Feb 292012

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

    by Anura Guruge

Related posts:
1/ Rome Reports TV Credits ‘Anura Guruge’ and This Blog For Pope’s Age Statistics — February 28, 2012.
2/ Benedict XVI Will Be Fifth (5th) Oldest Pope, Since 1400, On October 31, 2012 — February 24, 2012.

Anura Guruge Benedict XVI by the numbers

On February 29, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI (#266) would have been on earth for 31,000 days.

John Paul II (#265) died on April 2, 2005, on his 31,000th day on earth. So, on Feb. 29, a leap year day, Benedict equals John Paul II’s age. John Paul II was the 6th oldest pope — as of 1400. So, on Feb. 29, Benedict XVI becomes joint 6th oldest — as of 1400.

On March 1, 2012, Benedict XVI draws ahead to become the 6th oldest as of 1400. He will be 5th oldest on October 31, 2012.

I thought it was appropriate to celebrate this papal landmark by looking at Pope Benedict XVI’s life, on March 1, 2012, in terms of numbers:

Benedict XVI life in numbers by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE

Feb 282012

The 'typo' which is also in the video. Click for post and access via it.

Our friend ‘Dompointed out this typo.

I feel churlish to talk about it. Trust, me, nobody appreciates as much as I do, how easy it is to get those ordinals mixed up. I also get ‘Pius‘ and ‘Paul‘ mixed up. Using my sequence numbers, i.e., those that go #nnn, helps a bit. A few times I have got the ordinal wrong but the seq. number was right.

Here is my last post with the OLDEST table that shows Pius IX (#256) at #4. The pope will overtake him within the year. Mark my word on this.


Feb 282012
Rome Reports credits Anura Guruge Popes and papacy

Click image to access video and article at Rome Reports

This morning I had this e-mail from my friend, Robert, who lives in the shadows of the Vatican wall and was the founder of the amazing Il Sismografo (The Seismograph), Catholic news in 5 languages Web site that has covered my work quite a bit:

Click to ENLARGE.

This, I will confess, is gratifying. I am happy. The kids love it. Thank you to all for your continued help and support. Anura

Feb 272012

Benedict XIII (#246)

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

   by Anura Guruge

On Friday, February 24, 2012, in the Hall of Conciliation of the Lateran Palace (Rome), Cardinal Agostino Vallini (#9 papabile in my 2009 list, but now no longer favored), Vicar General of Rome, hosted a formal ceremony to reopen the cause of beatification and canonization of Pope Benedict XIII (#246) [May 1724 to Feb. 1730]. (Maybe the choice of venue was no coincidence. This really does seem to be an act of conciliation.)

This seemed incongruous to say the least. He wasn’t a great pope. Many probably know the antipope of that name better than the pope. That they have reopened his cause is puzzling.

The first attempt to beatify him was opened in 1755, in northwestern Italy (in Tortona), 25-years after his death. That was a lead balloon! Then, in 1931, again in Tortona, they reopened the cause. Nine years later they closed it. Now it is being reopened again? Why?

He, born Pietro Francesco Orsini, in 1650,  is from the great Orsinis of Rome — that also gave us Celestine III (#176) and Nicholas III (#189), but even more significantly Matteo Orsini, the enforcer of the very first bona fide conclave in 1241. He became a Dominican as a youth and thanks to his family ties became a cardinal priest (supposedly against his will) at the age of 23. Though he continued as a friar he would be appointed a bishop and eventually become the Archbishop of Benevento (Italy).

He was elected pope, as a compromise candidate following a 9-week conclave, at the age of 74. He was reluctant to become pope but accepted at the urging of the head of his order.

Upon becoming Bishop of Rome he did not relinquish Benevento. Holding two bishoprics was a practice started by German popes in the early 11th century.

Benedict XIII was the last pope to retain his prior bishopric upon becoming pope. Maybe that is why they want to make him a Saint?

To be fair he was pious pope. He was frugal, ascetic, devout but extremely fond of liturgical celebrations. This desire to celebrate led to him canonizing 10 saints and consecrating close to 140 bishops across Europe and the ‘New World’ — though he was only pope for five years and eight months. Consequently, many of today’s apostolic succession lineage chains end up going through one of these Benedict XIII bishops. He (like John Paul II (#265)) liked to exercise and would ride out of Rome, in disguise, so that he could partake in physical activity in the countryside. All of that is good.

One of those that he canonized was Gregory ‘Hildebrand’ VII (#158) — who had proclaimed that all popes are automatically Saints given their Peterine succession. [There is lot to be said for this line of thought and I personally think that Benedict XVI (#266) should edict it so as to eliminate this somewhat unsavory distinction among popes — and even this post wondering why Benedict XIII is more special than say Benedict XV (#259).] Gregory was quite a pope, and Hildebrand was quite the power behind the throne. But, alas, Gregory’s legacy involves his bitter, non-stop, acrimonious battle with the then Emperor Henry IV which led to much abuse of Rome. The Romans were not pleased. Gregory’s canonization, which lauded his battles with the emperor, was not popular.

He tried, though not successfully, to curb the indulgent lifestyles of his cardinals and Italian clerics. He forbid cardinals and clerics from wearing wigs. OK, that is probably worthy of a beatification. He also abolished the Roman lottery. That probably wasn’t good because his papacy bankrupted the papal finances!

In 1624 Urban VIII (#236), with a bull, banned the use of tobacco in holy places — the punishment being automatic excommunication. Benedict XIII invalidated that ban. Is that the real cause?

Benedict, atypical, of the time shunned nepotism. He didn’t even create a ‘nephew’ as the cardinal nephew though he was asked and expected to do so. Instead, his weakness, a fatal one at that, was for his old staff from his bishopric in Benevento. He brought his old staff over to Rome to help him be pope. Two in particular, both created cardinals, Paolucci and Coscia proved to be class reprobates — particularly the later who embezzled from the papal treasury!

So, some of the contemporary commentary of Benedict’s prowess as a pope included: “He did not have any idea about how to rule” and “All the money of Rome go to Benevento“.

Upon his death this little ditty came to be:

“This tomb encloses the bones of a little friar:
more than a saint’s lover a protector of brigands”

He was, as the above indicates, extremely unpopular by the time he died, particularly in Rome.

So, this begs the question, why is his cause being reopened. Aren’t there more worthy causes around?


Feb 272012

  by Father Anthony, STL
  Sussex, UK

The two latest Father Anthony related posts. Do a search for all the others:
1/ Nov. 24, 2011 — Father Anthony’s ‘Report From Rome’ Following His Nov. 4 Visit For 9 Days.
Nov. 18, 2011 — Pictures of Pope Benedict XVI, Last Week, From Father Anthony, STL.

Related to Father John’s ‘VaticanGate’ Series

i/ ‘VaticanGate’ — The Preamble posted on February 14, 2012♦ ♦  ii/ Fr. John: From Rottweiler to Owl posted February 16, 2012.  ♦ ♦  iia/ Fr. John: Submits Tarcisio ‘Peter the Roman’ Bertone YouTube Video For Consideration posted February 16, 2012♦ ♦  iii/ Fr. John — Cardinal Bertone: Rottweiler Pit Bull posted February 16, 2012.   ♦ ♦  iv/ Fr. John — The Game Changer posted on February 19, 2012.

page 26 from Anura Guruge the Next Pope 2011 book

Cardinal Antonelli from page 26 of 'The Next Pope 2011' book.

I am very impressed with Fr John’s analysis of the likely debates in any conclave in the comparatively near future. I agree with Anura that the Pope’s health seems pretty good for a man of 84 (85 in April ). The coming journey to Cuba and Mexico seems to support that view.

I certainly agree that he has aged quite a lot over the past year or so. I noticed that for myself when I saw him in November. I am not really expecting a conclave this year, but one never knows.

I understand the reasons Anura has given for the choice of an older man next time, but I would agree with Fr John that the Church needs a younger man with vision and the necessary energy to undertake the reforms that I believe many will want to see in the Curia.

I certainly hope so!

The recent leaked documents paint a very unattractive picture of Curial infighting and may well lead the Cardinals to look for someone outside Italy, unless of course they take the view that only an Italian can sort out the Italian mess: Cardinal Antoneli perhaps? I think a non-Italian is more likely nonetheless. [Anura: Ennio Antonelli was in the 2012 papabili list I published last week. We was #5 in my 2011 list (and as such in ‘The Next Pope 2011‘ book. But, he was #2 in my 2009-2010 list.]

I suspect that this points to someone with curial experience but with real pastoral experience in the field as well. That would fit Cardinal Ouellet and the newly created Brazilian Cardinal in charge of the Congregation for Religious (whose name I cannot remember how to spell! ). [Anura: Father that would be João Braz de Aviz who is all of 64 years old. Ouellet, for long my #1, is not as favored by me as he was even a few months ago! My new pick is Santos Abril y Castelló.]

Both of these would represent a move away from Europe, which must surely happen sooner or later. It also fits the two African Cardinals in the Curia, but I am inclined to share Anura’s view that this is less likely.

I suspect that Fr John is right in seeing Cardinal Bertone as a key figure at the conclave, but not as a serious candidate. Although he is personally likeable he would be very unlikely, in my view, to be able to gather the support of two thirds of the College. Fairly or unfairly he is too closely identified with the “gaffes” that have arisen during the last seven years. I believe that they will ( and should ) want a clean break with the past.

I share Fr John’s view of what is needed, and I think that quite a number of Cardinals would do so privately. Whether there are enough of them to affect the outcome is less clear.

I would suggest that as men of wide experience and often with good “political” sense they will see the need for something more than just a continuation of the past few years.

Catholic orthodoxy will be important, but given that, there is, I hope, more desire for change than is apparent now. I suspect that is the case. No one can want things to go on as they are.

The Church is in crisis in many parts of the world, and the Cardinals know this as well as anyone. I noted Cardinal Schonborn’s recent comments about the need to find a way forward in the pastoral care of divorced and re-married people as a straw in the wind.

With Fr John I also believe that recent events in Rome have altered things in favour of a relatively younger ( 63-73) Pope with Curial and Diocesan experience. Perhaps we need, and might get a new Pius XI.

Sorry if that is a bit long, but I wanted to make a comment and am very impressed by Fr John’s knowlege of the Italian situation (certainly much better than mine ) and his analysis of the needs and of likely direction the Conclave might take.

Feb 262012

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

   by Anura Guruge

In this January 11, 2012 post I touched on what would happen (in the very unlikely scenario given that I think the pope is still hale) if there were to be a conclave while there were more than 120 cardinal electors — assuming, of course, that ill health among some of the cardinals didn’t keep the number below 120.

Contrary to what some pundits will claim, I, having studied conclave protocols and lore in more detail than most, am fairly sure is that the College of Cardinals, meeting in their sede vacante General Congregations, will not permit more than 120 electors to participate in the conclave. Exceeding the 120 limit is an explicit violation of Universi Dominici Gregis and such an blatant and intentional violation would invalidate the election — at least in the eyes of some. So, that option has to be taken off the table.

Yes, you can then come up with all sorts of other, totally arbitrary, criteria as to how to select the 120 electors that will be permitted entry. We have already heard the oldest 120 and youngest 120 (both in terms of age) suggested. But, you could come up with other criteria too: longest as consecrated bishops, residentials given priority over curialist etc. But, none of these scheme have any accepted basis for validity or a precedent vis-à-vis College protocols. Hence, my contention all along that the only scheme that makes sense and has any legitimacy is to use the standard, accepted order of precedence within the College to determine which 120 can enter the conclave. Per this scheme the junior most cardinal deacons get left out (now that the College has so many cardinal deacons that it is unlikely we would ever get to the junior most cardinal priests when talking about the lower-end of precedence scale).

So right now the five junior most cardinal deacons, per precedence [i.e., order in which they were created as opposed to their age], have to wait their turn for a slot to open up. Versaldi is the most junior of the under-80 cardinals.

So, barring deaths, this is how they will get slotted in as other more senior cardinals age out:

Anura Guruge February 18 new cardinals aging out

Click to ENLARGE.

Refer to the ‘Consistory‘ TAB right at the top, above the banner ((↑)), for all the requisite links, including those for the February 18, 2012 consistory.

Feb 242012

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

   by Anura Guruge

Some of the Past Posts:
Benedict overtaking John Paul II — Sept. 14, 2011.
Continues as 7th oldest since 1400Apr. 12, 2011.
3/ Oldest popes when elected — June 18, 2010.
4/ Benedict’s Rapid rise through the longevity ran
ks — December 15, 2011.

and lets not forget the Benedict XVI becoming ‘n’ oldest Countdown Clock implemented here (→ →) as of September 15, 2011.

That the pope, Benedict XVI (#266), will on Thursday, March 1, 2012, become the sixth (6th) oldest pope, as of 1400, vaulting over his old friend John Paul II (#265), is but old (white) hat to the cognoscenti on this blog.

If nothing else we have had a countdown clock to this for the last 5 months. I first reported on the 6th oldest, as of 1400 (of course), in July 2010. So, the sixth oldest no longer interests me. I have moved on. I have the dates even for the fourth (4th) oldest.

Yes, come next week there will be some fanfare and many, especially the Roman media, will get it wrong as they already have, and say the poor pope is the oldest ever!  That is not really a compliment. Just makes him look (and probably feel) old.

250 days from today, or 244 days from March 1, 2012, when he becomes 6th oldest (since) 1400, Benedict will have been on earth for 31,245 days and thus will overtake Innocent XII (#243) to become the 5th oldest — since 1400.

I, unlike some, have absolutely no doubt that Benedict will be around see the end of 2012. No conclave this year.

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