SUNDAY UPDATE: Don't forget to "spring ahead" or you will show up in court tomorrow an hour late (or just when your favourite robed reader ambles on the bench).
The College of Cardinals in the Vatican have set next Tuesday to begin their conclave to select the new Pope. "Conclave" means "with key" and the Cardinals will be locked in the Sistine Chapel to begin deliberations for the new Pope. The Conclave will begin with the traditional words "Extra Omnes" ("everybody out!"). Prior to the Conclave the Cardinals will hear two sermons that are supposed to deal with the state of the Church. On Tuesday morning the Cardinals will first gather in Saint Peter's Basilica to celebrate the Eucharist. In the afternoon the Cardinals will then gather in the Pauline Chapel in the Palace of the Vatican before they move in procession to the Sistine Chapel while singing "Veni Creator Spiritus" ("Miami has the Dolphins, the greatest football team....")
The Cardinal Camerlengo (the Chamberlin) takes possession of the Pope's Ring of the Fisherman and the Papal seal and destroys both before the College Of Cardinals. In earlier times the Cardinal Camerlengo would gently strike the head of the dead pope three times with a silver hammer to prove to the College that the Pope was dead.
More on procedure next Tuesday.
Our predictions: If the next Pope is Italian, Angelo Scola (no relation to our federal judge Bob as far as we know) who is the Archibishop of Milan is a dynamic choice. Eight years ago he was one of the principal contenders. Con: he is 71 and the Cardinals are looking for a Pope in his early 60's. His time may have passed.
The first black Pope could well be Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of Ghana. He is the perfect age at 63. He is considered a leader among the College of Cardinals and is an excellent communicator. Africa (along with South America) is quickly overtaking the Euro-Centric Catholic Church. Con: Africa is seen as more disconnected from the Church then South America. But Cardinal Turkson is a legitimate superstar among the Cardinals and is well liked and greatly admired.
The first Pope from Latin America was almost Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who was probably the runner up in 2005. But at age 75 he might well be viewed as having missed his chance.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet from Canada is a strong choice. He is a humble man who speaks English, French, Italian, German, Portuguese and Spanish fluently. Ouellet is the obvious choice of the new "Global" church. Con: There is no "hockey night" in the Vatican.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of the Philippines would be the first Asian Pope. He is 55 years old and has over 123,000 "likes" on Facebook, making him the most active Papal Candidate on social media. Con: 55 is seen as a bit too young.
Long shot: New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who has a radio show on the Sirius satellite network could be the first American Pope. Pros: Dolan is a dyed in the wool conservative Catholic Cardinal cut from the same philosophical cloth as the former and now retired Pope. Cons: If the College is going to pick a Pope from North America, Dolan loses out to Canadian Ouellet every time.
Beautiful weather "forced" us to take the day off Friday. Enjoy your spring weekend and don't forget to "spring ahead" your clocks on Sunday. Yup folks, we lose an hour of sleep this weekend.
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