Sunday, January 2, 2005

Cardinal Ratzinger - The Next Pope?

Nothing like the speculation of Time Magazine to boost the usually meager hits on the counter of the Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club (Rome's Next Choice?, January 2, 2005):

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the chief architect of Pope John Paul II's traditionalist moral policy, has long been a bugaboo for liberal Catholics. But they had stopped worrying that the German might one day ascend to St. Peter's throne. His hard-line views and blunt approach had earned him the epithet of panzerkardinal and too many enemies. Well, their worrying may now resume. Sources in Rome tell TIME that Ratzinger has re-emerged as the top papal candidate within the Vatican hierarchy, joining other front runners such as Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan and Claudio Hummes of Sao Paolo. "The Ratzinger solution is definitely on," said a well-placed Vatican insider.

I'm a little bit skeptical, to say the least. Cardinal Ratzinger is reported to have twice handed in his resignation as Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, "only to be asked by the Pope to stay on" (source). I can't lay claim to inside sources from the Vatican, but I suspect that if the Cardinal had his druthers, he'd like to retire in peace, spending his waning years writing theology texts, playing the piano, enjoying the solitude of the Bavarian Alps.

Meanwhile, the Cardinal had previously given his preference that the next Pope "be from Africa", which was interpreted as a support for Cardinal Arinze. Who, I agree, would also be ideal given his firsthand experience dealing with Islam, the liturgy (he currently heads Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments) and interreligious relations (former head of Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue) -- good experience to have, especially in this era.

If called to serve the Church in yet another capacity, I'm sure Ratzinger would be up to the task, and I'd personally be delighted by the election of either Cardinal to the office, but I try not to speculate too much. I trust the Holy Spirit to guide our Cardinals in their decision.

Hat tip: Bill Cork.

  • "Who's Your Papa?", good commentary from Fr. Stephen Hamilton ("Catholic Ragemonkey") on this.

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