by Anura Guruge
Alas and alack, it is not the dynamite one. But, this peace prize is germane and significant in terms of what it tells us about Church politics, given that Lord Cardinal Tarcisio Pietro Evasio Bertone, S.D.B., Secretary of State and the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, is a leading papabile, one could say the #1 Italian.
The award is the ‘John Paul II Peace Prize’, granted by the Italian cultural association ‘Anassilaos‘, based in Reggio Calabria.
The award confirms that the Secretary of State is respected and liked within the Church. As I have contended, regularly, it does not matter that he does not speak English in public or is seen by the media as being laid back (even on the thorny issue of clerical sex abuse), given that the public nor the media have any votes (or even say) come a conclave. Cardinal Bertone, in my eyes, remains the consummate Vatican beltway insider, the prelates prelate.
This said, I am rapidly losing heart that this very able Camerlengo will ever be pope. Time is not on his side given that he just turned 77. He, unfortunately, is unlikely to attend another conclave — the one in 2005, which elected his mentor, most likely will be his one and only. Why? Because I do not see Benedict XVI (#266), despite his ailments, abandoning his post any time in the next 6 years.
So, the earliest that Cardinal Bertone is likely to get a crack at the tiara is when he is 82 or 83. That could be a tad too late. I am totally convinced that in future, with popes and cardinals routinely living to be well past 80, the trend will be towards electing older and older popes — with the electors shooting for a 7-10 year term for new popes. That would mean that they have to start electing popes who are around 80.