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 Father,
    I too have considered Ivan Dias. As you know he was talked about in 2005.
    Father, as we know, anything is possible.
    In 2008, prior to Obama actually being sworn in as President, I was willing to consider a non-white Next Pope and even had Cardinal Fox Napier as my #4.
    Not anymore.
    The overriding MAJORITY of the cardinal electors are OLD, white men. Old,white men are invariably kind and gentle towards us ‘darkies’ but would really, really prefer if we knew our place and would stop trying to kiss their grand-daughters.
    That, I see as the problem.
    You only need 40 (or even less depending on how many attend) to BLOCK any name.
    I can see 40, old, conservative, stuck-in-the-mud old men thinking ‘Ah, a brown pope in white papal robes … just wouldn’t look right … not in my lifetime … this can wait’.
    Father, I could be wrong.
    My wife is white, so it isn’t as if I a bigot. I have just being around ‘this block’ quite bit.
    I have said it before on this blog and I will say it again.
    I left Ceylon, as a 13 year old, in 1967. Since then I have ONLY lived in Western countries: USA, France, England, Wales, England, USA.
    Until 2010, 43 years, I can say, and maybe I was too blind, that I had never experienced overt racialism — yes, of course, I have had people tell me: ‘why the f*** don’t you go where you belong …’ but I take that as just ignorant, bigotry.
    You can go back and check. I even stopped a knife fight in Washington D.C. in 2009 — between a black ‘kid’ and a white … and it was because the white kid told the black kid, on a D.C. subway … that he didn’t want the black kid sitting next to him.
    This was 2009. D.C.
    Maybe 4 miles away, Obama was sitting (Ok, maybe standing) in the WHITE HOUSE!
    Attitudes have polarized to a degree I never thought was possible — let alone happen.
    This will spill over the cardinal electors.
    We have already had US cardinals against Obama.
    Secret ballot. No consequences. Nobody can ever find out.
    To use the very British expression (which I am sure you have heard of), Ivan Dias will be black balled.
    But, as ever, I could be WRONG. That is OK. I would be delighted to see an Indian pope.
    Thank YOU, father.
    More later. But, this issue had to be addressed. It was bothering me.
    All the best.

  2. Please also read these comments on papabili 2011, posted January 23, 2011, against an older post.
    Thank you.

  3. Dear Father.
    THANK you. Another very thought provoking, information packed piece.
    Though he was certainly talked about, Dias was not in the top 6 bets at Paddy Power. Ratzinger was at #2. From the little information we have, which could also be unreliable, Dias did not get ANY votes to talk about in 2005. You only need 40 votes to block a name.
    But, again YOU could be right. Inspired choice.
    Please have a look at this list, posted today.
    All the very best.
    It is very cold up here. -28C.

  4. Dear Father,
    On what is said to be the coldest day in 6 years, YOU made my day. THANK YOU. This is wonderful list.

    Father, can I PLEASE have your permission to please post the list — as a stand-alone post — so it gets BETTER visibility.

    Father, I also have three other separate questions for you, please.

    1/ You must have heard the pope’s Angelus of yesterday … “full unity of all Christians” … what were YOUR thoughts?

    2/ As far as I remember, you have never commented to me/us about the UK/Anglican Personal Ordinariate. Since the pope could, conceivably, create a similar vehicle to encroach into the Orthodox Church … what are your views on these very political, even hypocritical ‘tentacles’ being sent out from Rome?

    3/ Also from this weekend. Pope and the right to a (church) marriage. What were YOUR views on that since you too must have to decide as to who you will marry in your church.

    Thank you.

    P.S., 30 cm is a decent snow fall. Do you ski? I have skied ONCE in Austria. 1984. Soll. Beautiful. I was booked to ski at Kitzbul. But, acquired a new girl friend who had never skied. The general consensus was that Kitzbul would intimidate her. So the British tour company allowed me to switch to Soll. It was good. Other than Soll, in 1984, all of my Alpine skiing has been in Italy.

    All the best. Much affection, Anura

  5. There is another angle here Anura. Cardinals from places like Africa or Asia tend to be rather conservative, with your compatriot Malcolm Ranjith even being called “Tanned Ratzinger” by you (don’t think that caught on elsewhere).
    Some of the more conservative cardinals might indeed reject these candidates because of racial prejudice but more liberal cardinals will reject them because of their conservatism. It’s similar to the difficulty conservative blacks have in getting elected in the US.

    Anura, I have a question. I was reading up on newly minted Cardinal Marx and noticed he is designated Cardinal Priest of S. Corbiniano, which is a new titular church.
    Having lived in Freising I know of course that St. Korbinian is the “patron-saint” of the city of Freising and is considered the founder of what is now called the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. That explains why Marx was given that title by a man who not only was archbishop there but also includes Korbinian’s bear in his papal coat of arms.

    The reason I say all this is to show how easy it is for the pope to create new titular churches. The college of cardinals could grow to 300 or beyond with no problems as far as I can see.

  6. As for the new property for Card. Marx … I DID comment on that … on the VERY DAY it was announced! Please refer to … this post.

    As for the ‘Tanned Ratzinger’ — where else and WHO ELSE will have the audacity to say such a thing? Coming from somebody else, who isn’t as TANNED as the conservative cardinal, it could be interpreted as having a different connotation.

    I do NOT think I have ever said that there would EVER be an issue with creating new titles. In such matters the pope is omnipotent. I am waiting for him to give the title to the Sistine to a specially favored cardinal.

    Thanks. Where is YOUR list of papabili?
    Cheers.

  7. Dear Father,
    List is published. I hope it is OK.
    Father, here is a link to the Angelus … ‘Unity of all Christians’.
    Here is a link to the marriage comments. This got a LOT of play in the USA on Sunday … because marriage is deemed a basic human rite … though the pope was talking about a church wedding.
    More later.
    Thank you father. All the best. Anura

  8. As for the new property for Card. Marx … I DID comment on that … on the VERY DAY it was announced! Please refer to … this post.

    I missed that. I do not read Italian and so I can’t be sure, but I get the impression that the church was renamed from S. Guglielmo (St. William?) to S. Corbiniano in the recent past, possibly . Am I totally in the wrong ballpark here?

    By the way, there is a beer named after St. Korbinian by Weihenstephan (oldest brewery on the world). I tried it at a pub in Decatur recently and it was quite good. Not inexpensive, but good. 🙂

    As for the ‘Tanned Ratzinger’ — where else and WHO ELSE will have the audacity to say such a thing? Coming from somebody else, who isn’t as TANNED as the conservative cardinal, it could be interpreted as having a different connotation.

    I guess you are right.

    I do NOT think I have ever said that there would EVER be an issue with creating new titles. In such matters the pope is omnipotent. I am waiting for him to give the title to the Sistine to a specially favored cardinal.

    I think you expressed concern about the college getting bigger and being close to running out of tituli. And it’s one thing to say that he is able to create new titles but another to see him do it so cavalierly in practice.

    Thanks. Where is YOUR list of papabili?

    Working on one. Actually it’s not as easy as it looks from the outside I must say. 😉

  9. Dear Anura,

    Please allow me to throw in my two cents worth here. I find your concept of the ‘John-Paul II Franchise’ interesting in that you associate this with the initiative to ‘roll back’ as many of the reforms made by Vatican II.

    First of all, the regnal name of John-Paul, as you are well aware, was adopted by Cardinal Albino Luciano, John Paul I to symbolise that he would continue the work of John XIII & Paul VI, basically to ensure that the work of the Council would be upheld during his pontificate. One of the reasons why I think Cardinal Ratzinger was elected was because he would ensure that this legacy would be protected, after all he was one of the Council Fathers. In fact one of his theological initiatives that came to fruition in the Council and post Council, was the very definition of what the Church was.

    Prior to the Council the Church was defined thus: The Catholic Church is the Church of Christ. After the Council That definition was changed to: The Catholic Church subsists in Church of Christ. The theological change here is subtle, but seismic(I won’t go into detail about what those effects were, but there were many). What this meant was that the Church of Christ could now be found outside the Catholic Church, effectively, that salvation can be found outside the Catholic Church. The Ecumanism of Return was replaced with the Ecumanism of Acceptance. I digress, sorry.

    Finally, there was HUGE opposition to Pope Benedict ‘liberating’ the Latin Mass – mostly from the College of Bishops. The French, Belgian, German and Austrian hierarchy all expressed their opposition to the Motu Proprio. It was delayed for a number of months due to this opposition. And, in his letter to the Bishops, he assured them that this gesture in no way undermined the foundations be they theological or pastoral of the Council – specifically to allay their fears.

    So I don’t think one of the reasons why the College of Cardinals elected Pope Benedict was to roll back the reforms of Vatican II. I think the very opposite is true. He is the authority of the Council given his scholastic and theological background. Given that he was a Council expert I doubt very much that he would undermine the reforms that he was very much a part of.

    When you look at the pontificate of John Paul II surely there can be no doubt that the reforms of the Council were advanced?

    I think the John-Paul Franchise as you call it is the continuation of the enduring legacy of Vatican II and that won’t change any time soon.

    Cheers,

    Will

  10. Thank YOU.
    Must say ONE thing about Wojtyla’s choice of name. In some way he was BOXED IN. John Paul I had been very popular with the people. After the fleeting papacy the LEAST that the new pope could do was propagate that innovative name. He did that AND admitted he was doing it to honor his predecessor.
    He then ADDED that he had gained STRENGTH and INSPIRATION from Paul VI — the 2nd named in that name.
    He did not MENTION John XXIII.
    See page 214 ‘The Next Pope.’
    As for Ratzinger, hasn’t he publicily admitted that he became more conservative AFTER V II because of the student unrest in Europe?
    Cheers.

  11. Will,
    Please also read:
    Newsweek
    You may say that this is biased … but they were the original chosen … so I always give them some credence … nice folks, in general … great to do business with … even in Israel … where they love to argue for the sake of arguing ….
    The way I, the eternal, professional cynic’s cynic, sees it … IF the Vatican denies it … there must have been some fire to generate the smoke … so … read this ….
    I have to run … BUT, PLEASE get Greeley’s book online …. Google or Amazon Look Inside. Do a search on ‘Vatican II.’ Greeley, did know a thing or two about the Church and politics. Well, Greeley was not just CONVINCED, he was disgusted. But, you do the research.
    Cheers

  12. Dear Anura,

    I will do the research and get Greeley’s book as advised. So in good time I will be able to explore this further. After all, I can not meaningfully, contribute to this blog without researching this subject.

    I will say this in passing though. I was under the impression that Pope Benedict was a follower of the philosophy of Hegel. Can you confirm this? I think this is important if we want to understand what the liberals in the Church fear as the ‘reform of the reform’.

    Take for example, the 2007 Motu Proprio re the Latin Mass. I think it is clear from what the Pope envisaged, was that the two rites could stand side by side – seemingly contradictory, but ultimately, complementary. The end result: the two ‘borrow’ from one another and then you have a hybrid of the two with the passing of time. I think this is Hegelian, in that two seemingly contradictory positions morph into harmony..

    This, I believe is Pope Benedict’s vision on the true implementation of what was intended at the Council, at least in terms of the liturgical reform. So although the liberals are fearful that he is rolling back the reforms, and it may appear as such on the surface, I think what he is saying is that this is what the Council originally intended, well at least from his perspective.

    Again, Vatican II is the new ‘zero point’ (I was thinking ‘ground zero’ but thats probably not the best analogy..) if you will of how the Church sees herself in the modern world. Indeed, the church is now seemingly defined as the ‘pre conciliar’ and ‘post conciliar’ church – and Popes for that matter. Which is why I thought that the adopting of the regnal name John-Paul was in keeping with this tradition. I acknowledge your point though in terms of John Paul I silence on the name, John.

    After doing some research – but never enough – I agree that the student protests of the 60s did hit the young prelate hard. But I still think the philosophical foundation, i.e. Hegelian influence, was already laid. But I might be completely wrong about that. In any case, I think it is crucial that we understand the philosophical leaning of the Pope. It is, I think, an invaluable tool into understanding the reasoning behind some of his initiatives.

    Interestingly enough, the links you directed me to gave me some more food for thought. The current scandal around the sexual abuse of children has, inter alia, completely undermined the moral authority of the Church in general and the Pope in particular. The next pope will have to have universal moral appeal. Where could such a candidate come from? I think that could be the pre-requisite criterion to be papabile…

    I appreciate your thoughts.

    Cheers,

    Will

  13. Dear Father,
    I trust I find you well. We had more snow last night. Not sure whether they cover this in your news but Washington D.C. etc. are paralyzed. No power. Roads closed. I was out shoveling for 90 minutes.

    In 1968, I was in Paris … but, I was 15. The following year I did get EXPELLED from school for the FIRST time. Was expelled again two years later … this time in London. By 1972 I was a student activist, in the UK, Wales. By accident (and it was funny), I ended up leading a protest march through Swansea … on a Saturday … with around 1,000 students … protest Margaret Thatcher’s (then Minister of Education) [pope like ruling] that student union money could not be used to support the miners strike. My picture, leading this protest march, was in the paper. At that time my father worked for UNESCO as one of their 5 Experts in World education. So the picture made it to UNESCO. My father was cool.

    About 6 years later, after I had started working for IBM, I like Ratzinger changed my stripes. I became one of Margret’s greatest fans. So much so that folks used to say: ‘Come the revolution, they are going to line YOU UP, to the RIGHT OF Thatcher …’

    In 2003, I changed my stripes again — and boy were folks surprised … because I used to have a shrine to Regan at which I would worship three times a day! You know what they say about ‘converts’ — the biggest zealots [another post on that in a minute].

    So … basically … Ratzinger was disgusted by the LIKES OF ME … because we dare to think, dare to question, dare to seek change.

    We are seeing it in Tunisia — a country that I have very fond memories of … having gone their to renew my sun tan a few times.

    Ratzinger as an academic is kind of strange … and I have a PERFECT model to compare and contrast him with. My father. One year apart. Academics with administrative experience all their life. My father still teaches and writes — and HE has more published books than Ratzinger (and he did all of them on his own). My father, a Buddhist, is extremely tolerant of all views contrary to those that he believes in. Part of that is having to tolerate me for 50 years. I have relatives in SL who were beside themselves that my father didn’t stop me working on popes! They feel that I have embarrassed the family. But, my father never said a word. BUT, can you imagine Ratzinger. My way, or the highway — or at least that is how he comes across me to. Yes, I understand other views, BUT they are wrong … But, as ever, I could be wrong.

    Thank you, Father. All the best.

  14. Interesting discussion on Ratzinger, 60s university culture and Vatican II. Unfortunately I don’t have much to contribute on the topic, having not even been a twinkle in my father’s eye during that time.

    The next pope will have to have universal moral appeal. Where could such a candidate come from? I think that could be the pre-requisite criterion to be papabile…

    More important question, what do you envision under “universal moral appeal”? Before you ask where such a candidate might come from, you have to ask yourself what qualities a person would have to have to embody it.
    I doubt that any of the present cardinals, at least not the older ones (>70) who were leading (arch)dioceses or were in curia during the time most of these abuses were going on, can be completely untouched by the scandal. What do you think?

  15. Dear Will,
    I really appreciate your measured and well thought out responses. Thank you.
    Will, I really not sure about the Pope and Hegel. Plus, I, personally, not a great subscriber, to so and so being a follower of so and so. That is, and I know that this my own personal failing, is alien and anathema to me. I am my own person and I form my own views — and my views have fundamentally changed, multiple times, over the years. So, to me, I can’t grasp the notion that so and so is this way because he is an adherent of so and so.
    I did not mean for you to buy the Greeley book. Please check this first.
    On page 40 he says, talking on John Paul II and Benedict XVI “How did they come to roll back, or try to roll back, the world [i.e., Vatican II principals] they helped create?”
    I went back and CHECKED what I said.
    What I said was: “basically the move to slowly but surely roll back as many of the innovations of Vatican II as possible.”
    Even before the relaxation of the Latin Mass, the fundamental thing that was done was eliminating the collegial spirit espoused by Vatican II.
    In you original comment, you actually talked about it.
    Yes, it was AMAZING that a few bishops spoke up against the resurrection of the Latin Mass … outside of the Vatican. Prospective bishops, at a minimum, must avow to: “Are you resolved to build up the Church as the body of Christ and to remain united to it within the order of bishops under the authority of the successor of the apostle Peter? Are you resolved to be faithful in your obedience to the successor of the apostle Peter?”
    So, to even express some ‘concern’ against what the pope was advocating took courage. Note, that no cardinals said anything.
    But, here is the kicker. The concerns of the bishops were dismissed! That to me is the biggest roll-back from Vatican II — but I could be wrong.
    The two most prominent advocates of the Latin Mass, the Little and Tanned Ratzingers, are now cardinals. So the pope is REWARDING those that help him propagate the Latin Mass. Even Ouellet is said to have been appointed, as bishop maker, on the understanding that he favors prospective bishops who will be amenable to the Latin Mass.
    The bottom line is that very quickly into John Paul II’s administration he made sure that the Church will go back to being dictatorship with the POPE ruling with a white gloved, titanium fist. It has worked.
    I think you were more concerned about Vatican II in terms of the laity.
    But John Paul II’s focus was bringing the troops into unquestioning line … and the sex abuse stuff could be swept under the carpet.
    I thought about changing my ‘roll back’ wording … but I really don’t see a need. Again, I could be wrong. Unlike the pope, who per his 2005 comments seem to think that ALL of his utterances are infallible, I know I get things wrong.
    OK. I need to go. Have other things to work on.
    Thank you. Cheers.

  16. You ask the BEST questions.
    I have not really gone through the 120 electors one by one … but I have to think that there has to be a few that were untouched. Maybe the Tanned Ratzinger. Wasn’t he living it up in Rome much of the time rather than dealing with the problems confronting his country.
    ‘Universal’ is a powerful word.
    Thanks. Let us see.
    So YOU missed the 60s and 70s. Shame. They were the good ol’ days. I miss them.
    Cheers.

  17. What is this. A change of identity.
    What happened to the ‘Citizen of Dis?’ Did you ‘dis’ him?
    Cainanite … from what I can see … to use that spelling you need to be BLACK … and I do not think you are.
    Did you, instead, mean Canaanite?
    I would have thought that there were some requirements to be the Last Canaanite?
    So why do YOU plan to be the LAST.
    Can’t you procreate? I would think that would be your goal and duty.
    I am sure you will be able to find lot of women who will be glad to help you make sure that the Canaanite line continues … in Georgia, USA.
    Cheers.

  18. It was a mistake – a moniker I use elsewhere. Feel free to edit the post to read “Citizen of Dis” again to avoid confusion, although my Dr-House-wearing-HEV-suit avatar is intact.

    The name itself is spelled correctly. It’s a reference to Cain, not Canaan, and it’s supposed to be a joke since all descendants of Cain were supposed to have perished in the Flood.

    Still undecided on the procreate part though.

    Again, feel free to edit my name in the previous post.

  19. Don’t get what being black has to do with it though. Am I missing something?

  20. To the Last Cainanite,

    Thanks for your query. In regards to what I said re ‘universal moral appeal’: Firstly, I mean the candidate must be palatable not only to Catholics, but also the world as a whole. I think this candidate will have to be viewed by all as not being tarnished by the sex-scandal in any way. In other words, he will have to come from a country where there has been nil or very, very few cases of sex abuse.

    Secondly, looking at the population of Catholics across the world it is a well known fact that Catholic populations are growing in ‘3rd’ world or emerging countries while they are dwindling in the west.

    Thirdly, western countries as a whole have lost their moral compass, so to speak, in living a decadent and hedonistic lifestyle (that is a gross generalisation I know, I know, but I think it is fair when we are looking at living standards in the west compared to 3rd world countries).

    So where does that leave us? well, I think that knocks out any candidate from Europe and the Americas. That leaves Africa and Asia.

    So at the next conclave I think there might be a cry for change both from within the Church and in the world to have a non European Pope..

    (Having said all that, I can easily see the Papacy returning to the Italians, given that they are leading the papabile race at the moment!)

    But I could be way off the mark here, feel free to critique!

    Cheers,

    Will

  21. Dear Anura,

    Thank you for your generous remarks. Before I leave the subject for good I will say one more thing about philosophy. I must say before I go any further, I really appreciate your candour on this subject.

    To tell you a bit about myself, I studied in a seminary for a few years – many years ago. In terms of formation, and I’m sure Fr Peter may want to comment here, the first half of your seminary formation is devoted to philosophy (I realise of course that this will depend on where you have studied and with whom). I think the reason for that is because of the influence of St. Thomas Aquinas. I think he was the one who said “philosophy is the handmaiden to theology”. Hence, philosophical formation will colour how you approach and apply theology. Be it, dogmatic, sacramental or pastoral. At least that was what I was taught.

    Again, concerning the promotion of the little and tanned Ratzingers – I totally agree with you, Pope Benedict certainly favours those who are amenable to the Latin Mass to those that are hostile to it.

    To go back to your earlier comment about rolling back as many of the innovations of Vatican II,again I agree that the Pope is, well, trying to ‘put the brakes on’ so to speak with many of the reforms. You and Fr Peter talk about the issue of collegiality for instance. Fr Peter then makes the following insightful remark:

    “(Should the) Roman Catholic episcopate be UNDER the successor of the apostle Peter or rather IN COMMUNION with him by simultaneously recognizing the pope´s particular role”.

    Prior to the Council, one was either in communion with Rome or they weren’t. There was no ‘degree’ or degrees of communion which emerged as a concept in the wake of the Council.Take for instance the schismatic orthodox bishops – they were always considered to be ‘outside the church’ or ‘not in communion with Rome’. But after the Council the position had changed, I remember John Paul II’s famous analogy that the Catholic and Orthodox churches were in fact ‘sister churches’ and ‘two lungs’ of the same body ‘let us breath together’ etc. So now it was that the schismatic bishops were in fact in communion with the Holy see but that was to a lesser degree than say, the Catholic Bishops in the eastern rites.

    But I see an even bigger problem here. The second limb of the quote of Fr Peter above also talks about the Pope’s role. I think that’s important in this context because we are now stepping into the realm of the magesterium of the Church, together with the Petrine functions.I think, in essence the Council has now fused two questions of ecclaesiology into one.( for clarity, the questions being what does being in communion with the Holy See actually mean and what is the role of the Pope in light of this question.) So does the question become who has the greatest role to play in the teaching authority of the Church? and if so Is it:

    a. The College of Bishops? b. An act of the Universal Magesterium (like the Council) or c. the Pope? and now you can add all those bishops who are not in ‘FULL’ communion with Rome – do they have a roll to play?

    I think this is important as it, perhaps, re-defines who or what the college of Bishops actually is?

    Like always, I may be way off the mark here Anura, but thanks for your comments thus far. Thanks once again for the references, will keep doing my research.

    Cheers,

    Will

  22. A quick look at the January 25 entry at http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/ and its comments identifies Cardinal Policarpo of Lisbon as exceptionally hostile to the traditional Latin Mass…surely this should be weighed in gauging his papability!

  23. Dear Father,
    I trust I find you well.
    Father, given YOUR expertise in THEOLOGY can I please ask you a question that has been bothering me for decades. I have asked other priests and none have been able to give me a satisfactory answer.
    It has to do with the multiple churches and the three Abrahamic religions. Now with Egypt in the news, and this discussion about papal primacy, this question again comes to the forefront of my conscience.
    I think I know about ‘Free Will’ — but given my lack of education it is possible that what I understand as Free Will is way off mark.
    My original question goes back to Islam. So per Free Will (a bit like Freedom of Speech) Muhammad can come up with his interpretation. That I get.
    But, when you start getting hundreds of thousands of souls accepting that, AGAIN per their Free Will, we have got a schism. Then we get the blood shed — which is per Free Will.
    What bothers me … is What was God thinking?
    Well, we can then go back to the whole Messiah thing and the Jews. Hhhmmmm. What was God thinking?
    Then, fast forward … Orthodox Church … though Pope is the Vicar of Christ.
    Is this ALL just Free Will?
    To me that seems to be rather futile?
    *******
    Then as I get older (but, alas none the wiser) I start thinking even more … given that as you know I was born a Buddhist.
    Even putting aside Buddhism, there were Eastern religions with pantheons of colorful gods, with documented existence way before that of Judaism.
    OK, so man is created in the image of God. Does that also apply to orientals … who have never heard of the Abrahamic God?
    So Judaism flourishes in the Golden Crescent while in India and China other powerful cultures prevail … outside of the Abrahamic God … and the Chinese, bless them, discover gun powder.
    What was God’s plan?
    Why was I born a Buddhist? Yes, I understand that part of that was my father exercising his Free Will (and I am so thankful that some of my friends from my prior life stay WELL CLEAR of my papal work, BECAUSE they would make crude jokes about this ..).
    I have to assume that God had the power to change that … at a minimum, he could have made sure I was born to a good, RICH Catholic family in Ceylon. Well it would have been EVEN better if God had me born to a Burger family. OK. Actually that is not true. I would NOT trade my life for anything, in the same way that I have always refused to use an anglicized name such as ‘Andy’ Guruge.
    Well, father, you can see where I am coming from and going.
    To me all this talk of papal primacy, Christian bishops in schism, personal ordinariates for Anglicans are all minor tangents in a MUCH BIGGER picture.
    To me, and again I readily admit that this is due to my lack of education and innate smarts, BUT, to me, this can’t all me just explained by Free Will. To me it seems bigger than that.
    I hope I do not in anyway offend you. But, you can no doubt see that I am confused.
    All the best. Thanks.

  24. Dear Will,
    Contrary to the propaganda you may have heard in the Land of Hadlee, the U.S. still has a pretty decent postal system and we have some world dominating logistical companies. You may have heard of them. FedEx, UPS, DHL etc. So, Will, I can send you wall paper or even a whole wall papered wall. I used to bring wall paper to the US from the mother country and that would always arouse ‘curiosity’ at customs. These days you can buy good wallpaper from the mother country here. I would have been willing to consider a wall paper for good lamb trade, but we can also get decent mutton here (unlike 50 years ago, when NZ lamb was do prized … albeit in Ceylon. It was actually a treat for my youngest aunt. We would go to Cargills and order NZ lamb for her … for Christmas).
    This statement confused me: ‘I only have a single Batchelor’s degree to my name – certainly no relation, therefore.. to the great Stephen.‘ What does having a degree have to do with ancestry and genes? You also then say: ‘He cleaned out the brain gene …‘ So does that mean that at some point there was connection …. and I do mean post Adam. Father Anthony also shares the name of a famous man, but says that they are only related through Adam.
    *******
    You also say: “The Pope is very hopeful (as i’m sure we all are indeed) that there can be a full restoration of relations between Rome and the East during his pontificate and effectively end the great schism.”
    Wow.
    I guess we are in store for a very LONG pontificate. I have already speculated in print that this pope could very likely end up being the oldest pope since 1400. That would take 10 years.
    So … please also refer to my question TODAY to Father Peter about Abrahamic religions.
    So Will, do you think the pope will after he ends this MINOR, domestic schism also tackle the Anglicans … and I am thinking in particular about the Bishop from NH. I trust you have heard of NH and know about our bishop. How would you classify him? Schismatic would appear to be not strong enough.
    Even that, to me, is not a really big deal.
    But, do you think the pope will also be able to heal WHAT I consider the Great Rift and the Barrier Reef. Bring together, of course, under the Pope, the three Abrahamic religions?
    Thank YOU.
    I am glad that I had set aside today for working on my Dwarf Planet book … as opposed to papabili.
    Based on what you are saying, and I think you are right … I am, per what my wife and family claim, wasting my time. This pope will outlive me and most of the current cardinals. He will have to given his agenda at hand. I wonder if he might have a few hours free on a Sunday, after lunch, to achieve peace in the Middle East. Well … I guess if he brings togther the Abrahamic religions … that would be done … right.
    WoW.
    Thanks & Cheers.

  25. Dear Anura,

    Ah, Yes – Hadlee, when he left the NZ team he left such a gulf, I still don’t think NZ has recovered! I remember some great battles between Hadlee and Arjurna Ranatunga..back in the day..
    Now, to answer some of your questions:

    Re:

    this statement confused me: ‘I only have a single Batchelor’s degree to my name – certainly no relation, therefore.. to the great Stephen.‘ What does having a degree have to do with ancestry and genes? You also then say: ‘He cleaned out the brain gene …‘ So does that mean that at some point there was connection …. and I do mean post Adam. Father Anthony also shares the name of a famous man, but says that they are only related through Adam.
    *******

    You may remember that you were earlier talking about physics, or using physical analogies? So I naturally assumed you were referring to the Great Stephen Hawking, with his Doctorates in quantum physics, etc.. so what I was trying to say with obtaining only a solitary batchelor’s degree (law), I feel that somewhere along the line he took the rest of my family’s share of the brain gene. There is a link somewhere in the old country post-Adam, but we are talking centuries ago!! Mind you Anura, in NZ we think we are related to everyone in NZ or the UK. There was a saying that ‘after 6 degrees of separation we are all related, or related to the Queen!’. Yes, bizarre – I know. But there you have it.

    Re:

    You also say: “The Pope is very hopeful (as i’m sure we all are indeed) that there can be a full restoration of relations between Rome and the East during his pontificate and effectively end the great schism.”

    Yes, I am a supreme optimist. But I do have a reason for that optimism. I think Patriarch Kirill and Pope Benedict see secularism as the biggest threat to Christian Europe – spearheaded by an aggressive EU. So, they do perceive a common threat..

    Also, the causes of the great rift/schism are surely historical?(with the exception of the Western Ukraine, where the confiscation of Catholic Churches under communists is still, very much a source of contention) Yes, there are doctrinal differences on the papacy and Petrine Functions..inter alia.,but surely there are great theological and practical minds on both sides that can come to a compromise? Especially with the common threat mentioned above.. So i’m hoping that the current leaders of both churches are the one’s to do it.. But yes it wont happen tomorrow or this year but after that who knows?

    I remember reading about the stability of Egypt last year in how President Mubarak was grooming his son to take over the reins at a time of Mubabrak’s (senior’s) choosing. And thereby ensure that his regime would continue. Incredible how one suicide in Tunisia has changed that assessment.

    Re your question, about the Anglicans, the answer must be yes. For two reasons, the establishing of the Anglican Ordinariate, in a move to counter the consecration of women bishops..and the canonisation of Cardinal Newman, a convert from Anglicanism. In my mind that is Benedict sending a clear message to the Anglicans that if you don’t like what’s going on i.e. with women bishops, then jump on board this ship – here’s the rope. In doing this, I think the Pope, in his mind is doing everything but ending the Anglican schism. I can’t see the Royal family becoming Catholic – ever (again) and that would effectively have to happen if the schism were to end..

    I have not heard of the NH Bishop – please enlighten me.

    To answer your other question, no, I don’t think he will be able to bring together the Abrahamic Religions. The only thing they have in common – really is the old testament. But, each religion has its own way of interpreting those books. So I think that even if the Pope could bring those three religions to sit at the table they would all agree to disagree. And that would be that.

    Re Free Will. This is a vexed question indeed. I would ask: Why did God put Adam, Eve and the Serpent with the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden – KNOWING, as God knows everything, that Adam would fall- – and with him the rest of mankind. Why o why? I don’t have the answer to that. But, I do know that St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo remarked on this “O happy fault that merited for us so great a Redeemer” I won’t put a gloss on those words. But, the church refers to that quote in the Easter ceremony for the blessing of the Baptismal water. Maybe the answer lies in there somewhere.

    But, yes, I have thought about free will and its consequences, and let me tell you this: St. Thomas Aquinas’s commentary on it in the summa theologica gave very little consolation indeed. (Of course i’m not saying he is wrong or that I disagree with his position, but I was a little troubled.)

    Thanks for the offer re the wall paper – I will let you know! (smile).

    Cheers, and thanks for your feedback. I will respond to Fr Peter’s post later! But for now, the cricket!

    Will

  26. Dear Will,
    You mentioned you have a 16 month old daughter for a propensity for writing on walls. Congratulations. Children are a joy. I have a 4 year old daughter who scribbles on everything, including my prized books, and tries to break something expensive each day. Today an antique lamp. But, the 16 month child, doesn’t help me gauge your age. Given your stint at a seminary, you could be anywhere from 21 to 91. So not sure how much NZ cricket lore you are familiar with. Though I was born in Ceylon, much of my life was in the UK. Yes, I saw a fair amount of Richard with his amusingly crooked, run-up. Remember Turner’s 1,000 in May. Also heard … the famous: ‘Yes, yes, looks like Turner is now OK. Snow to resume from the Nursery End. One BALL left.’ And then there was Bev Congdon (which I always thought would be a great name for a Catholic Cardinal). I also heard (yes, I was a rabid follower … watched a LOT of live cricket, watched as much as I could on TV and listened to Test Match Special even at work): ‘Ah, England has finally worked out how to get Bev out. You just let him score 240 runs and he then gets himself out.’ I think that was 1973. So, Congdon, Turner and Richard.
    I can’t believe that news of our bishop has NOT made it to NZ. He is quite famous. You mentioned women bishops. I think our bishop scares the pope way more than the women bishops — and some, uncharitably, will say … as it should be. Well. at least I now don’t feel as bad about something else. During the last 3 years I met two young folks from NH, one in the US ski team another one of the brightest young women I have met, who had spent considerable time in NZ — the former in Summer ski training the other as an au-pair. So I asked them both, how Ed was doing. Blank look. Never heard of HIM! Will, don’t you have airports, mountains, major cities etc. named after Ed? Well, he is in my very select, rather small pantheon of great people (albeit in his case … always roped together with Norgay). Others (as regular readers now know) include: Winston, Nelson, Lincoln, Ulysses, Monty, Gagarin (who I have met), Gandhi …
    St. Augustine and his “O happy fault that merited for us so great a Redeemer” … but isn’t that now a bit dated. He kind of didn’t factor in events c. 600 AD.
    Sorry this is so short and curt. Crazy busy … but had to respond to you. Nice chatting with you. Brings back happy memories. I can see, in my minds eye, Richard … doing his crab-leg walk, before he started his explosive run.
    Thank you. All the best. Enjoy that 16 month old daughter. They grow up so fast. I have a 22 year old daughter too who will graduate this year as a forensic pathologist!
    Cheers

  27. Dear Will,
    Your optimism that the rift with the Orthodox will be healed during Benedict XVI’s reign has me beyond intrigued.
    Will, you also mentioned: ‘but surely there are great theological and practical minds on both sides that can come to a compromise?”
    Any thoughts Will as to what COMPROMISES the pope will be willing to make? Married priests, redefine the natures of Christ, rethink Easter, renounce papal primacy …
    The way I see it … and I could as ever be wrong … the most this pope would agree to … and given HOW VAIN he is, it is indubitably a HUGE concession on his part … is to grow a beard.
    But, your thoughts please.
    Father Peter too has promised to contribute as this impacts him directly.
    I am going to e-mail Father Anthony and try and get him to comment on the Anglican situation and hopefully about our bishop from NH.
    Cheers

  28. Thank YOU, dear Father and bless you.

    Your response was along the lines of what I had accepted. Within the parameters of my papal research I had also done a fair amount of work on Chalcedon etc. So I had at least some appreciation as to what some of the stumbling blocks when it came to teachings.

    That there are good Catholics that believe, like Will, that a healing is possible, to ME, is quite amazing. I am eagerly waiting to see if Will will respond. Not sure what he thinks are the compromises the pope is willing to make.

    Dear Father, as for the other ‘paper’ — PLEASE take your time AND also, MAYBE, think of it as a preface for a WHOLE new book YOU could write …. in English — translated into German, Italian etc. I did some searching yesterday. I cannot find any work on this question! Yes, Rome was not built in a day.

    Thank you, father. Hope you are having a great day. Beautiful, sunny, cloudless day here … ahead of a major, 2-day snow storm.

    All the best,
    Anura
    P.S., Got this comment twice as well, one with the ‘D’ in ‘Dear’ missing. I deleted that.

  29. Dear Anura,

    To answer your question re my age. I’m 30 and have 2 daughters. 16 months and 2 months.. yes crazy I know! perhaps that will give you an insight into my optimism. I haven’t been around long enough to be a cynic. Congratulations on seeing your daughter graduate – that must be special. Well done.

    And yes, Sir Ed. What a commonwealth hero he was. They don’t make men like that these days. It is a sad indictment when all the country has really done is put him on the face of our lowest valued note ($5). Yes there are a few parks here and there named after him, and the odd memorial – but that’s about it.

    Re cricket folk law – I do remember Hadlee’s enigmatic run up! I remember hearing about the infamous underarm incident of the Chappell brothers (Trevor, Ian & Greg) of Australia bowling to Brian McKechnie in 1981 – speaking of great schims – which is something I will return to later, that incident single handedly soured diplomatic relations between the two, very close, countries.. even the prime ministers got involved.. and the batsmen (McKechnie) needed a 6 … to draw!!. I don’t really remember Glen Turner, sadly he was before my time, Martin Crowe on the other hand I remember. I also remember Arivinda De Silva – he was fantastic to watch.

    Now to answer some of the questions by your good self and the good Fr. I must say that my source of optimism was in reading the official statements by Kirill and others Patriarchs. After reading Fr’s post I must say that my optimism has abated somewhat given that the good Fr knows the position of the senior prelates behind the scenes so to speak.

    Like the good Fr, my own ecclesiology is coloured by the fact that I am from a long line of Irish catholics, that migrated out to NZ many years ago. I would like to respond point by point so to speak about the scriptural foundations of the primacy, but there are of course, many historical events during the first millenium which caused the divide to grow to the eventual breaking point of 1054. And, I am neither a theologian nor historian. I could try, but I wouldn’t do the Catholic position justice. I will say this though, I don’t think that Benedict is afraid of the Church losing power. I’m not sure what Fr means by that. It is certainly, not a case of temporal power – the days where he could summon an army and command Christian monarchs are well behind us. And as for moral authority, well the child abuse scandal has taken care of that. So what is left?

    To answer your question Anura re married priests. Firstly, it may not be well known but in the Catholic Maronite rite, (predominantly in Lebanon) married men CAN become Catholic Priests. So there is no doctrinal reason, therefore, that that tradition can’t be extended to the Roman rite. It is a question of Church practice.

    You also mention Easter. I can’t see any issue there. Surely every church can celebrate Easter according to its custom.I know that in the Eastern Rites both Catholic and Orthodox both adhere to the Julian calendar while the Roman west, the Gregorian. I see no issue there.

    But, there will never be a renunciation of papal primacy. That I am certain of. But that doesn’t mean that the Pope will dictate to the Patriarchs how to recite the liturgy and demand they bow down to Rome, like in the first millenium. I’m not sure about redefining the nature/s of Christ. That question was settled centuries ago. I can’t remember when, but i’m sure it was pre the schism. Not to sure about that one.

    But, I think the Pope is sincere in his efforts to see the Union. I understood Kirill was just as sincere and that, one of the major contentious issues was around the Western Ukraine, as I mentioned in a post above, which was close to being resolved. There, the Pope was willing to make compromises. And they were big compromises – against the wishes of the Eastern Catholics.. I would have thought given that the pope has a diminishing political clout, (together with moral clout,) the issues around the primacy would be less significant than yesteryear. But maybe that isn’t the case after all. What a shame.

    Those are my thoughts, I look forward to your thoughts too. Thanks & God bless,

    Cheers,

    Will

  30. Dear Will,
    Wow. 30 years. You are young enough to be my grandson. A 2 month old. No wonder you are so optimistic. Bravo. Well done. Yes, young kids will tint your outlook towards life. Not a bad thing.
    I do remember, vividly, the underarm fiasco. For much of that time cricket was an all consuming passion. I spent as much time following and analyzing cricket in those days, as I now spend on popes. Funny thing. I don’t have too many FAVORITES on YouTube … mainly because I don’t watch that much you tube … but guess what one of those is. Here … in case you haven’t seen it in a long time.
    It is sad, BUT I haven’t seen that much of SL cricket or cricketers. I left the UK in 1985.
    $5 is your lowest value note. So like the UK you have gone to coins. I am BAD with whose faces appear on bills … partly because I do not deal much in cash (like the Queen). I pay for everything by card — which you can do (just about) here. Sometimes it gets embarrassing. IF we have to seek civilization we need to go through AT LEAST one $1 toll … and we don’t have the cash. So the kids have to raid their piggy banks.
    ******
    OK … serious stuff (not that Sir Ed is ever not serious).
    ******
    Will, never mind the Maronites (who have some VERY attractive women), as far as I know all priests of the Oriental Catholic Church can marry … and I even did some probing into this … because there was a theoretical possibility of a married Oriental Rites Cardinal Bishop. This post.
    ******
    I think the good father has said all I could say … but better and with more credibility.
    But, Will let me ask you … per our discussion on Free Will.
    Do YOU think God is aware of the schism … and I am NOT being facetious. Unlike most, I do not think that God only has to worry about this totally insignificant tribe on this minuscule, totally irrelevant chunk of rock … hid away in the Milky Way. Right now, for example, he has MUCH, MUCH bigger potatoes to deal with … like what he plans to do with Betelgeuse. YOU have been following that … right?
    He also probably has to make some executive decisions soon about the status of Charon.
    So, I understand IF he only gets around to scanning Earth every 2,000 years or so … and then for only a short time. In the scheme of things, even THAT is excessive. But, c’est la vie.
    So … I always come back to that.
    If this schism is to be healed God could probably do it without too much trouble. So I am going to leave it in God’s capable (but busy) hands. The only question is, when is he NEXT going to have time to take a look at what is happening in this little blip … orbiting around a small yellow dwarf.
    ******
    More later, Will. I really have to do some astronomy-related writing. TRYING to explain, in writing, Kepler’s 3rd law to a 10-year old audience … struggling with how to explain a semi-major axis to kids who have no exposure to geometry.
    THANKS. Cheers.

  31. Dear Anura,

    Yes, God is aware of the schism. We are talking about the Son of God’s church. I think it is a punishment to all of us that the church – His mystical body of which we are members – has been divided. Yes, God is omni -present, so he can keep his all seeing ‘eye’ on Betelgeuse and Pope Benedict & Kirill. Why He has allowed this schism to drag on for nearly a thousand years is beyond me. After all, if Nz can forgive Australia after that disgraceful performance at the MCG, then surely the two churches can forgive and forget.. Of course, that is hardly the appropriate comparison, but i’m sure you understand what I mean?. And to answer your question, no, I wasn’t aware that that star was going to supernova. Now, i’m going to dust off my telescope and look at Orion. It is very visible in Nz at this time of the year..

    Thanks for the reference re the Eastern rites, suffice to say, I wish I was a Maronite!

    When it comes to free will, it does trouble me to say the least. I think it is terrifying to think that we are only here for a small amount of years and yet, what we do in this life will determine our destiny forever in the next. The proportionality between punishment and reward in the next life is, well, incomprehensible. I just hope we are on the right side of that ledger.

    Now, I will now respond to Fr’s post tomorrow, but i’m going to sleep on it! (in between my daughter/s waking me up of course..)

    Cheers,

    Will

  32. Dear Will,
    Per my reply a few minutes ago to Sean (of Oz), I kind of followed the floods in Oz and now this supposed monster cyclone. Have you folks been immune to all this water that appears to be gravitating to Oz.
    *****
    Hope you slept well. My soon to be 5 year old still sleeps much of the time with us and she is a restless sleeper.
    *****
    Will, YOU are much more qualified on any and all theological topics than I am … and you even attended a seminary … while I am not even sure whether I have, ever, even driven past one. But, I can talk about cricket, because if nothing else I have spent days ensconced in the holy of holies (and, of course, I mean the Long Room at the APPROPRIATELY named Lord’s) and have interacted, multiple times with the high priests such as Viv, Gordon, Barry, Malcolm, Andy, Joel, Ian, Mike & Mike etc. etc. While, I see exactly where you are going with the underarm analogy, I think in the scheme of things it was still superficial compared to the differences that led to … and continue to foster … the schism. I know this was in the times of your great, grand parents BUT I think Jardine and Bodyline … maybe closer. Or, even how Australia treated that god, Mulli! That, I, still talk civilly to Australians, despite my major grievances as to the despicable way they treated one of our national treasures, primarily due the color of his skin, with no allowances for his disability, is INDEED testament to the power of men to forgive … and have you ever heard of Arlott’s famous line: ‘Manns inhumanity to Mann’?
    Enough cricket.
    *****
    I am going to let the qualified like Father Peter, Father Anthony, the Sri Lankan Kenny etc. to really wrestle with you on the theological nuances.
    *****
    I will, as is my wont, make a few observations.
    You said: “Son of God’s church”. You make a distinction and use THE SMALL ‘c’. Hhhhmmmm. Wouldn’t it be equally right, maybe even better, to say: ‘God’s Church’? Wouldn’t this distinction, alone, between the Son and the Father, put you on thin ice with the Orthodox?
    You mention ‘omni-present’ and then MENTION Krill (albeit using the Australian spelling). Hhmmmm. Maybe he is keeping an eye on the krill BUT what about the WHALES? We avidly watch each series of ‘Whale Wars’ — me, in my youth, having been a Green Peace member. Yes, yes, it all has to be Free Will (and I am glad your parents named you such), but it amazes me that the non-Christian Japs are given a free hand at killing whales. Is that BECAUSE God does not have dominion over non-Christians? Does that make sense? Have you ever thought of that.
    ******
    Your statement: “I think it is terrifying to think that we are only here for a small amount of years and yet, what we do in this life will determine our destiny forever in the next.” rocked me in my seat. Do you know much about REAL Buddhism? I am not sure whether they do any comparative religions at seminary. But, what we do in this life determining what happens in the next … is very Buddhist. I am NOT sure whether your take is strictly Catholic. Maybe, someone else will jump in and question you.
    ******
    I have to say that it pleases ME that free will troubles you. That, to me, shows that you are THINKING and that you care. Thinking is such a blessing and a joy. I love to think. Think Free or Die.
    This is all good. Food for thought.
    Well, I have a ton and a half of snow out there. I shoveled, non-stop, for 75 minutes yesterday afternoon. Today, I have at least 3 hours of shoveling to do. Though I complain, I love it. Wonderful full-body exercise. PLUS I can think while I shovel.
    I just had to check … 800 wickets.
    God be praised … 92 MORE than the lucky Oz in 12 less matches. Aahhhh. Made my day.
    Thanks & Cheers

  33. Dear Fr Peter,

    I have thought long and hard about your post. But I do have an answer, and the answer is yes – the Pope is a monarch and an absolute one at that. That, I will concede. However, that absolute power is, actually very limited both in theory and in practice. In theory the Pope is not subject to any legal censure in the Church, he can do what ever he likes and no one can tell him otherwise. But in practice he, by convention, in this day and age would never do anything of the sort. To illustrate this I live in New Zealand (NZ). In NZ and Australia, and some other commonwealth countries the Queen is the Head of State, the Sovereign. In theory, Her Majesty can sack our democratically elected Prime Minister and dissolve the Parliament, cancel all Royal Warrants from our Chief of Army to the Chief Justice thereby sacking them too. But in practice this is inconceivable, even if the world was about to end Her Majesty would never exercise these, what we call, residual powers of the monarch in a constitutional monarchy.

    For instance, if the Pope tried to remove the Heads of all the Bishops Conferences then, yes, he could in theory at the stroke of a pen do it, but in practice the National conferences would say ‘no’, or else there will be a revolt’ and that would be that. To give an example from Anura it would be like the next Pope saying to the Cardinals after he has been elected that he will take the regnal name of Peter II. The Cardinals would probably over power him and hold another round of ballots and elect someone else, even though he may be a validly elected Pope.

    You then say:

    [R]oman primacy would be in accord with Tradition (this all being only a matter of interpretation) and could allegedly be deduced from the witness of Holy Scripture (which definetly is NOT TRUE).

    Again, I obviously can’t accept that. But this illustrates a number of issues – who has the teaching authority of sacred scripture? do you believe that Sacred Tradition is part of revelation? what is the Universal Magesterium? Do you think that the Roman Catholic Church severed all ties with apostolic succession when the schism of 1054 erupted – or was it at Vatican I when papal infallibility was defined? Just on apostolic succession, my understanding is that Rome is the only patriarchate which has had a VISIBLE successor from St. Peter – to Benedict. But you may want to correct me on that. It is certainly true of Rome, but the other sees in the East, i’m not so sure. If that is indeed the case then that is a pretty strong argument that Rome has never lost the Apostolic Succession..

    Those are my thoughts. I remain, Fr very sincerely yours in Christ,

    Will

  34. I think it is germane to point out that there is HUGE, fundamental difference between my scenario as to what could happen if a pope elected to be ‘Peter II’ and your speculations about what would happen if the pope fires the Head of a Bishops Conference.
    The DIFFERENCE is my scenario will take place within the murky secrecy of A CONCLAVE (a la what some people still think of as the Siri Thesis). It would NOT be a public spectacle.
    I find it hard to VISUALIZE any in the current crop of cardinals, including the maverick Count or the Psychologist from Honduras, OPENLY defying this pope, or the next, in public.
    But, I could be wrong.
    I know that Father Peter is busy. But, I am hoping he will respond to this and your other comments and queries.
    But … let me conclude with my current theme …
    Papal primacy … per YOUR thesis … God is totally conversant with it … right? Plus, the pope has the title Vicar of Christ. God, per you, MUST know about that too … right?
    Now, I would NOT DO THIS (because I in my old age I am trying to make up for decades of brashness by TRYING to be tactful whenever I can or at least on days that have an ‘e’ in them) BUT … couldn’t YOU … say to Father Peter … God seems cool with the pope’s standing, and appears to have been for about 1,000 years … so it has to be you folks that are on the wrong side of the Rubicon. Would YOU say that? All the indications favor that interpretation. The pope lives like an Emperor in the glistening, treasure packed independent kingdom of the Vatican City State crowned by the breathtaking St. Peter’s. Do you even know where the Patriarchs live? Will, I really think YOU should pursue this line of questioning.
    Thanks. Cheers.

  35. Dear Will,
    While out shoveling (again), I realized that I should ELABORATE on the ‘Peter II‘ scenario … since I often forget … that most people do not know the ins-and-outs of Universi … as I do, given that I read it, at least once a week.
    So, lets take the scenario (and I have a ‘Latino’ friend who has written a BOOK about this) where lets say a Latin American cardinal, (per my friend, Maradiaga), opts to become ‘Peter II.’
    The declaration of the regnal name comes way, way BEFORE the cardinal electors pledge fealty to the new pope. The cardinal electors ONLY get around to pledging their fealty AFTER the new pope is dressed in papal white.
    So, in my scenario … the cardinal electors have NOT pledged allegiance to the pope as yet — though, indubitably, he is the pope.
    That too makes a difference.
    But, this is NOT the case in YOUR scenario. By that time all the cardinals have pledged fealty. So to revolt against the pope would mean that they have to break their own oath …
    Enough said.
    P.S., Since the Pope is Vicarius Chriti has it ever occurred whether there is a http://www.vicariuschristi.com/ Web site … and IF SO, what kind of message it will convey?
    Thanks. Cheers.

  36. Dear Father,
    As ever … WOW. Your erudition always humbles me … and SOMETIMES even makes me wish that I had listened to my mother and got some education … rather than chasing girls!
    *****
    Father & Will,
    As for Apostolic Succession … I went an RE-READ what Will wrote.
    What he called ‘Apostolic Succession’ was actually ‘Petrine Succession‘ — two very different animals. I guess Will dropped out of seminary before they got to that. Yes, we do have UNBROKEN Petrine Succession, provided, of course, that we taken as GIVEN that St. Peter did make it to Rome (to tag team with St. Paul, who we know, for certain, did see the sights of Rome).
    Will, PLEASE … I am an OLD MAN … who takes four different high-blood pressure medications (which could easily explain why I am so light-headed) … don’t get me started on Apostolic Succession. In my book, A.S. is in the same league as the Tooth Fairy, Father Christmas, the Donation of Constantine and Peter Pan.
    Will, are YOU aware of Charles ‘Mnsgr. Appostolic Succession‘ Bransom? If, not … PLEASE visit here. I know Charles and we have even had a few, fairly cordial, discussions on Apostolic Succession. There is NO documentation of complete A.S.! So … PLEASE. OK, yes, in the END I understand that it is the same issue as P.S.. You have to take some stuff on trust. But, in the case of A.S. that is ONE BIG chasm that you are asking me to cross.
    ******
    Ahhh … THE Filioque. Always brightens MY DAY: Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum, et vivificantem: qui ex Patre Filioque procedit.
    ******
    Must go. Shoveling done for the day. We can now go forth to the Post Office to mail books etc.
    Thanks & Cheers

  37. I got it. I understood, right away. EVEN if you could show unbroken A.S. (which we can’t), it still doesn’t make much difference if your belief set deviates from those at the start of the chain. I like it.
    This is very good.
    Thank you.

  38. Dear Father,
    As ever, per my ‘Think Free or Die’ credo, I was thinking … while shoveling. Father, as you may have also realized, I am an equal opportunity skeptic/cynic — who questions everything and anything on a Pavlovian basis. So, yes, I am critical of Apostolic Succession and have doubts whether St. Peter ever made it to Rome. But, these, in the scheme of things are small potatoes.
    Father, this is INDEED related to my prior question … that you are working on … related to God and religions.
    ******
    So MY QUESTION to YOU, father:
    Father, as an Orthodox priest have YOU ever questioned why God does NOT appear to be that ‘concerned’ about Orthodox Christianity — especially, if, it is indeed the more pure version of HIS beliefs.
    I had to go and check. There are about 200 million Orthodox.
    So Catholics outnumber the Orthodox 5-to-1, maybe even 6-to-1?
    There are EVEN more Buddhists and Hindus than Orthodox and I won’t even mention that 600 AD upstart — which claims to be the LATEST word of God.
    Father, I ask because I am not an expert. I assume that this must have been a topic that young Orthodox ‘novices’ discussed ad nauseum in your youth. So I guess there must be a standard answer. Can you please educate me … so I can check this one … as ‘OK, check. Know the answer to that’ … and move onto another.
    Thank YOU, father. All the best.
    With respect and affection,
    Anura

  39. So MY QUESTION to YOU, father:
    Father, as an Orthodox priest have YOU ever questioned why God does NOT appear to be that ‘concerned’ about Orthodox Christianity — especially, if, it is indeed the more pure version of HIS beliefs.
    I had to go and check. There are about 200 million Orthodox.
    So Catholics outnumber the Orthodox 5-to-1, maybe even 6-to-1?
    There are EVEN more Buddhists and Hindus than Orthodox and I won’t even mention that 600 AD upstart — which claims to be the LATEST word of God.

    I am not an expert either, but do take a look at Matthew 7:13-14:
    Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
    Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

  40. OK, here are all the translations. It sounds to be like an ad. for Weight Watchers. Can you, please, tell me what it MEANS to YOU. Given my love for skiing it sounds to me like the description of a good Austrian slalom course. So, over to YOU.
    P.S., Got a very nice post card from Obama today … just after I had told you about the frequent e-mails I get from him and Biden.
    IF you really want to see a FUNNY birth certificate … I should show YOU mine … from 1953 … from Ceylon.
    For a start … it has the location, in Colombo, where it was issued. SLAVE ISLAND. Yep, my birth certificate was issued on Slave Island.
    Next, it has a question, that will make all Catholics very happy. ‘Were the parents married at the time of birth?’
    Just THINK if they had that question in today’s birth certificates issued in Georgia, USA.
    Plus, it is in 3 languages. It is quite a piece of work.
    ******
    Just in case you didn’t know, US birth certificates … at least in THIS GREAT historical state of NH are ephemeral. One of my three daughters is adopted. Before I adopted her she had a birth certificate that had no name against father. Within a week of the adoption, we get a brand new birth certificate, WITH a raised stamp, with my name as the father. MAGIC.
    ******
    Thanks.

  41. Father, I used 300 million. I was using 1.5 billion for Catholics. Hence the 5-to-1. Sorry if I got it wrong.
    I have now read this twice. I need to read it MORE.
    Thank YOU. All the best.

  42. Dear Anura,

    To answer a few of your questions from earlier posts, no we in NZ have not been hit with major flooding. We are being hit though with earthquakes! Something I never get use to.

    Re ” you said: “Son of God’s church”. You make a distinction and use THE SMALL ‘c’. Hhhhmmmm. Wouldn’t it be equally right, maybe even better, to say: ‘God’s Church’? Wouldn’t this distinction, alone, between the Son and the Father, put you on thin ice with the Orthodox?

    Yes. (The small c was just a typo) And yes, I am on thin ice with the Orthodox teaching.

    You mention ‘omni-present’ and then MENTION Krill (albeit using the Australian spelling). Hhmmmm. Maybe he is keeping an eye on the krill BUT what about the WHALES? We avidly watch each series of ‘Whale Wars’ — me, in my youth, having been a Green Peace member. Yes, yes, it all has to be Free Will (and I am glad your parents named you such), but it amazes me that the non-Christian Japs are given a free hand at killing whales. Is that BECAUSE God does not have dominion over non-Christians? Does that make sense? Have you ever thought of that.
    ******

    Yes I have thought of that. Catholic’s believe that God holds everything in existence by his Will. So, everything that exists, exists by God. So that is how he can keep an eye on everyone and a pod of whales being pursued by those menacing Jap whalers!! When it comes to animals, Catholic’s believe that God created everything in the animal kingdom for man to use, and in using them, for good, help man get to heaven. (As far as I understand it, that is conventional Catholic teaching.) So God has dominion over those Whalers, but yet by free will, allows them to do what they want. If that makes sense??

    Re: Your statement: “I think it is terrifying to think that we are only here for a small amount of years and yet, what we do in this life will determine our destiny forever in the next.” rocked me in my seat. Do you know much about REAL Buddhism? I am not sure whether they do any comparative religions at seminary. But, what we do in this life determining what happens in the next … is very Buddhist. I am NOT sure whether your take is strictly Catholic. Maybe, someone else will jump in and question you.
    ******

    This may surprise you, but it is Catholic teaching. (although, I hope I haven’t fallen into heresy!!) we did a little on other religions in the seminary, but that is 10+ years ago.. So I can’t remember much about Buddhism. Maybe – you are closer to being Catholic than you think? Or I am more Buddhist…hmmm interesting..

    Re: Apostolic succession; Being a Catholic, I have to believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.. you may laugh or disagree with me on that but I do believe that the Catholic Church has, and always will have Apostolic succession… I have my reasons for that too. Yes, I am familiar with St. Irenaeus he is one of the Father’s of the church.

    Cheers,

    Will

  43. There are papabili and papal resignation related comments by Father Anthony, from February 3 & 5, 2011, against this post: http://popes-and-papacy.com/wordpress/?p=2132#comments.
    They are very germane and you might want to look at them.

  44. Dear Will,
    Thank YOU. Much appreciated. I will be BACK … I promise. Busy day … though I am taking a well earned break from shoveling (though I did spend 20 minutes raking the roofs … and that really is bloody PAIN in the neck … because you are twisting your head up).
    Will, PLEASE, at a minimum FOLLOW this papal resignation thread with Father Anthony of the UK. http://popes-and-papacy.com/wordpress/?p=2132#comments.
    Cheers.

  45. Dear Will,
    I like and appreciate that you can readily and openly discuss (maybe some would even say debate) these delicate, but thorny, religious issues. In case you didn’t know (though regulars of this blog are very aware of it) questioning each and every aspect of all religions is just one of my many hobbies. I have driven my father, a world authority of Buddhism, BEYOND distraction by asking him questions about Buddhism that he … alas … is not willing to answer!
    Will, YOU said (replying to my question that did talk about dominion over non-Christians): ‘God holds everything in existence by his Will. So, everything that exists, exists by God. So that is how he can keep an eye on everyone …’
    Right. You did SAY that. Right?
    ******
    Will, I was never a great intellectual and now the raves of age, barrels of cheap red wine and getting hit on the head multiple times playing cricket (I, being stupid to begin with, would never wear a helmet) is taking its toll. So, can you PLEASE, try to answer the following questions, related to YOUR prior response, AT LEAST starting with a ‘YES’ or a ‘NO’ (and I promise I won’t ask that trick question … ‘do you still beat your wife’ or the seminary variant of that which involves a monkey).
    ******
    Q1: Will, when you say ‘God holds everything in existence by his Will,‘ does that INCLUDE all humans on earth … by which I mean all 6.9 BILLION of us, though as far as I know, at most, only ~60% subscribe to the Abrahamic God that we are talking about — and that, as you know, includes the Muslims? [[ PLEASE, at least start by saying ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ so that I can have a HOPE of trying to understand. ]]

    Q2: Will, ‘God holding everything in existence by his will,’ has to include the Jews and the Muslims, by definition, so per your definition the Jews and Muslims are our brothers, and we are theirs, without distinction and CERTAINLY no cause for rancor. Is that the case and do YOU buy that? [[ Again, PLEASE, if you could at least start by saying ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ ]]

    Based on the answers to these, I will, of course, have MORE questions. But, this would be a great start.

    This may amaze you BUT I too know of St. Irenaeus. I have even READ some of his writings, multiple times, ALAS in their English translations (because I have yet to find a Sinhalese translation of them). He in Adversus Haereses, Chapter 3 Paragraph 3 provided me with a clue to one of my MAJOR breakthroughs in papal history. Thank YOU, St. Irenaeus. It is documented here. Amazed me that millions of seminarians, during 1,800 years, would have read that same paragraph in Latin, Greek, French, Italian and even Polish … and NEVER saw the clue. I guess there is a lot to be said for getting hit on the head with cricket balls.

    Must go. Need to update College of Cardinal stats. Another cardinal turns 80. Down to 119. Your neighbors in the Philippines are going to be flipping out. Thanks. Cheers.

  46. Thank YOU, Father.
    I still need to respond to your comment from yesterday. I am kind of lost for words. Hence the silence. Please excuse me. I am not being rude.
    Father, as for my reading and understanding of Adversus Haereses, I will confess, I was in search of ONE particular thing … and as it happens YOU mention it. I was looking for HIS list of the early popes … which as you say did become one of the pillars for supporting papal primacy. Yes, I knew that too. Father, what I was looking for was Sixtus and whether St. Irenaios ACTUALLY said: ac deinceps sextus ab Apostolis constitutus est Sixtus. Bingo. That was what I was looking for Sextus was Sixtus.
    Father, give me time. Busy day today. Started the day writing about Percival Lawrence Lowell and Venice. Then had to update the College of Cardinal stuff. Cardinal Vidal turned 80. Got all of that done about 1am Rome time. Now to this. But, must get back to Percy before the night is through.
    Good night, father. All the best. Thank you.

  47. Dear Father,
    WOW.
    Father, you know this is going to take me DAYS to digest. So please … I beg patience.
    Father, did YOU see my dialogue with ex-seminarian Will of NZ yesterday?
    ******
    Father, I was out for about 3 hours this afternoon. We were out frolicking on a large frozen lake. I had a question, I was going to ask you … which related to your response a few days ago.
    ******
    Father, the Orthodox Church, in communion with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, that YOU belong to.
    Question: Is that ALSO the religion/belief of YOUR parents and other close family?
    The answer to this will help me better parse your earlier response.
    THANK YOU, Father.
    All the best.
    P.S., PLEASE feel free to jump in, with both feet, into the Benedict XVI may resign discussion with Father Anthony … God’s will and a statement he made this morning … that IF you saw it, would sure have piqued your interest. He talked about ‘earlier’ popes possibly NOT living per the standards of the Gospel. YOU are the expert. Father, do the Gospels talk about Popes? If they do not, can we extrapolate any modes of behavior to the popes based on the Gospels.
    P.P.S., Your German quoting friend ‘Citizen …’ was talking about celibacy today. Did YOU see that? Father, am I right in thinking that YOUR church does not require celibacy?
    Thank YOU. I really must do some REAL WORK. This is fun … but I do not think of it as work.

  48. Dear Father,
    I read this in YOUR thesis: ‘He also demands from the human being that this would be attained without any coercion.’
    Father, I am now WORRIED that maybe, due to my poor language skills, that I may have, inadvertently, misled you. I am SO SORRY.
    Father, I was TALKING about the God described in the Old Testament. That God, as far as I can make out, factoring in all the so called metaphors etc. was still responsible for such things as THE Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, the firstborn Egyptian children, etc. etc.
    That was the God I was thinking of and talking about. Father, which God are you talking about … THE Flood would appear to be some kind of coercion on humans … wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t YOU say that Father … about the God described in the Old Testament.
    Sorry to bother you, father. All the very best.
    Thank you.
    More, much more later …

  49. OK, here are all the translations. It sounds to be like an ad. for Weight Watchers. Can you, please, tell me what it MEANS to YOU. Given my love for skiing it sounds to me like the description of a good Austrian slalom course. So, over to YOU.

    I think it means what it sounds like, and to me it sounds neither like Weight Watchers nor like Alpine skiing.
    It is saying that the way to salvation is narrow (and difficult) and that most people will not embark on it, preferring the well-trod way to destruction. The difference is not so much profession of belief but correct works – see Matthew 7:21-23 where fellow believers in Jesus are condemned not for believing wrong things or not doing any works, but for doing wrong works.
    So much for the surface layer and what the author of Matthew wanted the reader to take away from this passage.
    But peeling the onion a bit more, we consider the situation in which the author was writing in the late 1st century CE. Christianity as a whole was a small minority in the Roman world and even within Christianity there were wildly different strands. The narrow/wide gate can be seen as a jab at both other Christians and the society as a whole. But the later discourse, with false prophets described as “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and Jesus rebuking Christians that are not doing the will of God, is most likely an attack at opposing Christian sects, probably gnostic and Pauline ones.
    But what do you think of the passage yourself Anura?

    Next, it has a question, that will make all Catholics very happy. ‘Were the parents married at the time of birth?’
    Just THINK if they had that question in today’s birth certificates issued in Georgia, USA.

    I think we have quite a few politicians who would think it a great idea.

    Just in case you didn’t know, US birth certificates … at least in THIS GREAT historical state of NH are ephemeral. One of my three daughters is adopted. Before I adopted her she had a birth certificate that had no name against father. Within a week of the adoption, we get a brand new birth certificate, WITH a raised stamp, with my name as the father. MAGIC.

    Is that how Joseph (or Panthera?) got erased as father of Jesus?

  50. Dear Anura,

    Re question 1: Yes. Re question 2:

    “by definition, so per your definition the Jews and Muslims are our brothers, and we are theirs, without distinction and CERTAINLY no cause for rancor. Is that the case and do YOU buy that? [[ Again, PLEASE, if you could at least start by saying ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ ]”

    Anura, please define ‘our brothers’ what do you mean? are you asking whether they are our brothers in the flesh? for that they obviously are, but, are you asking whether they are our brothers in religion?

    Sorry I have been away – I am flat out at work!

    Thanks Anura,

    Cheers,

    Will

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