men for high Church office, both as local bishops and as leaders in the Churchs central administrative machinery in Rome."Openness and curiosity. One of the keys to the success of John Paul IIs papacy was his openness to a range of inputs from outside conventional ecclesiastical channels. A twenty-first-century pope must look to a wide range of information to inform his own evangelical ministry."It seems to me that Weigel is in favor of an "American moment".

Where's Nate Silver? Does the no-betting rule leave him out of the sweepstakes?

Ooops. Wrote too Soon. Here's Nate Silver's 538...though not direct calculations from them; they seem to be looking to the Irish too. it might be a bit dated.

My nominee for Sloppiest Definition of the Day, this from the NPR piece: "A diocese is a geographical area with a bunch of churches in it. Run by a bishop."

I don't believe Tim Dolan's chances are no better than Stan Dziwisz's.I think the bookies are wrong. I think his fellow cardinals are well aware of Dolan's qualities.I think the muzzling of the American cardinals was specifically aimed at Dolan, the man the curia fear most, the man most likely to fire them all and make history.I think Dolan is a closet liberal, still inspired by Bishop Edwin Vincent O'Hara, about whom he wrote a wonderful book. I hope every American Catholic will pray that this good man is elected. (Tomorrow is the day to start a novena to St. Patrick for this intention!)Who's who in the curia? Patrick (from the Cath. Encyc.)

Gerelyn - sorry, Dolan is as orthodox and conservative as he says, lives, and breathes.Despite his education, writings, and background in church history, he appears to lack the ability to analyze these historical patterns/trends and arrive at the core experiences of men such as O'Hara.Do you see him making decisions that:- place him personally and behaviorally with a *preferential option for the poor*- despite his four month every Friday experience as auxiliary in STL going through exhaustively every abuse priest allegation/file/case, he continued to repeat the same mistakes and even invent new ways to get around the impact in Wisconsin, etc.- theological expertise - where?- does he or has he shown any ability to stand out in terms of personal integrity and honesty on issues from homosexuality, HHS mandate, same sex marriage, celibacy, women ordination, abuse/financial irregularties, economics, death penalty, gun control, climate control, immigration, etc. And even more:- poor spanish speaker (english only)- issues with handling abuse impact- tendency to shoot from the hip- little to no experience globally- spent most of his career in administration and ambitiously climbing the clerical ladderOh yeah - he can be amusing at times.

If these bettors were Vatican experts, then the results might be enlightening. But all this is, is what the guys like you and me think.Here's another list of probabiles from highly conservative New Advent. I have no idea what it bases its ratings on. Turkson and Scola are at the very top and have been there consistently. Because they both top many other lists, it sounds like support for them, or at least *recognition* of support, is coming from many factions. Also interesting: at this point New Advent included only one curial candidate in the top ten (Bertone). And Scherer, said to be a favorite of the curia, doesn't make the top 10. Oneiyekan just jumped up plus-4 points. (I kind of like him best of all, with Ravasi, but I don't think either has a real chance.) this point I expect that Scola will win. His support seems to come from many groups. I wish Nate would average the lists of predictions as he does with the U.S. presidential election. But how to discover which of the papal lists are worth paying attention to?

Cardinal Dolan may have brains, but I see no evidence of any depth. Psychologically he seems quite shallow, even adolescent. (Maybe it's his baby face that prejudices me.) He's charming -- until you cross him.

I'm waiting for the exit interviews. And early returns.

Hi, Bill:(I'll put my answers to your objections in parentheses.) Despite his education, writings, and background in church history, he appears to lack the ability to analyze these historical patterns/trends and arrive at the core experiences of men such as OHara. (I think he captured O'Hara brilliantly.)Do you see him making decisions that:- place him personally and behaviorally with a *preferential option for the poor* (Yes. Just as O'Hara did in an even more difficult environment.)- despite his four month every Friday experience as auxiliary in STL going through exhaustively every abuse priest allegation/file/case, he continued to repeat the same mistakes and even invent new ways to get around the impact in Wisconsin, etc. (A new broom sweeps clean. As pope, he'll dismantle the structure that has made it imperative for bishops to protect the predators.)- theological expertise where? (The man who just resigned had theological expertise. What good did it do? Let the theologians sit around reading other theologians' ruminations. A pope should be like Peter: strong, earthy, able to work with his hands, in touch with the real world. This could be the Church's last chance to unchain itself from the powerful rulers who were given control by John Paul II.)- does he or has he shown any ability to stand out in terms of personal integrity and honesty on issues from homosexuality, HHS mandate, same sex marriage, celibacy, women ordination, abuse/financial irregularties, economics, death penalty, gun control, climate control, immigration, etc. (He's young enough and strong enough and voluble enough to speak out on any and all of those.)And even more:- poor spanish speaker (english only) (No problema!)- issues with handling abuse impact (Unlike all the rest of them.)- tendency to shoot from the hip (A little spontaneity would be refreshing after the excruciating last millennium.)- little to no experience globally (Head of the North American College has to count for something. Archbishop of New York has to have some value.)- spent most of his career in administration and ambitiously climbing the clerical ladder (Like Pius XII and soooo many others. A future pope has to climb.)Oh yeah he can be amusing at times. (Imho, the most desirable of all virtues.)

What world needs now is a genial, happy and fun/spirit-filled man who is not afraid to mingle with crowds, wear jeans and sandals, and declare a new jubilee year of forgiveness and healing. He could reauthorize general absolution, pastoral solutions to marriage issues, and a true effort to bring simple, plain speaking advice inviting everyone in the world to celebrate our brotherhood and sisterhood and revere our creator, redeemer, and source of all breathing. Open the doors, windows, stoop down to pick up someone else, recapture the Pentecost spirit which allowed people everywhere to hear the good news.

Here is a list of 174 accused clerics ---

" --- tips for spotting the impostor among you."But some of them have actually be ordained bishops! Then what?

Gerelyn - agree with most of what you write with these differences:- My point about the connection to O'Hara is not that he didn't capture the man perfectly - he did. But, has he been able to translate the core and insights of O'Hara into his own ministry - not that I have experienced)- administrater - you cite Pius XII - but, he was involved in Rome and as a key secretary of state or nuncio during his career before his election (Dolan has none of that experience or background. Also, given what we have been through over the last 8 years, we need someone who is not the typical, ambitious clerical careerist)- sorry, languages and the ability to understand and appreciate different cultures is a key - Dolan has no background in this- you think he would clean house on abuse? Well, what has he said and done to date in the USCCB; for example, Bishop Finn case (Dolan = silence); how many depositions has he sat through to date? - in terms of the dioceses where he was bishop - what of significance did he accomplish?- theologically - agree, we don't need a theologian. OTOH, his own USCCB theology committee has only left confusion in its work to date. A leader needs to be able to take theology and express it pastorally.- yes, in comparison to Ratzinger, he is young. Compared to the typical US CEO - he leans toward the oldest; he is not in good health; etc.- thought about his tenure as rector at NAC - but that is primarily for US seminarians. Yes, he made have gotten some exposure; but very limited. Wouldn't put too much emphasis on that and it was years ago.Finally, spontaneity - as I said, agree and enjoy but would anticipate that you find him putting his foot in his mouth way too often. And by the way, when he feels attacked and defensive, his nasty side comes out and, as my daughter says, it is not a pretty picture.

Two things ...Almost the entire appointed episcopacy of the past few decades has been eviscerated of spiritual and thinking leaders. There is no candidate of any depth in the American contingent. Good work, JP2, B16, and congregation of bishops. Peter Jeffery's piece wasn't impressive. Candidates who know of a vocation shortage? Only because the College has ever considered cardinals from countries with a glut of clergy. A shortage of ordained ministers has always been ... in the Third World, and until the early 20th, in North America too, especially outside of urban centers."We need a hermeneutic of continuity now more than ever before."Please.We need commitment to Christ and to reform regardless of where it takes us. Peter left his nets and followed. (Perhaps he can be forgiven his post-Passion fishing trip.) Paul didn't continue persecuting Christians on weekends. Sometimes faith demands a break. I sure hope the Holy Spirit is prepared to give us one next week.

You think the next Pope won't recall a pre-Vatican II era? Well, that is bound to happen soon enough but . . . this time? I am 64 years old and served the Latin Mass as an altar boy (and can recall many responses to this day). Do you think the next Pope will be in his 50s? That would be hard to believe.

Honestly, we need a Cardinal to be elected who will, in his first address, say... " I am a homosexual... however, I have taken my ordination vows seriously... not because homosexuality is sinful or unnatural, but because for me, I felt that by living up to those vows, I could still retain my personal integrity while devoting myself totally to my ministry. "A new pope without the guts to be totally and brutally honest and open is a sham pope. Regardless of the issue.I do not believe that there is a Bishop or Cardinal that has the strength of moral character to be pope... regardless of rumors, news stories etc...Those who attain preferement have sought preferement.

I made a post a few days ago about George Weigel's surprising (to me) call for reform of the Curia. I shouldn't have been surprised; his is now simply one of many calls for such reform starting to come from all over the place, including bishops and cardinals themselves. I can't help wondering why they have been so silent until now, almost as if they feared being saddled with the label of Dissent, than which nothing is worse. Indeed, at the end of the 2012 Synod of Bishops, its members stated that ". . . they consider that the documents of the Council should be properly read and interpreted. Therefore, they wish to manifest their adherence to the thought of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, who has indicated the hermeneutical principle of reform within continuity. . . " &c &c. (Notice that they don't simply "agree" with Benedict's interpretation of Vatican II, but "manifest their adherence to the thought of our Holy Father," a phrase that brings chills to the spine of anyone who's read anything about the cult of Mao Zedong and his Thought fifty years ago).There seem to be three levels of reform coming to the fore at the moment. First, those who still think that the only response needed to the sex scandal is to try to guarantee that children will be kept safe from clerical and other ecclesiastical predators. That, they think, will put the genie back in the bottle. Second, those ready to take the next step, which is the reform of the Curia (and presumably the Vatican Bank and other such dodgy institutions). And third, and most hopeful, those who appear to believe that steps one and two, while necessary, are not sufficient, and call for the ideals of Vatican II to be fleshed out (notably including the collegiality of bishops) and put into action. (Pehaps they may even come to advocate a greater role for the laity.)Maybe I'm reading the wrong stuff, but I didn't note much of this kind of talk earlier; it seemed a given that the institutions of ecclesiastical government were divinely ordained and not to be questioned. And if one pledges allegiance to the thought of the pope in 2012, does that mean to the powerful thinker Joseph Ratzinger, or does it mean to whoever holds the See of Peter, even if he has a different view of the Council than that of his predecessor?

Bill, So glad you agree about the O'Hara book. I grew up in Kansas City, when O'Hara was our great, liberal, bishop. He confirmed me. It was a very different diocese in those days, of course.True that Tim Dolan of St. Louis doesn't have the aristocratic background that Pius XII, Merry del Val, et al. had in days of yore, but, imho, that's a plus. Peter didn't know how to use a fish knife, and he was a fisherman.Agree that the ability to appreciate different cultures is important, but how hard is that? Which cultures did Ratzinger appreciate that will be beyond Dolan's ability? (And which cardinal would be better at it?)Disagree about languages. It's a new world. Everyone speaks English. For those who don't, Pope Tim can use interpreters. There are zillions of multi-lingual people around looking for work. Dolan could be surrounded by women translating/signing for him. And there could be a huge screen with translations: Latin, Cherokee, Tagalog, Swahili, etc. Do I think/hope he would clean house on abuse? Yes. How? Hire some of the many Catholic FBI special agents to administer polygraph tests to every bishop and priest in the world. Let the curia guys who planned the investigation of American nuns set it up. Since every bishop and every priest would know that eventually he would be called in to be tested (and defrocked and excommunicated if he flunked), those who are guilty would leave before their turns came, thereby saving time and money. I'm not worried about him putting his foot in his mouth. That's part of being human. Look at the mistakes made by Peter. Same with showing his nasty side. Peter cut a soldier's ear off.(Which of the cardinals would be better?)

Nicholas P. Cafardi has an interesting article in WaPo today comparing the papacy and the Supreme Court as institutions, It includes the thought that the Court is in its own way "infallible".

George Weigel has some strong words (baloney) about the reasons for the gag order of the press conferences in his article for National Review, Team America Shut Down., when he gets off of his defense of capitalism spiel, there may be some hope.Even Raymond Arroyo on EWTNs The World Over Live tonight is ticked off. Tonight he let it be known that the bishops are frustrated and bored by the content of the congregation meetings. They want presentations that are not reports of curial business but real discussion of the issues of the Church today. Hmm wonder who leaked him that information.

"it seemed a given that the institutions of ecclesiastical government were divinely ordained and not to be questioned."Lawrence C. --Indeed. Besides the old admonition to "Cover-up the mess!" there is another popular ecclesial command used when error or wrong-doing is suspected: "Shut up!" These days it seems the Curia is using shut-ups overtime because cover-ups are finally being understood as counter-productive. Just. Don't. Say. Anything.

Weigel's tart summary of the information embargo:"So in order to try to solve a problem caused by the unscrupulousness of the Italian press acting in tandem with unscrupulous leakers who had nothing to do with the American cardinals, the Americans press conferences the most refreshing and media-friendly source of positive information and commentary on a story that has riveted the worlds attention, and an extraordinary opportunity to explain what the Catholic Church is were shut down."

Jim P. --Finally, after all the deserved bad press the American hierarchy has justly received, finally the Americans were doing something very right, something transparent. And the Curial powers=that-be had to go and mess it up. I hope it will have the opposite effect from what the curial Curial powers wanted. The neutral southern hemisphere cardinals will see first-hand just how irrational the Vatican can be, and they will be disinclined to vote for a Curia-backed candidate. So maybe it's an ill wind blowing good -- we might be spared the Old Guard's candidate as pope because of their silly clamp-down.

Gerelyn and Bill:Gerelyn, Bill asked, Does he or has he shown any ability to stand out in terms of personal integrity and honesty on issues from homosexuality, HHS mandate, same sex marriage, celibacy, women ordination, abuse/financial irregularities, economics, death penalty, gun control, climate control, immigration, etc.? You replied, Hes young enough and strong enough and voluble enough to speak out on any and all of those. But the fact is that he hasnt done that (unless Ive missed something). What does that tell us, and what reason is there to think that, if elected, hell change, becoming someone different from who hes been so far: a person who has failed to speak out on those issues.

I hope Dolan isn't chosen. Despite his affability, he seems very conservative, especially about women and gays, and he made SNAP's dirty dozen list.What about Cardinal Schnborn or Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Ireland?

Is anyone besides me uncomfortable with Team America Shut Down as a headline? (Authors usually don't write their own headlines.) How many times did we Americans laugh at the Italian chauvinism that the position without borders had to be filled by one of their own? A Pole and a German proved that ain't necessarily so.So now it's Team America? I'll bet on Team America in the Vatican when -- if -- Team America wins the World Cup. Holy hopping chauvinism.

Gene, I think/hope that Dolan's inner O'Hara will emerge after his election. The fear of the curia will dissolve and he will kick them out, replacing them with men and women untainted by tradition and unsullied by "filth," to use the failed Pope Benedict's word for it. Plus, I think Dolan's faults are known. Therefore, he is not vulnerable to blackmail, which, imho, is the big problem. With Dolan, what you see is what you get. Who's your choice, and why would he be better?

"Whos your choice, and why would he be better?"Though I don't consider Archbishop Dolan a man of depth, one plus in his favor was his "repositioning" after the 2012 election. The man is influenced by events. Archbishop O'Malley also seemed influenced by events after he arrived in Boston. If he were elected, that would be what?--four or five dioceses as a bishop?The next pope is almost irrelevant. The big need for reform is the curia. They probably sense it. What happens when the hunted are cornered? I think we're in for a long conclave. If not, that might be a sign the Holy Spirit is at work.

Todd - keep in mind that O'Malley was moved on purpose - to address, fix, and use his skills in abuse situations.Dating back to before Trent, we again have the constant struggle between the papacy/curia and the bishops. Trent was a compromise - the reformist bishops got their key issues (residence, living celibate lives, seminary training, indulgence/simony statements, eucharist/sacraments clarified) but it was left to the papacy/curia to implement unfinished business. (can you believe it; but curia cardinals did not want to reform episcopal/pastor residence patterns because they would have lost the power to give out and receive benefices. So, it was again national groups of bishops vs. the Papal State cardinals/curial officials + reality that est. 100 Italian bishops resided in Rome and were supported/owed their allegiance to the pope)This curial pattern has only continued through a few centures of iterations and has been compounded in the last two over-centralization papacies. Always amusing to me that there are no roots in scripture or apostolic/patristic tiimes about cardinals - aren't they really just honorary and an invention of the papacy? What happened to VII collegiality; to the documents about episcopal authority, rights, powers and that the pope is part of these bishops - again, no comments about cardinals.The curia is merely an administrative function - as one of my favorite theology profs and peritus at VII said at the time of his death - what about VII? Well, it would be nice if we tried to live it.Short conclave - not the work of the Spirit but of the curial cardinals. Pattern in the 20th century elections has been that after 3-5 votes, group think begins to drive voters to the top vote getter - not much to do with the Spirit.Have decided that the only change will be a choice outside of this group of 115.

Dolan for Pope? Ain't gonna happen. You heard it here.

Tom Blackburn: Team America Shuts Down. But it's March Madness time here in the U.S.

Nice letter to the editor from David Pasinski in the bad ol' NYT this morning:

So silly to speculate about Dolan. His supposed administrative skills are invisible to those who know him in the dioceses he leads. If they haven't emerged yet, they won't. And his very warm endorsement of Paul Ryan tells you everything you need to know on his views concerning social justice. Going to court over contraception may prove to the curia that he's a man to be trusted, but it's a technicolor demonstration that the real people he is supposed to pastor haven't made much of an impression on him. During the investigation of the Irish seminary, he was swayed by gossip, so grievously that the Irish bishops complained publicly of injustice. Astounding. What has he accomplished in the conference? Fortnight for freedom. Was that a success? Yes, just the man we need. There are other, more worthy candidates. Both Cardinal Turkson and Cardinal Onaiyekan have gone on record approving condom use, in limited circumstances, to combat the spread of AIDS. Ten points for breaking ranks even a little, for the sake of the people. Turkson will be good on social justice, and evangelization. He's naive about homosexuality, though, so he loses some credit there. Schoenborn impressed me by working with We Are Church to produce one of the best public liturgies to admit responsibility for and respond pastorally to the abuse crisis. He did not come down hard on the Pfarrer Initiative until Rome twisted his arm; on the contrary, he wanted dialogue. Ten points for that. Ravasi is a scripture scholar; well liked, inspirational. He gets points for that. Etc, etc. The point is that there are other candidates with merits.

Looks like habebimur papam in a week.Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum,Dominum Timotium Sanct Roman Ecclesi Cardinalem Dolan,Qui sibi nomen imponebit Patricium Primi.

Gerelyn:I'll pass over your Latin, but surely your being mischievous.

Ill pass over your Latin, but surely your (sic) being mischievous.(I'll pass over your English.) Check out the great NCR for the latest news about how quickly habebimur papam.

The reason I think Cardinal Dolan won't win is because I've never heard of a manic pope. Dolan is definitely on the manic side -- lots of temporary enthusiasms which get nothing done. Like them or loathe them, Popes always have a gravitas that he lacks. He runs couner-image to all the other popes.

Andrea Grillo comments on Cardinal Ravasi here. I found his presentation enlightening, not only with respect to liturgy, but concerning personal style and intellectual commitments.

"You're." Thank you. Now, on "your" side, how about trying the Latin again. Also, you have the form wrong.

Gerelyn is either on something or taking us for a ride. Next she will declare that women are incapable of becoming bishops.

Hi, John: Hope you'll tell me where I went wrong. (I copied the announcement of Benedict's election from the Vatican site and put in Timotium for Josephum and Dolan for Ratzinger.) (Maybe my attempts to put the verbs in the future tense were bad?)Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum,Dominum JosephumSanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Ratzingerqui sibi nomen imposuit Benedictum XVI., Bill:Dolan's chances are looking better and better. Odds are 20/1 now, up from 33/1. The interview at NCR with Onalyekam is . . . interesting.

To all the papabili some good old Italian political advice:Tieni gli amici vicini, ei tuoi nemici pi vicini.

We finally have a date for the conclave, March 12, but what has struck me about this process is that a bishop for a small diocese in the Midwest of the U.S. gets more vetting than the Bishop of Rome, who has authority over all. The men who are choosing the pope know so little about the candidates. Kind of scary.

Okay Gerelyn, he can make you a cardinal. And make sure you are at South Bend this May to here his Commencement speech. It will be his first as pope. And now that he will become the official head of the whore of Babylon he can canonize Dorothy Day. sure hope you are right that Dolan will convert because he sure does not care about the "Captives" as he neglects them to get political glory., to come full circle Brian E Daley, winner of the 2012 Ratzinger award will introduce Dolan at the Commencement along with Richard McBrien who will be duly told that he would never receive the R award for calling the present American bishops as the worst in our history. But you have made your bed Gerelyn.....

They should go with an American if they are smart. Americans, better than anyone else, understand how to work in a very public, secular and hyper-media age. Silencing press conferences was just very ill advised on the part of these Cardinals. And this is very important for the mission of the Church in the digital age.I am not saying that there is no place for candid, confidential conversations. However, it is a truism that people who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. Clearly these corrupt Vaticanisti cardinals have no clue. Sorry to have to be so blunt, but when it comes to p.r. in the digital age and communication strategy, you need someone who knows the ropes very well. Many of these other cardinals are useless in that regard. They may have other gifts but not in that area.Plus, Americans, for all their many faults, have a robust, open, healthy, political system and know how to get change done.

..sorry meant...make change happen! I am far from a cheerleader American or the American government but the talent of Americans when it comes to politics and communication is undeniable.

I wasnt unable. Just slow. By now you will have received my four corrections.Nuthin' yet, John.

John, I received your e-mail. Thanks! (If anyone wants to see it, let me know, and I'll forward it.)

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