The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Who will elect the new Pope?

Who's Who in the Sistine Chapel. 115 of the Church's Cardinals are expected to take part in the conclave that will elect our next Holy Father. Over the next few weeks, these men will be at the center of the news out of Rome. As the preparations for the conclave continue, we will learn about a few of these men -- specifically, the papabili, or those whom the "experts" believe to be the most likely candidates. I suspect, however, that most Catholics can name only a few of them. But if you click on this link -- Who's Who of the New Pope's Electors -- you will find a nice overview that lists each Cardinal by name, assignment, religious order if applicable, and nationality. It also includes his year of birth and the pope who made him a Cardinal.
Cardinals gather in the Sistine Chapel
Did you know, for example, that of the 115 electors, more than half -- 60 to be exact -- are Europeans? Of the others, 11 come from the United States, 19 from Latin America, three from Canada, 11 from Africa, 10 from Asia, and one from Australia. Of the total 67 were made Cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI and 48 by Pope John Paul II. All very interesting

By the way, should you want to dig a little deeper, you can check out this in-depth website which explores the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, past and present: Catholic Hierarchy.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias (Mumbai)
Adopt a Cardinal. I would hope, however, that your interest in the upcoming proceedings in the Vatican stems less from mere curiosity and more from a desire that these 115 men will be moved by the Holy Spirit to accept God's holy will and act accordingly. And the best way for the faithful to take an active part in this process is through our prayers. To encourage this, one website calls on each of us to adopt a Cardinal to "support through your prayer and intercession during the coming weeks before and during the conclave and for three days following the election" of our next Pope. What a terrific idea! At the time I write this, 265,961 people have already chosen to adopt a Cardinal who is assigned randomly to you when you go to the website and click on the "adopt" button. Check it out here: Adopt a Cardinal.

My Cardinal (I've already become very possessive) is Oswald Gracias of Bombay (Mumbai) India. Interestingly, we are the same age (I'm actually 3 months older than His Eminence who was born on Christmas Eve.), but he's much better looking. I've included his photo above.

I hope all my readers -- all ten of you -- will go to this site and adopt a Cardinal of your own.

Pray for our One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

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