Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Bet Is On

Who do you see as the next pope? What are the chances? Look who’s betting?

Nobody seems to be complaining and no one seems to mind this lottery on the most crucial question being resolved now in the whole catholic world, and perhaps in the entirety of worldly issues.

Nope. I am not the one to complain. Betting is never seen as a virtue yet I say maybe this time, we can’t be too tight-assed on this. A little fun wouldn’t hurt I guess. For once there, I thought I was expecting an official statement from the Holy See, invoking everyone to stop these foolish things—these widespread betting on who would be the next main man in the Vatican City.

Days ago, Francis Arinze was the in the surprise lead among bettors in Great Britain. The cardinal from Nigeria might just usher in a new age in Catholicism, towards more openness and human equality. Although, I thought the world is yet unprepared to embrace a black pope. But who, knows. We might just be in for a historic moment.

As the conclave is about to start, Germany’s Joseph Ratzinger is now heavily favored, unlike say, five days ago. This must be the result of him being in the forefront of the process to choose the pope, as he had officiated in almost every important mass in Rome in the days immediately after the death of John Paul II. Well, it is really not a surprise to see him as a big favorite since he is just too well known among the priesthood all over world, being the Dean of the College of Cardinal, and the foremost adviser of the late John Paul II when the latter was still alive. In short, he is an insider and one who knows the in and outs of the Vatican so well.

Yet, nothing is sure yet. Cardinal Ratzinger himself had voiced out that he didn’t desire the papal job because for one, he is already too old at 74, knowing it as a very great burden and responsibility. And there is this hidden rule in the history of the papal conclave that the early favorites are always not chosen. John Paul II himself was a surprise winner of the conclave in 1978.

Ratzinger may be too old but he is a very good and intelligent priest and he may just be right for a short papacy, a sort of bridging the gap period. But he says he doesn’t want the job. Whatever.
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