Jan 202011
 

by Anura Guruge

This post is to provide an update following Father Peter’s as ever insightful comments leading up to that of January 19, 2011.

You may also want, at a minimum, to refer to the papabili related posts on Jan. 11, 2011 (Bertone), Jan. 06, 2011 (Father Anthony), Jan. 04, 2011 (current thinking), Dec. 6, 2010 (over 75), Dec. 7, 2010 (over 75 ‘stars’), and Nov. 20, 2010 (not American).

My current favorite, Cardinal Ouellet, the ideal compromise candidate -- Anura Guruge

My current favorite, Cardinal Ouellet, the ideal compromise candidate -- Anura Guruge

Right now, my overall favorite, the one that I always end up coming back to, is Canadian curialist Cardinal Ouellet. I identified and picked Cardinal Ouellet in December 2008, prior to his high profile curial posting last June. My only reservation as to do with his age — given that I am, in papabili 2011, only looking at a 9 to 12 month horizon [i.e., Jan/Feb. 2012 ONLY]. He is young. If elected pope in 2011 he could reign, with aplomb for some of the time, for 20 years.

At a time when there is considerable consensus that we do not have any stand-out front-runners, Ouellet is an incredible compromise candidate for 2011 (bar for his youth). He is ‘conservative,’ and has had a close philosophical relationship with the current pope going back, at least, a couple of decades. But, from what I understand, he is not considered to be a zealot á la the ‘Little’ or ‘Tanned’ Ratzingers. So, he is mellow conservative.

He is from the Americas, without being American, with significant Latin American experience and connections. He also belongs to a religious order. Now he is a curialist. As the bishop-maker for the world he is in a position, where whether he likes it or not, or whether he wants it or not, he is going to garner IOUs from grateful countries and their cardinals — for putting forward the appropriate, ‘conservative’ candidates for bishoprics. He also has a reputation as an intellectual. Moreover, he has tried not to get embroiled in controversies or to seek media attention.

Other than Ouellet, I try to look at different scenarios — always acutely aware that the cardinal electors are likely to have likes, biases, requirements and prejudices that are very different to those of the lay constituents. Consequently, whether Cardinal Bertone is fluent in English may not matter as much to non English speaking cardinal electors as it does to laity from English speaking countries. Similarly, the whole thorny issue of ‘conservatism.’ If you are a conservative at heart, as at least 70% of the cardinal electors are, the ‘conservative’ credentials of a candidate may not bother you as much as it will bother a lay moderate. So, the best I can do is look at different scenarios and pick papabili for each of those and then see what kind of support they can get.

A key scenario I work on is what I call the ‘continuing the John Paul II (#265) franchise’ — basically the move to slowly but surely roll back as many of the innovations of Vatican II as possible. [Akin to the new GOP dominated US House of Representatives repealing the Obamacare laws that were signed last year.] Benedict XVI was elected to maintain this franchise and particularly when it comes to the Latin Mass he has not let the conservatives down. The BIG question is whether, after 31-32 years of operating in this ‘roll back Vatican II’ mode, SOME of the electors want a change of agenda.

Cardinal Bertone, no better to continue the John Paul II franchise -- Anura Guruge

Cardinal Bertone, no better to continue the John Paul II franchise -- Anura Guruge

So here are some of the scenarios that I look at:
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1/ Continuation of the John Paul II — Benedict XVI franchise.
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2/ Change of agenda, however small, from the John Paul II — Benedict XVI franchise.
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3/ Latin American pope.
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4/ Popular pope … a pope that smiles and can make people smile.
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5/ Pastoral pope.
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6/ Italian pope — for the sake of having an Italian pope.

Cardinal Bertone is my favorite for the continuation of the John Paul II — Benedict XVI franchise scenario. As a relatively popular Secretary of State, he can rely on an impressive cross-section of votes: viz. Italian, curial, religious orders, conservative and European. Plus, he will get the SOCCER VOTE — and that should not be underestimated given how popular soccer is in South America, Africa and Europe.

Cardinal Ouellet will get a cross-section of votes from: USA, Latin America, curial, Commonwealth [South Africa, India, UK, Australia, Sri Lanka], religious orders, conservative etc.

Cardinal Scola is my favorite for both the Italian and pastoral popes though I also toy with Antonelli and Amato.

Cardinal Ravisi is my Italian (and possibly curial) pick.

When it comes to Latin America my current pick is Ouellet! But, failing that Cardinal Sandri.

This is not an exact science. I try to use as much second degree logic as I can muster, always acutely aware that it is extremely unlikely that cardinal electors think anywhere close to how I think. And, thank God for that!

So … have your say. Thanks.

  77 Responses to “Papabili 2011 — Working The Permutations”

  1. Dear Will,
    That must be painful: ‘being FLAT OUT at work’. I dread to even ask what you do.
    Re. clarification … of course they are all brothers in the flesh, BUT aren’t they also brothers in FAITH since we all believe in the same, singular God — with no exception.
    I will come back to YOUR very enlightened answer on Q1. I thank you for it.
    Will, have you ever read “The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” — a damn good BBC production. Here is a link. YOU could watch the movie … but that isn’t very good. The TV series is better … BUT not as good as the BOOKS. In the Guide, and there are MANY, who consider it THEIR BIBLE, there is a section showing God creating earth … and the whole notion that … just as we experiment with mice in mazes … what we have in life is really that … the God seeing how we perform in this earthly maze.
    Douglas, INDUBITABLY, was a genius … one of the first to recognize the potential of Macs in publishing.
    God, must have LOVED HIM … as many of us STILL do, unconditionally.
    Called, to our chagrin, called him home, YOUNG … in the prime of his illustrious life. Damn.
    Must go. Kind of busy. But, NOT flat out like you. All the best. Thanks.

  2. But Father, I am STILL confused. Probably even more so. You would make an excellent US lawyer.
    Father, can we just deal in FACTS. Did or did NOT the Flood occur. PLEASE. A ‘yes’ or ‘no’ would suffice, I don’t need to know how deep it was, the temperature of the water, how many drowned and when the US President, whoever he was at that time, dispatched FEMA to provide relief.
    Just need to understand, was there or was there NOT a flood.
    All this stuff about God changing is confuses the HECK out of my simple mind.
    Sorry to be so DENSE, Father. I really appreciate your efforts to try and help me. It will stand you in good stead … I hope.
    All the best. THANK YOU. Much appreciated.
    Anura

  3. OK. So there WAS a FLOOD. Ok, Ok, Ok … it was like the Tsunami. It happened but God didn’t have anything to do with it. Right? That is what you are trying to say. Shame all those people died, and forget all that stuff about Noah. It was JUST a flood. Wow. It must be nice to be a theologian, Father. In all the jobs that I have had I would NOT get paid IF I could no explain things clearly. IF you go Google … in addition to the few books … I have written a LOT of so called White Papers. A White Paper, by definition, explains a concept, a technology or a product. I can just see me telling a client … ‘Hey, I am only a writer, I can’t make sure everything is clear.‘ I don’t care if they laughed at me … that is OK. People laugh at me all the time because I look funny. But, my clients wouldn’t have paid me the modest fees I charged, IF they thought what I wrote didn’t explain things clearly. Wow, I wished I had been a theologian. I bet you get paid better too.
    As you may have discovered, for all my faults and limitations, I am NOT SHY. So, I ask. I ask. Nobody would ever accuse me … of being too shy to ask. Now you are making me SMILE. OK. I have to stop. I am smiling too much … thinking of how I have never been too shy to ask.
    Thank YOU, father. Cheers

  4. Well, father independent of the flood, can you give me a theologians answer about HELL. Is there OR is there no hell, or are you going to give me a hell of answer that I will have no hope in hell of being able to make head or tail of.
    Why I am asking about hell? Back to YOU, God and lack of coercion. If there is a hell then I feel coerced. If you PLEASE TELL ME that there is no hell (and hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink …) then I will not feel coerced and will immediately set out to catch up on all the sin that I have forgone BECAUSE I was worried … coerced … that God was going to send me to hell.
    Father reading the biblical texts does very little to me. I don’t get them. It is like reading Shakespeare. I even have illustrated bibles … but they don’t have enough pictures. But, now that I am thinking … I am sure I have seen pictures of the flood. Even an ark. Never mind. It is OK father. I am cool … well maybe that is not the appropriate word … because if there is a hell, I am unlikely to stay cool for long.
    Father, don’t get offended or upset.
    With much gratitude and affection,
    Anura

  5. Dear Father,
    I will respond to the revelation that there is indeed a hell tomorrow. I thank you, sincerely, for confirming its existence. To be honest, I always knew that it must exist because all my life so many people have told me EITHER that I was going straight to hell or told me to go to hell.
    But, father, I had another revelation TODAY … thanks to you and I am delighted that I am the FIRST to have realized this.
    *******
    Father, from what you have been saying about theologians today … the penny suddenly dropped … the light bulb lit up … BINGO … George W. Bush, our previous president, who we all knew was very religious WAS, of course, a theologian. BINGO. That explains it all. Making things clear was never important to him and he also in a couple of interviews looked genuinely confused when asked whether he had made any mistake. So, now I understand. George W. Bush was a theologian. A good one at that, I guess judging from what I learned today.
    Thank you, Father. I am grateful.
    Well, tomorrow we will go back to the subject of hell.
    All the best father.

  6. Dear Father,
    Distressing YOU even the slightest is NEVER my intent. You know that I hold YOU in high esteem.
    Father, you can explain and clarify as much as you want. You have to admit I have NOT modified or not posted ANY of your comments. As soon as I see anything FROM YOU, I approve it even before I read it. So … PLEASE. You have the floor.
    I am GLAD that YOU say it writing … ‘kind of “smoke and mirror game” played by theologians.’
    ******
    Father, I use another word ‘obfuscate.’ There is always a NEW explanation.
    Father, mean I always WORRY about the Second Coming. From what I can see theologians have been fudging that for 1,950 years. And, at some point, PLEASE, FATHER, we need to touch upon the dicey subject of circumcision. Because, as far as I know (nad that is never that much or that reliable), we ONLY have St. Saul’s word for that. Is that right? From what I remember, James, who was, as it should be, circumcised was very displeased with Saul. Is that right. And, from what I know Saul was not a theologian.
    ******
    OK, Father, we are cool. I do NOT want PROOF. I never want you to end your postings with QED. I just want CLARIFICATIONS of statements.
    Thank YOU, Father. I will now post a separate, very important comment.
    All the best,
    Anura

  7. Dear Father,
    2nd reply this morning, NOW that I, again, confirmed that YOU have TOTAL say, I do not need proof, just clarification of statements — MADE BY YOU.
    ******
    So, Father, since we established last night that there is indeed a hell … I just want YOU to CONFIRM, ONE statement … that was made BY YOU … earlier this week.
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    Father, YOU said that God does NOT coerce.
    ******
    Well, Father, if there is a HELL, there has to be coercion.
    ******
    So Father, that is ALL I seek clarification right now.
    ******
    Now that you have admitted that there is a hell, do YOU STILL stand by YOUR STATEMENT that God does not coerce … though many would agree with me … having a hell is one hell of a coercion.
    ******
    Thank YOU, Father. Bless you for your trouble and patience.
    All the best.
    I will be gone for awhile. I have some very earthly business to pursue.

  8. So Dear Father,
    As a biological father, I can give my 4-year old daughter a box of matches and say ‘Please only use this if we lose power and you need a light to find your way.’ So if by chance she sets fire to the house … I didn’t do ANYTHING irresponsible BECAUSE I told her.
    In my simplistic outlook, God still does not need to punish. Yes, I am VERY THANKFUL for Free Will.
    *******
    Father, here is the problem … in MY CASE.
    *******
    I was cheated. I am not sure whether in YOUR CAPACITY you can fix this for me.
    Father, as you know I was not born into a Christian family. So for much of my life I did NOT KNOW of God!
    I will come back to this. It REALLY bothers me.
    Father, from what I can see, my only sins in life are what you would call sins of the flesh. But, during ALL the TIME I sinned, I had never even heard of God. So HE CAN’T HOLD that against me … RIGHT? Yes, I know that in law, ignorance of the law is not mitigation, BUT how am I supposed to know … when GOD never let me have the opportunity. I was taught a very different set of laws. In my case it was all reincarnation.
    So Father, I only discovered God very late in life. By then I was already living a saintly life — mainly because I had no energy left. So, since discovering God I have NOT SINNED. So, I am A-OK … right? No hell for me, If anything, I would even argue that since finding God I have led a purer life than even you — since YOU were a Christian all YOUR life and I assume you must have had hormones kick-in when you were a teenager. [[ smile, smile ]]
    So, my hope is that as with John Paul II … I will be going straight to heaven … since I am without sin since God.
    That is right … right?
    Father, here is the good news for YOU. I will put in a good word for YOU … for free, as soon as I get there.
    *********
    Here is what keeps me up at night.
    Why did God consign me to a non-Christian, non-White family … in a poor, underdeveloped country … WHEN YOU were assigned to a good Christian, white family in a RICH country. God, obviously, favored YOU more than he favored me … from the start. [But, per my belief, I am going to get to heaven sooner than you. So there!] Why does God create 2nd-class or even 3rd-class people LIKE ME? Nothing to do with FREE WILL. I had no choice. Yes, YOU don’t have to deal with this mystery. But, to me, it is mystery UNO. Why did God not make himself known to ME for so, so long. NOT MY FAULT. If anything I could blame YOU. Why didn’t YOU make more of a concerted effort to spread the word of God in Ceylon? Was it because you didn’t care?
    Father, YOU talk about getting distressed.
    Well, here try my shoes for a few minutes. But, I am cool. I have been such a good boy since God.
    Thank you, Father. It is OK. I forgive you for not rescuing me when I was lost.
    All the best Father.
    With affection,
    Anura

  9. So Father,
    You really HAVE NO answer to why people are born non-Christian. You say: ‘I can only say …’.
    Isn’t this a fairly critical issue. That is ALL you can say: ‘I can only say …’
    Yes, I nearly died twice before I was 10 — once from getting Typhoid from bad water. I was not Baptized. Yes, per YOU, God will now take all the credit for me NOT DYING, but he will remain, as ever, blameless that I was born a non-Christian, was not baptized, nearly died …
    Father, I just did some quick calculations. In the time YOU have been reading this comment by me … about 136 NON-CHRISTIAN children were born around the world. Yes, 136 a minute.
    Well, as of TODAY … I am holding YOU PERSONALLY responsible for that. In the US culture somebody has to always be held responsible. And YOU are IT.
    Don’t give me all that stuff that YOUR Church does not believe in missionary work. Yep, if I was a Austrian priest, attached to a RICH Church, I too would say that. Well, I hope that when it come to the Word of God that you will stand above petty church ideology.
    Father, you know that famous adage: ‘those that can do, those that cannot teach.’ Well, it is time for YOU, to stop pontificating and show ME that you really do mean all this stuff that you say.
    Here is my vision for YOU. From Austria you can walk to China or Central Africa. Set off today, per one of YOUR famous namesakes … Peter the Hermit. Take a leaf from the books of Buddhist monks. BEG for alms along the way. Use your mighty erudition and wit to get by. Preach on the way. For much of the way you could sleep in churches or monasteries. God, will provide for you … unless you tell me that he won’t.
    So, father, as of NOW … I am holding YOU personally responsible for all the non-christian babies in the world. Even if you convert one that would be worth it.
    So please father. Set forth today. Peter the Hermit. He was committed.
    So if I do not hear from you I will know that you are on the way.
    Bless you Father. I think it was OUR DESTINY that we met, so that I can urge you on this crusade … one so dear to me BECAUSE I was on the wrong side of the coin.
    All the best. Thank YOU, Father. Bon voyage.

  10. I am sorry if I caused any offense or distress. My ONLY goal is to ensure that we try and save OTHERS like me … born non-Christians. Yes, it is very frustrating to mere mortals like me … because NO BODY is ever responsible … no body is ever to blame.
    Well, I had NO free will in how I was born. And I want an answer. Yes, I get upset. But, so did Jesus.
    I am sorry.
    Well, Father, it is OK. YOU do NOT have to answer any more questions. It is OK. I will take it right to the TOP.
    That is ONE thing that I am sure differentiates YOU from ME. Given that I, as a poor, non-Christian, non-white, has ALREADY been through hell on earth, I am no longer afraid to challenge or question. I will gladly ask them directly from God. As I told you, I think I will get the chance soon. Rest assured, I will seek answers. I will tell him that this nonsense of creating non-Christian babies at the rate of 136 per minute HAS TO STOP.
    But, I THANK YOU. You have helped me more than you realize. But, you are not my only source of advice. I do have others who try to help me. Plus, I do my own research daily and ask God to help me.
    So, Father, I leave YOU in peace. It is a pity that you will not help me in my mission to help non-Christian babies. I will, as ever, do what I can.
    Thank YOU, Father. I could say, please carry on the good work, but I will NOT — since as YOU, correctly pointed out, I am not sure what work that is. But, I wish you well.
    Thank you. Thank you.
    So, please NO MORE dialog. I have all the answers you can supply … plus I know your formula by now. So bless you. THANK YOU.
    It was a great honor to learn what I did from you. I will always treasure it and recognize that YOU provided me with the inspiration and impetus.
    Thank you. All the best.
    Anura

  11. Dear Anura,

    I have been away for a while – i’m a lawyer – although not a confusing US one! just a lowly antipodean one! My girls are fine thanks. They are growing up so fast! it’s truly amazing how relevant that old Roman proverb is: Tempus Fugit! I hope your family is good too. I see you adopted a girl – I admire that. If more people had the courage to do what you have done, the world would be a much better place.

    After a short hiatus from this blog I have gone through your exchanges with Fr Peter. I don’t know if I could offer a different perspective on some of the VERY challenging questions you pose. Why? because you are much older than I am and therefore have far more life experience. I lack that. But, let me say this: I belong to the school of thought that is ‘think free or die’ – without reservation.

    I have looked at your post, number 32. I want to give you my two cents worth. I say two cents worth (in times of rising inflation…) because that is all its worth. I will attempt to address it in two parts:

    Part I Re:

    “I was cheated. I am not sure whether in YOUR CAPACITY you can fix this for me.
    Father, as you know I was not born into a Christian family. So for much of my life I did NOT KNOW of God!
    I will come back to this. It REALLY bothers me.
    Father, from what I can see, my only sins in life are what you would call sins of the flesh. But, during ALL the TIME I sinned, I had never even heard of God. So HE CAN’T HOLD that against me … RIGHT? Yes, I know that in law, ignorance of the law is not mitigation, BUT how am I supposed to know … when GOD never let me have the opportunity. I was taught a very different set of laws. In my case it was all reincarnation.
    So Father, I only discovered God very late in life. By then I was already living a saintly life — mainly because I had no energy left. So, since discovering God I have NOT SINNED. So, I am A-OK … right? No hell for me, If anything, I would even argue that since finding God I have led a purer life than even you — since YOU were a Christian all YOUR life and I assume you must have had hormones kick-in when you were a teenager. [[ smile, smile ]]
    So, my hope is that as with John Paul II … I will be going straight to heaven … since I am without sin since God.
    That is right … right?”

    Well, Anura let me say that you are not alone in your struggles against the flesh, and adolescence was not so long ago for me!! This begs the question what is sin? and why does God create so many men with a nature inclined to sin? isn’t that setting us up to fail? and the consequences??

    Sin, in Catholic teaching is an offence against God. We can offend God in a variety of ways. By thoughts, words or actions they can lead us to Hell, if they are serious i.e: murder.. or not, i.e swearing. Two extremes, yes. But I hope that illustrates the point.

    Then there is the question of nature and free will. Again I can only give you my limited knowledge and understanding of this. Re nature: God created Adam and Eve in grace without defect. This was called the state of original justice. It meant, that ALL Humans would grow up and KNOWING and loving God and would not suffer death and at the end of their life be ‘translated’ into heaven (like Henoch & Elias). This was life in the garden of Eden. But then ol’ Adam took a bite of that Apple and stuffed it up for the rest of us – poor humankind.. So once God started dishing out punishments God passed the death sentence on ALL humankind. He closed Heaven and opened up Hell for the sons of Adam. So in order to save mankind, after I don’t know how many years..God decided to send Jesus to save us. I’m sure you know the rest. I hear your complaint re not knowing God due to your geographical location and familial background. Wouldn’t you be annoyed if you were born prior to the time of not knowing Christ at all? I guess it is better late than never? I think that SUFFERING is not only the lot of mankind, but it is ore acutely felt as a Christian. Why? because you have to forgo the pleasures of this world. As Jesus said we must deny ourselves take up our cross and follow Him.. So every human has to suffer. It is worth pointing out that Christ did not have to suffer He freely gave up His on life. It is ADAM’s fault – All of it. He is the one PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE for dooming mankind, if you get to heaven and he is there, remind him that this misery that IS life is ALL his fault. He is the ONE to blame for you not knowing God and suffering typhoid. (I nearly died at age 4 due to pneunmonia – ADAM is the one responsible for that). In fact, the reason why we know so little about God and that our intellects are so limited is because of him.

    But I hear you. Doesn’t this beg the question why did God put ADAM to the ‘test’ knowing as God knows everything that Adam would fail? WHY? That would be like you giving your daughter some matches and saying ‘here’s a box of matches ‘ what ever you do don’t open them. I’ll be back in 15, 20 mins. Be good’ What do you think would happen? would you be surprised if something utterly disastrous happened?? would you? (I anticipate your answer would be NO) So why did God do it then? Apparently the answer to this is God wanted to test Adam in the same way as he tested the Angels – to see whether the beings he had created loved Him for his own sake and not for what he had to offer. Again, it is interesting because He surely know the answer to that.

    But, here is where it gets interesting. He loves (I use the present tense because I believe that if he wanted to wipe us out into oblivion at the blink of an eye, he could and since I am still typing this post I assume He still loves me) mankind so much that he decided to lower Himself and take on human flesh – in the form of Jesus and bind His own existence to that which He created.

    So I think that is why he gave us free will. But even that is a bit of an illusion. In reality God as God knows where each and every human is destined be it for heaven or hell, because he really is the One that determines that. And although it is written in the good book that God Wills the salvation of all, in reality he allows the damnation of many. We poor mortals toiling in this life with all its dangers, do not know whether we will end up there with Him or down below on the scrap heap. For ever and ever and ever – and we only get one chance. All we can do is say our prayers and hope for the best. What a fate.

    Now for Part II

    Re: Here is what keeps me up at night.
    Why did God consign me to a non-Christian, non-White family … in a poor, underdeveloped country … WHEN YOU were assigned to a good Christian, white family in a RICH country. God, obviously, favored YOU more than he favored me … from the start. [But, per my belief, I am going to get to heaven sooner than you. So there!] Why does God create 2nd-class or even 3rd-class people LIKE ME? Nothing to do with FREE WILL. I had no choice. Yes, YOU don’t have to deal with this mystery. But, to me, it is mystery UNO. Why did God not make himself known to ME for so, so long. NOT MY FAULT. If anything I could blame YOU. Why didn’t YOU make more of a concerted effort to spread the word of God in Ceylon? Was it because you didn’t care?
    Father, YOU talk about getting distressed.
    Well, here try my shoes for a few minutes. But, I am cool. I have been such a good boy since God.

    Again, ADAM is the one personally to blame for YOURS & MY personal circumstances. To give an example – we are both dads, and I would like to think GOOD dads.. (But again, you’ve got FAR more experience than me!! – alas, I have a lot to learn), but as dads we have to make some BIG decisions that could effect our families for a long time. Lets say that we borrowed X amount of $ for a mortgage over our houses. But rather than pay the bank back we decided we’d go to Las Vegas and played for double or nothing and we came out with nothing..and lost our homes. Who would suffer?? Our families would and they would suffer for a long time. Just think of the opportunity cost lost.. we can’t imagine it. So in the same way Adam has blown it all for us and WE still SUFFER to this day because he decided to take a chance at being a God and taking a bite.

    Well my learned friend, that is the way I look at it, my two cents. It may not make sense but I offer you my perspective if it is of help.

    NB: the cricket world cup starts soon on the sub-continent. And yes, there is a NZ v Sri Lanka match. Which I boldly predict that the Kiwis will get smashed by Sri Lanka..why because we don’t have a bowling attack. And we don’t have any real batsmen – we have sloggers. A big difference.

    Cheers,

    Will

  12. Anura,

    I hope your wife makes a full recovery. Take your time with your response. I typed it late at night NZ time and upon reading it now, I noticed there are a few ‘typos’.

    Ah yes the famed ‘Calypeso Kings’ of the late 70′s & 80′s. Yes, I remember the remnants of that era in the late 80′s. Although, Pakistan was on the rise by that time. You are lucky indeed to have gone to Lords ‘the home of cricket’ and seen those giants of the game at their best.

    I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

    Cheers,

    Will

  13. Dear Will,
    In your lengthy comment YOU made so many tantalizing points … though sometimes I go the distinct impression that you would like to say more but felt that that would be overstepping the mark.
    I will, if we can, come back over the next few days, and dig deeper into specific issues.
    I never realized that Adam was in heaven. By Jove!
    Will, as for TESTING Adam as you elaborate. He is God. All knowing. So didn’t HE KNOW the outcome of the test? Please answer that. Why does he have to test? He should have known BEFORE hand! Right? You make him sound like George W. Bush and his WMD theory for invading Iraq. Plus, you say: ‘he tested the Angels – to see whether the beings he had created loved Him for his own sake and not for what he had to offer’
    DO NOT buy that either, IF he was the product designer he should have known what he was designing. Right? He is God.
    You make him sound a bumbler! Do YOU really mean to.
    **** From a legalistic standpoint, I have many concerns. Did he provide the couple with adequate warning as to the consequences of what would happen. I do NOT think so. It was entrapment. Plain and simple. ******
    Plus, the FLOOD.
    Wasn’t that to try and restart … erase his prior creations because they let him down. Where the heck is the prescience? PLEASE elaborate.
    *******
    You then said: I’m sure you know the rest.
    Wrong, my friend. I have no bloody clue. From what I see, the last 2,000 years has not been a walk in the park. I particularly feel miffed for the Jews. Do you permit Jews in NZ? I like Jews. You can trust them! They really got shafted. That really bothers me. Jesus was born a Jew. If he was going to SHAFT them, his own people, at least from his mother’s side … why didn’t he give them a head’s up. Was that not anticipated either?
    I do NOT know. But, as you have rightly recognized I will get the chance to get answers to these questions much, much sooner than YOU. Rest assured, I will go at it hammer and tongs. As I said, I have already been through hell. YOU still have that to look forward to … and as you must know … there is supposed to be a VIP section, in hell, for those that dropped out of seminary. I gather it is considered akin to have signed up to play for Packer. But, I will do my best to intercede on your behalf.
    So PLEASE think about all you said. Adam, in my book, was entrapped. NOT his fault in the slightest. If it was today we could get him off, legally, with no trouble …
    Thanks, Will. All the best.
    Cheers

  14. By the way, do YOU work for Sidley & Austin?
    Cheers,

  15. Dear Anura,

    I too will have to break down your post point by point to cover all questions.

    Re: I never realized that Adam was in heaven. By Jove!

    I don’t know if he is in heaven. By my reckoning, if God holds him personally responsible for the consequences of his actions then I don’t see how, but I don’t know.

    Re: Will, as for TESTING Adam as you elaborate. He is God. All knowing. So didn’t HE KNOW the outcome of the test? Please answer that. Why does he have to test? He should have known BEFORE hand! Right? You make him sound like George W. Bush and his WMD theory for invading Iraq. Plus, you say: ‘he tested the Angels – to see whether the beings he had created loved Him for his own sake and not for what he had to offer’
    DO NOT buy that either, IF he was the product designer he should have known what he was designing. Right? He is God.
    You make him sound a bumbler! Do YOU really mean to.

    God knew the outcome of the test. Yes, of course He did. So why test us? The only answer my feeble brain can come up with is the following analogy: Say you are a very wealthy young man and you fall in love with a beautiful woman but you want to know if she loves you for who you are and not the wealth and status you have to offer. So, you decide to ‘test’ her to see whether she is genuine, and what do you know she fails.. Now Anura, I know that there are MANY shortcomings with this analogy, but I guess, the point is that that is why I think God put his creation to the test – along the same lines. Did he know the result beforehand? Yes. So why bother? Why create anything at all then if you can’t create them perfectly – which He could, of course do.

    The answer must lie in the Incarnation of Christ. From all eternity God determined that HE would bind himself forever to human flesh. The flesh that He was to create in the form of Adam (hence being made in the image and likeness of God..). Bear in mind that the ‘test’ of the angels was BEFORE the creation of Adam. It is interesting that genesis doesn’t mention the fall of the angels.. maybe the writers of those books took it for granted that everyone knew that. Perhaps this was the test of the angels: That they saw Christ, and they saw Him crucified and God asked them to adore that? And Lucifer & Co said ‘ego non serviam’ – why should I worship a God that allows His created to treat Him like that.. i’m just guessing.

    All of this begs the question if God is perfect then why did He create anything at all? He certainly didn’t need to.I think the Catholic teaching on this is that God created the angels and us to worship Him that IS the meaning of life and our existance.

    Re: *** From a legalistic standpoint, I have many concerns. Did he provide the couple with adequate warning as to the consequences of what would happen. I do NOT think so. It was entrapment. Plain and simple. ******

    Hmm. I see your point. But God did warn Adam ‘the day you shall eat of that tree you shall die the death’ – or words to that effect. But did Adam actually know what death was? was there ‘consensus ad idem’ ( a phrase often used in contract law)? Maybe. Maybe not. After all what could he compare death to?? It appears from what the serpent said to Eve was that ‘Nah you won’t die -you will be a God, knowing good and evil’.. Its kind of interesting to see that later on in that chapter that God kind of confirms that Adam was now like a ‘god’ – NOW knowing good and evil. Something he didn’t know before.

    However the serpent was clever about this – remember he didn’t ask Adam first – he got to him through Eve. So he deceived Eve and she pressured Adam. In short, God warned Adam he warned Eve. So I say ‘nay’ to entrapment but maybe to duress. But Adam plead ‘duress’ before God and God declined that appeal!! He then tried his second ground of appeal: blame God. This he clearly did when he said “the woman, which YOU gave me etc..I had a bite” God reject that ground of appeal too and sentenced Adam, (and all mankind) to death.

    All of this is chapter 3 Genesis. I find it fascinating.

    Re: Plus, the FLOOD.
    Wasn’t that to try and restart … erase his prior creations because they let him down. Where the heck is the prescience? PLEASE elaborate.

    Yes, the flood. Yes you are right. Again, to elaborate shortly after God all but destroys mankind He says – like He has given up in a way: Man’s heart is inclined to evil even from his youth (this is all a direct consequence of Adam eating an apple..) and I won’t do that again (meaning He won’t destroy humankind again with water). In essence, the reason why he did it was because man was ‘sinning’ too much and as those books put it: sins cry to heaven for vengeance.

    To put it bluntly, God saw ALL of the consequences of Adam’s sin. But He allowed it to happen.

    Re: You then said: I’m sure you know the rest.
    Wrong, my friend. I have no bloody clue. From what I see, the last 2,000 years has not been a walk in the park. I particularly feel miffed for the Jews. Do you permit Jews in NZ? I like Jews. You can trust them! They really got shafted. That really bothers me. Jesus was born a Jew. If he was going to SHAFT them, his own people, at least from his mother’s side … why didn’t he give them a head’s up. Was that not anticipated either?

    Yes my friend we do have Jews in NZ. Yes, they are good people and have had a tough time of it. They are the chosen people. Out of all humankind God favoured them the most by having Christ assume their flesh. Jesus did give them a heads up re the eventual destruction of Jerusalem. I can’t remember what part of the New testament that is in. I think it was on the Mt. of Olives, and is known as the ‘oliviet discourse’. So they were warned…

    Finally, no, I don’t work at that prestigious firm…

    Speaking of prescience, Nz got THRASHED by India this morning..I know not Sri Lanka – but when they, SL smash Nz I will say ‘told you so’ (smile smile!)..

    Cheers my friend,

    Will

  16. Anura, thank you for your brights ideas on papabili as usual.
    Ouellet is also, personallym my number 1 pick.
    According to many prophecies I am researching, it is likely that a big crisis is going to explode in the world before 2020. The Pope Benedict 16, or its successor, is expected to die during this time. for more information, You can ask me, it is partly in a book that describes the visions of John 23. (Pope John 23 has prophesized the name of Benedict 16 !!)
    Let alone this point, it is clear that the liberals are a minority amongts cardinals right now. That’s why most of the marxitss cardinals (ie most of latin americans) have no chance to get elected. In 2005, all the media wanted a liberal to be elected, and B16 triumphed.
    Conservatives will win one more time. B16 is diffrent from JP2, and the name he chose is a sign of that : he is trying to “reconciliate” liberal and conservatives. But that doesnt work. You should now that the “traditionalist” branch of the church (which I am from) is growing fast is Europe. Right now, more than 20% of new priests in France are “latin rite” priests (although we are only 3-5% of practicing catholics). That is a reality that the pope cannot ignore anymore, and that’s why B16 has made moves towards us by allowing any priest to say mass in latin.
    However, there is a growing discrepancy between the papacy and some cardinals, and a majority of liberal catholics. It seems to me very likely that the next pope will be very conservative, and will lead to a huge schism ; many catholics will refuse to obey him. That’s only my POV.
    But John23 also prophesized there would be two popes at the same time, soon. The book is from Pier Carpi, you should definitely read it. I have a PDF copy but in french ;-)
    Have a nice day

  17. Dear Will,
    Just read in the financial media that you folks have had a bit of a rattler. Hope all is well.
    Sorry I haven’t got back to you earlier. Hasn’t been the best of weeks. Wife’s surgery. I can’t wear my contacts and that makes me very unhappy since I have worn them, daily, for 42 years. Lost power for 12 hours Sat. Relative needs me to help him do his taxes. So getting pulled all over the place. Also be going to be gone on appointments, 3 of the next 4 days! But, I will get back. Hope all is well in NZ. Cheers.

  18. Dear Anura,

    Thanks for that. It looks pretty bad indeed, 65 confirmed dead as I write this. I will probably be sent down into Christchurch to help clean up so expect to be off line for the next two weeks. I hope your wife is ok – going under the knife is never easy. Anyway I send my sincere regards to your family.

    Cheers my friend,

    Will

  19. Dear Will,
    Thank you for your kind words re. wife. BEST of luck. When I first wrote they didn’t know the severity of the quake. I first saw it on ‘MarketWatch’ and their main concern was on the financial implications.
    You said: ‘I will probably be sent down …’
    By whom and in what capacity?
    Again, best of luck.
    Did YOU see this by the Anglicans. I find all such calls for prayer AFTER a natural disaster very distasteful and insulting. But, I guess they don’t know any better and probably don’t even see the irony as to their twice-hit Cathedral.
    Cheers.

  20. Will, how goes the battle?
    Hope you are doing OK?
    Are you back home?
    I have managed to watch some cricket on TV.
    All the best. Cheers.

  21. Sorry for not getting back to you earlier. I didn’t mean to be rude. Last 2 weeks has been kind of crazy. Wife had major back surgery on Feb. 15, was in hospital for 2 nights. Things aren’t back to an even keel as yet. Things, with luck, will get better this week. That is the reason for the delay. SORRY.
    As for 2020, do you know my ‘buddy’ Juan. Have a look here. Juan is convinced that the countdown to THE END has begun. I get regular e-mails telling me to brace myself!
    Yes, PLEASE tell me about the book. I will read anything about John XXIII. I like him. I can identify with him. I would have loved to have him as MY UNCLE.
    You know, I too think that Benedict XVI will live to the OLDEST pope … since 1400. That means he will live beyond 93 years. That is 2020. That would be very cool. I am NOT sure whether I will be around in 2020. That would put me at 67. My mother died at 62, my father-in-law at 52. Plus there is a saying that those that study papabili [i.e., ME] will always die prior to the current pope. So maybe you will have to carry on my work.
    Of course the conservatives will win the next election. The number of true ‘liberals’ among the electors is very low.
    So you are on the right track.
    Well done. Please submit more comments. Thanks. Cheers.

  22. Dear Anura,

    I have not been sent down to Christchurch but elsewhere. I will be online for a few days then offline until 14/3/11.
    This earthquake has been utterly devastating, I have never seen anything like it. Since the original quake of 7.1 there have been over 4,500 aftershocks – including the 6.3 quake that claimed so many lives. The city is in ruins.
    The liquefaction is unprecedented in Nz terms. Over 180,000 tonnes of silt and fine soils has erupted from the surface.

    Beneath the surface, there are indications that there are large ‘sub-fault’ lines appearing, and the water tables for the entire region are moving! It is truly unbelievable.

    To answer a few of your questions my friend, I have a military background as well as being a lawyer. I would have been sent down to help set up cordons and assist in policing curfews. And, between all that shovel a lot of liquefied earth!

    I read your earlier post re the Anglican response. All I can say about that is at least there was a response from the Anglicans. Where was the Catholic hierarchy’s response? Not a word. Nothing. Not even from the Bishop. There is no Catholic leadership in Nz. It’s terrible. At least the Pope offered some condolences. But yes, I see the sad irony behind the Anglican cathedral being hit twice. Tragic indeed.

    I hope your wife is recovering. How is she doing now?

    Re your last post: please don’t sell your self short! In this day and age in America I would’ve thought you should live to the ripe old age of 90+ no? Notwithstanding ma & pa. I reckon you’ve got at least 20 years to go – should be plenty of time to see of Papa Ratzinger.

    Great to hear that you are watching some cricket. I know, I know, this 50 over game of Packer & Co isn’t true cricket, but it can be very entertaining. Sri Lanka are taking on the cricket giants of Kenya – as I write this..I will make the bold prediction that mighty ol’ Ceylon will crush poor Kenya like a paper-cup (a favourite expression of mine).

    In regard to SPIRITOO’s post (or should I say spiritu)I am not familiar with your buddy Juan. But I did read the link. Interesting. I must say that I have my doubts about modern apparitions. I do accept that in theory they may happen, but i’m sceptical about their authenticity. I do believe that Our Lady appeared in Fatima in 1917, but after that..unless your canonised..I hold back a bit – I tend to do that. Ahh yes, the prophecy of St. Malachy, I have read your treatise as it were on the authenticity of this prophecy and suffice to say, I won’t believe it until the the proto-deacon announces Peter II or Linus II or something apocalyptic like that. If he does, then as you say in your book: ‘Head for the hills and hope for the best’ There are plenty of hills here in Nz that I could hide in. But I can’t see that happening.

    While we are on the subject of the next pope, I went to Paddy Power to assess the odds as it were on the regnal name of the next pope – and to my surprise, it appeared that they were not taking any bets. I even emailed them. I got no response. Hmm.

    Yes, there is a lot of talk that the world is going to end in 2012! I am certain it wont. All I will say is what will these people do with themselves once the calandar ticks over to 2013? maybe they will say that it will end later, say 2020. And to that I say, maybe it will….Our Lord said he would be back some day but we won’t know the day nor the hour.

    In any case my learned friend those are my thoughts. God Bless.

    Cheers,

    Will

  23. Dear Will,
    Good to hear from YOU. Hope you are doing OK. I am intrigued by the cloak-and-dagger secrecy when you say: ‘but elsewhere.’ Wow.
    You really have had a BUSY ‘youth.’ I am impressed. Seminary, military and a qualified lawyer. Wow. Will, other than Gallipoli, I don’t think I have ever thought of or heard of the NZ military. But, after saying that, maybe I did hear of NZ troops in Iraq or some peace keeping force.
    Two weeks since surgery. Wife is getting better. THANKS.

    Will, reading your whole comment from top-to-bottom is interesting.
    You talk about the liquefaction and devastation … but you then express doubts that the world will soon end. If Juan sees this he will use what happened in NZ as another data point.
    In many ways, it makes sense … right. 2,000 years. Long time. A LOT of people have been in limbo for a long time waiting for the day of judgmement.
    Juan is not the only one who I know who is ANXIOUSLY awaiting the second coming. One of my prior editors is praying for it every day. Makes sense to me.
    Juan, is an interesting guy. You should read his book.
    Well I am NOT happy with either the pope’s or the Anglican response to the quake. God had nothing to do with and to try and rope God in, after the fact, seems disingenuous. I particularly take exception to the pope telling folks to inform God about what happened in NZ. God knows. He doesn’t need to be told and the pope shouldn’t go around telling us what we should tell God. Demeans the whole process.
    As for my longevity … living in the US doesn’t help me that much. I am not US. My genes are Sri Lankan. Yes, they have the technology but not the doctors! I would rather have SL or Indian doctors without all the technology and the perpetual, deer-in-the-headlights fright about lawsuits. The first rule of practice in the US, is not ‘do no harm’ — it is ‘eliminate all possibility of malpractice.’ I have already made it very clear to the family about where the line in the sand has been drawn. I would rather die than have a pig’s bladder. That is the line in the sand, and wife knows that. Yes, a friend had one installed. Yes, he lived for another 4 years. That was my Rubicon. It doesn’t have to be a pig’s bladder BUT that ‘range.’ I do not want technology keeping me alive.
    2020 is way beyond my horizon. Plus, I am cool. Remember I am going straight up. So none of this pit stops for me. Bang, I am there. Per a recent family tradition I have already left my body to a teaching hospital. We are still having a small fight. I want them to preserve my skeleton intact and give it to an orthopedic surgeon. That will be my LAST JOKE. As you know, up until 1910 all the skeletons they have in the West came from India. Then they banned it. I want to give them another bona fide Indian skeleton since it is only in death that nobody would ever know that I was not white.
    Best of luck, Will. Hopefully we will hear from you around the Ides of March.
    Thanks & Cheers.

  24. As for the End Times,I wish that http://www.abhota.info/ was still being updated but read through and you will get the point!

  25. Had a good look. Very interesting. Very good. Well, I never said I believe in this malarkey. I just convey some of the stuff I hear.
    Thanks. Cheers.

  26. Dear Anura,

    Thank you for your compliments regarding my efforts thus far. Re our military we are in Afghanistan at the moment and should be there for a while. I am glad to hear that your wife is recovering.

    Re: You talk about the liquefaction and devastation … but you then express doubts that the world will soon end. If Juan sees this he will use what happened in NZ as another data point.

    If you visit this site http://www.geonet.org.nz/index.html you will see that Earthquakes occur in Nz on a daily basis. I guess it is a direct result of living on the Pacific ‘ring of fire’. Actually, a good portion of the North Island is volcanically active, so with that comes earthquakes. Down south it is different – there are no volcanoes, (Sorry to digress into Nz geology..) but they seem to get their fair share of earthquakes.

    Do these geo-physical events portend that Our Lord is on His way soon? I think He will come when we least suspect it. I accept that it will be yet another data point for Juan, maybe all the data he collates will paint a different picture, more ominous than my observation? Of course being Catholic, I believe that Our Lord will come to judge the living and the dead. But who knows when….that is the question. He said we can’t know the date or the hour, i’m fine with that – but please tell me the year so I can at least try to prepare myself and my family!

    One thing is for certain, western civilisation is crumbling. I remember the Pope giving an address around Christmas last year in which he said that the ‘sun was setting’ in the west, and this reminded him of the fall of Rome in the 5th century. Every facet of western society appears to be in decline. From the demise of the family unit to financial collapse it all appears to be heading off the edge of a cliff. Maybe i’m watching too much Fox news! But it is interesting to see how the same problems appear to be afflicting western countries where ever they are. Perhaps this points to something more ominous in the future.

    Is Juan’s book online? if so can you please provide me with the link? I would be grateful.

    Re: the Anglican and Papal responses – yes, yes disingenuous indeed.

    Re: your longevity: I hope you make three score and ten, that would be enough time for you to see in the next pontificate! A bold prediction on my part..

    Re: Indian skeletal exports: I did not know that, thank you my friend. It is an honourable practice indeed to give your mortal remains to Science. Well done.

    Righto, i’m off to bed.

    Cheers,

    Will

  27. Dear Will,
    Great to hear from YOU. I think in general we are on the same page, and I am particularly gratified that you agreed: ‘Re: the Anglican and Papal responses – yes, yes disingenuous indeed.’ So many people JUST do not get this about mindless praying. It also irks me when I get e-mails urging me to pray for the troops. I reaction. God sure knows that the troops are out there. I don’t need to tell him about them and I am not in any position to TELL HIM what to do when it comes to protecting the troops. Just cracks me up. It is like a Pavlovian reaction. Somebody really should educate the masses on prayer.

    Will, here is a link to Juan’s book. Juan is a very interesting character. Damn good education. I think he has multiple higher degrees. He also writes with much flair and passion. So try this link. I am mentioned in the book … which makes me blush (and trust me I don’t blush easily). He and I have discussed many issues including Malachy malarkey, Paul de Roman, End of Time. He is convinced.

    As for mortal remains, IF I had my way (and thank God I don’t), in any and all countries where people get National Health Care (which includes the US for the aged), I would make organ donation mandatory. Yes, if you died at 35 and never took a cent from the Government or State for Health Care … then you have a say. If Government or State spent more than US $75 providing you with health care … no choice. But, I can only lead by example.

    All the best in your ventures. Take care. Yes, I am somewhat conversant with THE RING OF FIRE. We are ALL Krakatoa buffs in this house … even the 4 year old! It started with a Simon Winchester CD-ROM I was listening to in the car, last Summer, when we were spending 4 hours a day shuttling the older one to Summer Camp. The kids got hooked on it. Simon’s mellifluous voice helped. But, they liked the story too. Then I recorded one of the TV documentaries. They loved that.

    Thanks & Cheers.

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