Papabili for the 2013 Papal Conclave (List) : My summary and opinions

Cardinal Angelo Scola : My favourite to be the next Pope. The leading Italian candidate, Archbishop of Milan, and former Patriarch of Venice. He is also a spiritual and intellectual disciple of our beloved Pope Benedict XVI, with similar views on the liturgy. Best person to continue the work that has been started by Pope Benedict XVI on ‘reform of the reform’ and other issues of the faith and the Church.

View his videos, homilies, activities, and Masses at his site : http://angeloscola.it/ and the Youtube page of Archdiocese of Milan at : http://www.youtube.com/user/itleditore

Cardinal Marc Ouellet : Canadian, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, former Primate of Canada and Metropolitan Archbishop Emeritus of Quebec. My second favourite and alternative to Cardinal Scola to be the next Bishop of Rome, and also widely regarded as the top non-Italian and non-European candidate. He is also close to our Pope Benedict XVI in his views and intellectually as well, though may be not as close as Cardinal Scola is. He has done a great job at the Congregation, and has seen the appointment of bishops who are not just good administrators, but also good in intellect and faith as well.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi : Italian, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, well-known for his activity in engaging the media and the new media, particularly through the Internet, via Twitter and other social media in the approach for new evangelisation, and also has done great works among the youth, who are the Church’s future. May have chance if Cardinal Scola’s candidacy does not make it. Drawback is that he has less experience, being only less than 3 years as a Cardinal and about 6 years as a bishop, with little experience outside the Pontifical Council for Culture.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone : Italian, Cardinal Secretary of State. The prime Cardinal in the Roman Curia, the second hand of the Pope. He is seen as a strong leader, but many has seen that he is a rather dominating persona, which may be incompatible with the office of the Papacy, and he is also rather too old at 78 going 79 at the end of this year. As Pope Benedict XVI was elected just on his 78th birthday, just like Cardinal Arinze, who is already above 80, the chance of the College of Cardinals to elect someone too old is getting more remote, especially considering the reason for Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to retire and renounce the position as the Bishop of Rome.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan : American, Metropolitan Archbishop of New York. Jovial and lively, reminds me much of Blessed Pope John XXIII. Conservative in issues and outlook. However, being a Cardinal from the world’s only superpower and also the troubles in the American church makes his chances rather slim. However, his youth, his charisma, and his position as the President of the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference may boost his chances to be elected.

Cardinal Raymond Burke : American, Prefect of Supreme Tribunal of Apostolic Signatura (or the Supreme/Chief Justice of the Holy See). Relatively young and traditional, worn the traditional Cardinal dress (galero and cappa magna) and one of the more-traditionally minded Cardinal in the College. Often celebrated the Mass in the Extraordinary Form. May be a good choice for those looking for a more traditional candidate as the next Pope, to continue the ‘reform of the reform’ of Pope Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Christoph Schonborn : Austrian. Metropolitan Archbishop of Vienna. Long seen as the contender for the Papacy, even since the 2005 election. Still rather young at 68 (even younger during the 2005 conclave). However, he is a controversial figure, often recorded with the liturgical abuses (he himself may not mean so, as his funeral Mass for the late Archduke Otto of Austria was done very reverently and liturgically correct), such as the youth Mass with rock concert/party style-Mass and not-so-traditional types of worship, and then with a German currently as the Bishop of Rome, it is less likely that the Cardinals will elect another German as Pope, even though he came from neighbouring Austria.

Cardinal Francis Arinze : Nigerian, Former Prefect of the Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Often touted recently in the media with Cardinal Peter Turkson, another African (Ghana), due to the intense media bias on the possibility of having an African Pope in this Conclave. Not to be biased, but what the media often reported is not what is the actual happening on the ground. Main problem is, according to Universi Dominici Gregis, although it specifically state that he cannot vote as elector because he is already above 80 of age, he may still be elected, but considering that Pope Benedict XVI has resigned at the age of 85 going 86, the Cardinals will likely want to elect someone in their early 70s like Cardinal Scola or late 60s like Cardinal Ouellet.

Cardinal Peter Turkson : Ghana (Africa), President of Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Seen by many as a strong contender, but with main issues regarding his frequent gaffes and improper comments regarding Muslim-Christian relations, which is a very important and delicate matter in the Church indeed. He was also censured somewhat for his screening of a clip that showed the rise of Islam in Europe last year, which quite a few Cardinals saw as fearmongering. In addition, his name, Peter, may bring about intense speculation on Petrus Romanus (Peter the Roman) in the Prophecy of St. Malachy on the Popes. Petrus Romanus, being the last Pope, will come at the time near the end of time, heading the Church in the time of persecution (as perhaps told in the Book of Revelations). As this last prophecy is not numbered, it is most likely that St. Malachy purposely did so / the vision given by the Lord purposely did so such that we know what’s going to happen, but not the exact time when the Lord will come again, so that we will always be ready for His coming. So, no, most likely we won’t have a Peter or Pope Peter in this time round. (Addition : Cardinal Turkson has also openly announced that he is ready to be elected if he is. Normally this is frowned, as this is seen as ambition, and incompatible with the will of the Holy Spirit. Remember that the papal conclave is not the same as the US presidential elections or any other secular elections, it is far above that).

Cardinal Luis Antonio Gokim Tagle : Filipino (Asia), Metropolitan Archbishop of Manila. A young and new Cardinal appointed by the Pope at his last consistory last November. This may be seen by some as the Pope appointing his ‘successor’ but it is actually not so. I myself hope that he will be elected Pope, but not this time, maybe after the next one, and he can have the chance to be the 268th Pope instead (we are electing the 267th Bishop of Rome in this conclave). First is his very young age, and his relative lack of experience in both as a Cardinal and the Archbishop of Manila. I have very high opinions on Cardinal Tagle and was very glad when he was named a Cardinal last year, but to me, let Cardinal Tagle do great works first in Manila for many more years, and then, with all those experiences, then he can become an even better Pope next time.

This list is still incomplete, and I will post additions from time to time. In any case, it is not man to decide who’s the next leader of the Universal Church, the Vicar of Christ. It is Christ Himself, through the Holy Spirit, and thus through the Cardinal-electors inspired by the Spirit who decides. Pray for them, and for the entire Universal Church, and for the whole world. Amen.

Friday, 15 February 2013 : Friday after Ash Wednesday (Gospel Reading)

Matthew 9 : 14-15

Then the disciples of John came to Him with the question, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast on many occasions, but not Your disciples?”

Jesus answered them, “How can you expect wedding guests to mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The time will come, when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

Friday, 15 February 2013 : Friday after Ash Wednesday (Psalm)

Psalm 50 : 3-4, 5-6a, 18-19

Have mercy on me, o God, in Your love. In Your great compassion blot out my sin. Wash me thoroughly of my guilt; cleanse me of evil.

For I acknowledge my wrongdoings and have my sins ever in mind. Against You alone have I sinned; what is evil in Your sight I have done.

You take no pleasure in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, You would not delight in it. O God, my sacrifice is a broken spirit; a contrite heart You will not despise.

Friday, 15 February 2013 : Friday after Ash Wednesday (First Reading)

Isaiah 58 : 1-9a

Cry out aloud for all you are worth; raise your voice like a trumpet blast; tell My people of their offenses, Jacob’s family of their sins.

Is it true that they seek Me day after day, longing to know My ways, as a people that does what is right and has not forsaken the word of its God?

They want to know the just laws and not to drift away from their God. “Why are we fasting,” they complain, “and you do not even see it? We are doing penance and you never notice it.”

Look, on your fast days you push your trade and you oppress your labourers. Yes, you fast but end up quarreling, striking each other with wicked blows.

Fasting as you do will not make your voice heard on high. Is that the kind of fast that pleases me, just a day to humble oneself? Is fasting merely bowing down one’s head, and making use of sackcloth and ashes? Would you call that fasting, a day acceptable to YHVH?

See the fast that pleases Me : breaking the fetters of injustice and unfastening the thongs of the yoke, setting the oppressed free and breaking every yoke. Fast by sharing your food with the hungry, bring to your house the homeless, clothe the one you see naked and do not turn away from your own kin.

Then will your light break forth as the dawn and your healing come in a flash. Your righteousness will be your vanguard, the Glory of YHVH your rearguard. Then you will call and YHVH will answer, you will cry and He will say, I am here.

Full text of the Apostolic Constitution, Universi Dominici Gregis, governing the Papal Conclave

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_jp-ii_apc_22021996_universi-dominici-gregis_en.html

The Apostolic Constitution, Universi Dominici Gregis, released by Blessed Pope John Paul II on 22 February 1996, which regulates the Papal conclave, and as such, was in effect in the 2005 papal conclave, and should also govern the 2013 papal conclave, which will begin within a month or so from now.

Let us pray for the Cardinal-electors, for our Pope Benedict XVI, for his successor-to-be, and for the Universal Church and the world. Amen.

Papal Conclave will begin between 15 March 2013 to 20 March 2013

http://www.romereports.com/palio/vatican-conclave-will-begin-between-march-15-and-20-english-9048.html

It is confirmed that in accordance with the rules of the Papal Conclave, the Universi Dominici Gregis (UDG), that a conclave must begin within 15 to 20 days from the time the See of Rome is vacant, either by death or the renouncement by the previous Pope, the Conclave date has been set to be sometime in mid-March.

Let us all pray together that God will send His Holy Spirit to all the Cardinal-electors, that we will soon have a new shepherd, the Bishop of Rome, successor to our beloved Pope Benedict XVI, Blessed Pope John Paul II, and St. Peter the Apostle. God be with us all, His Church!

+Ut Omnes Unum Sint, ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam+
(That they all may be One, for the greater glory of God)

Thursday, 14 February 2013 : Thursday after Ash Wednesday (Scripture Reflection)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, to follow Jesus, our Lord is not easy, for in following the Lord, we are going to have to suffer and go through trials and tribulations, just as Christ Himself faced His great trial, and ultimately was crucified on Calvary for our sake. Christ asks us today to carry our own crosses together with Him, and to face together the persecutions and the oppositions against the Lord and His divine mission, that is to save all mankind from the slavery of evil and sin.

Let us stay straight on this path, led by Christ, towards God. Let us orientate our heart properly and appropriately that we will always keep the Lord as the focus of our life. For our short and temporary life in this world is indeed short and fleeting. It is just a fleeting moment in the history of creation, but for us, what we do in our lives are indeed important, and if we do not do anything to make sure that we are on the right path towards the Lord, we will not be able to reach Him in the end.

Christ made our journey back to the Lord possible, for it is through His death and resurrection that a great bridge, Christ Himself, appeared between us and the Father who loves us. This is why Christ had to suffer, had to suffer from pain and rejection, and ultimately had to die on the cross, because without the sacrifice of Christ, who is our High Priest and intermediate between us and the Father, there can be no reunion between us and God, for we are separated from Him by a huge and unbridgeable chasm of sin and death. Only Christ, the Lamb of God, is worthy of being the only bridge that crossed that chasm, and through Him, we have a path back to our loving Father in heaven.

No greater love than the one who lay down his life for his friends, and this is exactly what Christ did for us, for we are not just like friends to Him, as we are His brothers, and His sisters. He loves us so much that He was willing to endure, and out of full obedience of His Father, willing to carry the cross, and the burden of all our sins, to Calvary to die and liberate us from the evil one and his hold on us. Nevertheless, for exactly the same reason, the devil hates Him so, and therefore, also hates all who believes in Christ who has liberated us from him through His Precious Blood.

Evil has many things up his sleeve in order to detract us from our direct path to the Lord. Temptations of this world are especially effective weapon the evil one uses against us. False gods are abundant in our world of today, from money, pleasures of the body, commercial temptations, and many others. As Moses said in the first reading, we do have a choice, whether we embrace these temptations and therefore serve the false gods instead of the one, true God, and turn our back on Him, or we can reject these temptations, and continue faithfully to seek the Lord our God.

This path will not be easy, since the world, filled with evil, hates the Lord, and therefore, will do all it can to make us suffer through our journey to the Lord. This suffering can be manifest in many form, and do not have to be physical suffering, but also mentally. This does not mean that we must hate or shun the world in return. Rather, let us embrace those sufferings and pains, and turn them into joy, knowing that the Lord is always with us through our long journey towards Him, and we know that if we stay faithful to Him and face our heart ever towards Him, He will reward us with His love and the place in His Kingdom, that we deserved.

But do not come to Him empty handed, since, there are many others out there who do not yet start their own paths towards the Lord, either lost, or even manipulated by the evil one to fight against God and us, His beloved children. Let us stretch out our hands and reach out to these lost brothers and sisters of ours. Remember, that Christ came to save all mankind, even those who rejected and cursed Him. He forgave them, and as long as they are willing to turn back towards Him, they too, will be given eternal life, together with us.

Let us humble ourselves and follow in the footsteps of the Lord, who has braved through death to save us from our own deaths. This Lent, let it be a fruitful and great season for our being, for our own faith, and for that of those around us. Let us make a solid choice towards the Lord, to attune ourselves fully with His great love, and sanctify ourselves, that when this season of Lent is complete, we are reborn anew, ever greater in faith, in hope, and in love, particularly in this holy Year of Faith. Amen.