Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Smoke Signals

Why is there so much interest in the next Pope?  Every single Cardinal in the Conclave was appointed either by John Paul or Benedict, so every single one of them is a conservative.  Since they are the candidates as well as the electors, it's inevitable that the next Pope will be a conservative.  European, Latino, North American, or African, it won't make a damned bit of difference in the theological (hence, social) direction of the Church.

No, we're not likely to see anybody like John XXIII again, just in case any of you might be old enough to remember him.  There won't be any liberation theology — that's for sure!  The Church will remain ossified, secretive, and determinedly anti-woman.  Will the occasional boy diddler be outed and prosecuted?  Probably, but only at the lowest levels.  Will there be any structural changes at the Vatican Bank?  Doubtful.

What the Cardinals have to be thinking about most right now is damage control.  They don't dare to elect a Pope who might support married priests, much less female priests.  Even though "Papal infallibility" only dates back to the 19th century, they don't want to mess with it.  It's nice to be infallible, especially when you're wrong.

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