11 February 2013

Pope Exits Stage Right Wing

Benedict 16 has announced his resignation effective the end of February. The secretive methodology employed to select a new incumbent is not quite as obscure as that employed by the Church of England in selecting Justin Welby, but it is close. At this moment, no one knows who will be chosen.

What we do know is that after 30 years of dominance by the ultra-right wingers, first John-Paul II, whose right (it would have to be right) hand man became Benedict, and now Benedict himself, the college of cardinals has very few moderates, let alone liberals. John Paul set out to return the church to the middle ages and with a reign of about 25 years was able to appoint all the members of the conclave that elected Benedict. Benedict has only continued the trend.

So, do not look for substantial change. Rome will not be electing a reformer, because there are none among the potential candidates. In fact, we should look exactly the other way. The next incumbent will likely be even less attuned to change. Benedict began actively persecuting nuns while sheltering male peodifiles. The trend will grow.

It is not impossible that the next man will be an African. Rome generally puts it mouth where the money is. Similarly, the new man could come from the Western Hemisphere. I do not know if such a person might emerge. What I do know, is he will be a right-winger.

And that leads to an interesting question. Is Rome going so far to one side that it will effectively write off the entire Northern world? It appears to me that the answer could be yes even if they find a Canadian or European to stand in front and wear the white dress.

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