Santa Marta, praying, I hope. They can’t carry in their cell-phones or computers. No, newspapers, either. What they must do is listen to the Holy Spirit and read their own souls.
The conclave begins on Tuesday.
Several of them, the papabili (the front-runners) will be having an anxious night. “Will it be me, Lord?” It’s likely that one of the frontrunners will be elected pope by Wednesday.
Then, again, maybe not.
If the cardinals spread most their votes among five or six papabili but not one of them is acceptable to two-thirds of the voting body, then one of the dark horses will come trotting up: a third world cardinal, possibly. Or, it could be someone who seemed to come out of nowhere and garner interest among the electors.Then, the conclave could stretch out for a week or more before a new pope is selected.
At the last conclave, Joseph Ratzinger was the front-runner from the get-go. It wasn’t a surprise to hear that he had been elected pope, at least it wasn’t for me. This time, there doesn’t seem to be a wonder-horse- –lots of thoroughbreds, but not a celebrated, tried and true winner. I think the field is wide-open.
This is good for the Church because then the cardinals will widen their perspectives: the Holy Father doesn’t have to be european. He doesn’t have to be white. He doesn’t have to be really old, just seasoned and mature. He does have to be pastoral, a competent administrator and a pope to lead us into an age of new evangelization.
Monday night, behind the walls of Vatican City, there may be one cardinal who is sleeping well, dreaming peaceful dreams and not aware that the Holy Spirit will fire-up the souls of his brother cardinals to choose him to lead the Church into a new age.
Here they come, spinning into the turn!