Monday, March 11, 2013

Bold Projection #3—The Pope Will Be Catholic

You can take this last one to the bank. What? Did you think I was going to predict which Cardinal was going to be chosen? How on earth should I know? Really, look at the list of papabili; your guess is as good as mine.

A number of things give me comfort concerning the imminent conclave, but I will list just three of them:

1. The fidelity of the Lord, who made the promise:

“I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt. 16:18-19).

“...and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt. 28:20).

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you (ὑμᾶς) [i.e., the twelve], that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you (σοῦ) [i.e., Simon] that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren” (Lk 22:31-32).

“I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

2. The transformation of Peter in the Holy Spirit of Pentecost in Acts:

“Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them...” (Acts 2:1 ff).

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said ...” (Acts 4:8)

This was the same apostle who fled to weep bitterly after having denied Jesus. Because the sanctification of the Church through Peter is accomplished in the Holy Spirit, we have nothing to fear.

Peter himself of all Jesus’ disciples might not have been a papabile in his own conclave (had there been conclaves at the time)—strengths: zeal, faith; weaknesses: denied Jesus three times, simple fisherman, puts foot in mouth at times, not on Twitter. What I am saying is that a perceived weak candidate could be selected and God will use his weaknesses for the strength of the body, that is, the Church.

No matter who walks out on the balcony over the next week or more, Catholics know this in their faith-filled hearts. After all, who needs God if a candidate with no weaknesses emerges to lead the Church on his own? He will be weak. He will be a "sinful man" (Lk 5:8), but he will also be a holy man. The media have yet to learn this, and so will focus upon the man’s weaknesses (which, by the way, they hope to manipulate and exploit), but in the power and majesty of our God, who is faithful and true to his promises, we may be assured of the stability and strength of the Church, led by Peter under the patronage of Our Lady.

3. Pope emeritus Benedict XVI knew this truth, and so he said the following, which should give us all comfort: “And among you, in the College of Cardinals, there is also the future pope to whom today I promise my unconditional reverence and obedience.” Among his last messages to us is the message of the peace of reverence and obedience to the Holy Father, to whom even Pope Benedict subjects himself.

The Pope will be Catholic, that is, orthodox.

The next pope, whoever he may be, will be Peter. He will be orthodox; it’s the guarantee of Jesus. Peter passes on the truth of the faith—it’s the divinely sealed guarantee of Pentecost. Really, who knows what name he will choose or where he will be from? This, however, is one projection you can take to the bank.

John Paul II: "Be not afraid!"  Benedict XVI: "Follow me."  As the shepherd who stands in the place of the Shepherd addresses the sheep, we need not fear. We will recognize the voice of the one who has called us, to whom we must answer.