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Post  simple Faith on Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:21 pm

Just thinking out loud again. Does the Pope have the power to appoint his own replacement before he retires (without a conclave) or could he change Church law to make this possibe?
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Post  simple Faith on Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:07 pm

This might answer my question:

"It has sometimes been said that in the earlier ages popes have appointed their successors in the pontificate. Thus, St. Peter is said to have so chosen Clement I. The authority on which the statement rests is now generally acknowledged to be apocryphal. Boniface II chose Vigilius for his successor in 531, but later repented and publicly withdrew the nomination. Baronius (H.E., ann. 1085, 1087) states that Gregory VII in 1085 elected Victor III as his successor; that Victor in like manner chose Urban II in 1086, and Urban elected Paschal II in 1099. It is to be noted that the canon "Si Transitus" in the "Corpus Juris" (can. "Si Tranc.", 10, dist. 70) seems to imply the right of the pope to nominate his successor, since its opening words are: "If the death of the pope take place so unexpectedly that he cannot make a decree concerning the election of his successor, etc.". However, these so-called elections were never more than nominations, for none of the persons thus named ever presumed to declare themselves popes before the ratification of the legal electors had been obtained.

It is certain at present, that, according to ecclesiastical law (c. "Episcopo", 3; c. "Plerique", 5; can. "Moyses", 6, caus. 8, Q. 1), the pope cannot elect his successor. It is commonly held also that he is prohibited from doing so by Divine law, though the contrary has also been held by canonists." (

However, just to thicken the plot, I'm now wondering, could the conclave re-elect Benedict?????? Well after all we've discussed crazier ideas here. tongue
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Post  MRyan on Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:33 pm

simple Faith wrote:
However, just to thicken the plot, I'm now wondering, could the conclave re-elect Benedict?????? Well after all we've discussed crazier ideas here. tongue
That's for sure!

Once the Pope resumes being Cardinal Ratzinger, his abdication (before God) should prevent him from being re-elected by the very fact that he cannot resume the papacy without his consent. His will in this matter is quite clear.

If, however, the Church were in such dire conditions that the Cardinal electors insisted that Cardinal Ratzinger is the only Prince of the Church who can steer the Ark out of danger, they might convince him that he is bound by conscience to accept and govern until he dies (under a new name), but the chances of this happening are slim and none.

It would be a cruel joke to play on the poor Cardinal whose health, by some reports, is deteriorating rapidly.

Its an interesting thought, though; and I wonder if not a few Cardinals have at least pondered the possibility.

I understand Cardinal Mahoney will be attending the conclave. Something tells me he won't be voting for Cardinal Raztinger.

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Post  George Brenner on Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:36 pm

The information below was sent to me from David Rodriquez( father Michael's brother)
He must have spent an incredible amount of time preparing this.

Someone asked me how the pope is elected and what is going to happen in the next few weeks. I responded with a brief email which I figured would be appropriate to share with everyone:

A conclave will be held at the Vatican. This means that all the cardinals of the world gather in Rome to vote one amongst their group to be the new pope. Someone asked me if a particular bishop would become pope and that is not a possibility, as the next pope currently must be a cardinal. There are also certain limits set by current Church law (this law can vary and has varied, and is determined by the pope). For example, only cardinals who are under 80 when the holy Father dies (resigns) are eligible to attend the conclave and vote. Also, there is a maximum number of 120 cardinal electors. This is the current law which was set by Pope Benedict. I believe JP2 may have changed the rules to allow more electors, but Benedict returned it to this number. A candidate will need 2/3 of the vote in order to become Pope. Again, I think JP2 lowered it to 51% but Benedict changed it back to the 2/3 number it had been in the past.

The actual formal proceedings normally take place in the Sistine Chapel. It is my understanding, that once they arrive in Rome and gather for the conclave, they do sequester themselves. Each receives a small cell (room) in the Vatican and their activities are quite restricted. (I believe they are not to leave the Vatican). They are also not to have contact with the outside world (other bishops, priests, laity, media, etc). The decision of the new pope is of vital importance and so they must be fully dedicated to it with no other distractions or commitments and no external influences. As a group they must persevere in this sacred task until a decision is reached. They are to pray, discuss and vote until finally at some point a vote with a 2/3 majority is achieved. Sometimes it just takes a few days, but it has also been known to take weeks. During this time, they are to live a kind of penitential life: no entertainments, luxuries, nothing of the world and the flesh, simple meager meals, etc. It is time of prayer, fasting, and penance for them. On the supernatural level this is obviously to make them more receptive and docile to the will of the Holy Ghost. On the natural level, this also adds pressure on them to make a decision with as little delay as possible. In centuries past, the cardinals were not forced into these penitential measures, and so at times they had been known to enjoy a "good life" in Rome and take their sweet time about electing a pope. Hence the procedures were changed to try and prevent such delays that ultimately really hurt the Church. (At least this is supposed to be taking places and this is what I have read. I do not know for certain as I have never spoken to a Cardinal who assisted at a conclave. Moreover, the whole process is shrouded in a fair amount of secrecy, so few really know what is taking place behind the Vatican walls).

Every time a vote is taken, smoke is released from the Sistine Chapel (the burned votes). If the smoke is black, the 2/3 vote was not gathered and there will have to be another vote. Finally, on one occasion the smoke emitted is white - that indicates to the world that we have a new pope. The Cardinal overseeing the proceedings then steps out onto a famous balcony of St. Peter's and announces "Habemus Papam" (we have a Pope). He tells us who he is and the new papal name which the pope-elect has selected. Then the new Pope comes out, gives his first papal blessing and a few words. Soon after, a Solemn High Mass is held in which he is officially enthroned as Pope of the Catholic Church.

24-7 Prayer vigils are often held outside St. Peter's by the faithful until a new pope is elected as well.

Also, once the pope dies (resigns) all those in the Curia lose the authority that comes with their specific position. They receive their power and authority from the very person of the Holy Father. Thus with the death of the pope, formal Vatican decisions and actions grind to a halt - we have a sede vacante. The Chair of Peter is empty and with that all the Curial offices as well. I imagine they continue to do their regular jobs in the interim period, but by law, they may not execute orders and decisions. Once the new pope is selected, he may then reassign them (which he does with most of them) or he may put in his own selections in place. In order to prevent a lot of chaos the pope usually does leave nearly all of them in place and then gradually over time, if he wishes, he begins to replace the various curial positions. Here were are talking about positions like Secretary of State, Apostolic Signature, Nuncios, Prefects and Secretaries for the Congregations (for the Faith, for the Divine Worship & Sacraments, for Bishops, for Clergy, for Religious, etc.)

Usually there are a lot of things that precede the conclave which revolve about the mourning process for the deceased pope - all the funeral rites, Mass, processions, visitors to pay last respects, burial, etc... And then the conclave begins, but it will not be so in this case. Which is unusual. That is about all I know regarding this process. I am very glad to know that your children are interested in learning about this this and want to be praying for the pope! Keep it up! And if you have any questions feel free to email me back.

Some have asked me, "Who do you think will be the next Pope?" This is a question many ask and "experts" try to answer in the media. Some people even rank, and "give odds", as to a cardinals degree of "papabili" (papal material, or real papal candidates). I for one think this a rather futile exercise. People rarely guess correctly, and both of the past two popes have been great surprises. I expect this conclave to have similar surprising results. However, this does afford us an opportunity (and the interest) to get to know the Church's cardinals a little better and become more familiar with certain names.

For those who have interested I have compiled a long list of commonly named papabili. (Warning - this is long) Facts are in black, my own comments are in blue, and please realize that my comments are only my opinions based on the minimal knowledge I have, which could even be false. These days it is very hard for laymen (and even priests) to know with much certitude what is taking place within the Vatican Curia.

Here is a listing of all the Cardinals who will vote:

Here is a listing of those Cardinals who will note vote because they are over 80:

Fortunately, among those will not vote is the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano. In my own opinion and from what I have read he is one of the worst Cardinals responsible for much of the chaos in the Vatican. As Secretary of State under JP2, he was the second post powerful churchman, but some say he wielded even more power than the pope. He created many obstacles for JP2 and gave even more strenuous opposition to Pope Benedict. He even refused to yield his office when Benedict wished to replace him causing an international scandal. In the documents released by the Vatileaks, much evidence was presented to the many machinations he used to oppose Benedict. He also was a key player in the effort to suppress the message of Fatima and device the world into thinking Fatima is no longer applicable to today and that Russia has been consecrated. Clearly, he is one of the wolves surrounding Benedict. As Dean of the College, he will oversee the proceedings of the conclave.

So now here are a few names that have been mentioned by many in recent days:

Cardinal Marc Ouellet (68 years old). This Canadian prelate has had pastoral experience as a bishop, first in Acropolis, then in Quebec. He has also served two stints in the Curia. John Paul II had entrusted to him responsibility for the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, where he was in charge of the dialogue with the Protestants and the Orthodox, but also with the Jews.
In 2010 Benedict XVI called him back to Rome to entrust to him the Presidency of the Congregation for Bishops. The retiring pope had also entrusted to him the Presidency of the Commission for Latin America.

The faithful from El Paso have sent him many letters requesting a holy bishop here in our Diocese and Las Cruces. It seems clear that since he became the head of that Congregation, (and Vigano the Nunico), better bishops have been named in the USA (better than in the past, that is, this is all comparative). A few individuals who know more of the inner workings of the Vatican have told me he is one of the best Cardinals, and his election to the Papacy might be the best we could naturally hope for. While there may be other cardinals more favorable to tradition then he, out of those who seem to have a reasonable chance of being elected, he is probably the one who will favor tradition the most.

Cardinal Angelo Scola (71), appointed Archbishop of Milan in 2012 by Benedict XVI, while he was Patriarch of Venice. According to Jean-Marie Guenois, a journalist who writes for Le Figaro:
Angelo Scola’s experience is not as extensive as that of Marc Ouellet, but he is a leader, a great organizer, as well as an intellectual who was once Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University.

I do not know too much about him. I do know that he replaced Cardinal Tettamanzi, who was perhaps the worst and most liberal Cardinal in Europe (surely in Italy). He was opposed by the extreme liberals that supported Tettamanzi. He has also been more favorable than his predecessor towards the Ambroisan rite, which can only be celebrated in Milan and has a great affinity to the Traditional Roman Rite.

He attracted notice in Venice by returning to that city’s great tradition of relations with the East and the Arab world, by creating an international research foundation, Oasis. He is the Italian candidate, even though he does not have unanimous support among the cardinals of his country because of his spiritual affiliation with the Communion and Liberation movement. This movement began as an anti-Marxist group, but I do not know what orientation it has these days. I have to assume it is still on the positive side of the various groups that have multiplied in the Church this past century.

Cardinal Mauro Piacenza (67), a “rather conservative” prelate from Genoa, according to Jean-Marie Guenois:
who knows the Curia very well from inside since he was Secretary, then Prefect, of the Congregation for the Clergy. Inside sources have also told us that he is "one of the good guys" in the Vatican. But again, one never knows. You see, sadly, he oversees the Congregation that twice did not provide a favorable decision in Fr. Rodriguez's case. It seems that without really looking at the case carefully, they simply sided with Bishop Ochoa. However, one never knows the role he actually played in that process. But clearly he was aware of it, and his signature was on the second rejection of Father's plea.

He is little known but staunchly orthodox concerning the central role of the priest in the Catholic Church. He is a spiritual son of the late Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, who ordained him a priest and headed the “conservative” bloc during the 1978 conclave. Cardinal Siri was one of the best cardinals back at the time of Vatican II. He along with Cardinal Ottaviani, Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop DeCastro Mayer and others were some of the leaders within the group of International Fathers that tirelessly worked to resist all the modernist innovations. Cardinal Siri was almost elected Pope both in 1958 and in 1968. He himself has claimed that many underhanded things took place in both of those conclaves, but on account of the oath of secrecy each participant must make, Cardinal Siri never gave any details. Some people doubt this is a true quote by him. Others claim he was elected Pope and the underhanded machinations stripped him of the office before it was announced publicly. He passed away in 1989. If Cardinal Piacenza truly is the "spiritual son" of Cardinal Siri (which seems plausible) then he would probably be one of the few Italians that would be somewhat more favorable towards the recovery and restoration of tradition.
Others have mentioned also the name of Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, Archbishop of Vienna (68), a disciple of John Paul II, who commended to the Dominican friar the task of coordinating and editing the Catechism of the Catholic Church. However, I think this would be disastrous for the Church. He is clearly a more liberal cardinal. He recently opposed one of his Austrian priests for refusing to allow a openly sodomite layman to serve on the parish council. Cardinal Schonbron reversed the decision of the parish priest. Benedict even inquired into these unusual activities and was not pleased with this intervention by Schonbron. Those who have ever to my classes, also know that there are serious deficiencies in the new Catechism which he oversaw. He has allowed some of the worst liturgies to take place in his archdiocese, including a Mass outside where people are smoking, drinking bear and eating sausage during the Mass at picnic tables, and the proceeding to receive Holy Communion in a most irreverent manner. You can actually see a video of this Mass led by a priest without clerics on youtube. Many people wrote to the Cardinal asking him to stop this abomination but it has continued.

Other have spoken of Cardinal Robert Sarah (67), former Archbishop of Conakry in Guinea, appointed Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in 2001, and chosen by Benedict XVI in 2010 to preside over the Pontifical Council Cor unum, which coordinates all the humanitarian projects of the Church. I know nothing about him. For years now there has been talk that the "modern Church" needs a non-European pope and so always some Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans are mentioned. First the talk was about a non-Italian pope, now it has morphed into non-European. I do not know how likely this is. But it seems he is the most likely candidate out of the Africans.

The only other one I know of is Cardinal Arinze (81). He however is VERY doubtful because of his age and he can not vote. He was the Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Sacraments under JP2 and Benedict, but has since retired. He will however, vote at the conclave. While many 'conservative' Catholics avidly supported him (I did too for a time), I was very disappointed by him back in 2008. I went to a talk he gave in Dallas and was given the opportunity to go before the microphone and ask him a question. I of course wanted to have him give public support before the general audience to the Traditional Latin Mass and formulated my question accordingly. He however did not really answer my question and spoke favorably about inculturation (like a practiced politician) and then concluded by speaking quite pejoratively of the Traditional Latin Mass, and in a certain way even chastising my question. Thus, I realized even though he might be "conservative" by some circles, he really would not favor tradition.

Another one mentioned by many is Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone (78). He is the current Secretary of State, the second most powerful man in Rome. Many believe that he has taken over nearly all operations in the Vatican as Benedict has aged, and speculate that this may even be the reason Pope Benedict has chose to resign: to curtail his grab for power. He is doubtful on account of his age, but he clearly knows how to play the political game and is quite savy in accomplishing his own will. It seems one of the best Bishops in Germany (one of the few who is still Catholic) encouraged Pope Benedict to remove Bertone from his high office but Benedict was unwilling (or unable). Bertone was probably the most influential man in trying to cover up all the Vatican dissimulation regarding Fatima and he has been instrumental in hiding the truth about Fatima. Many say he was Sodano's right hand man. But others say the two had a falling out and both struggled for supreme power in the Vatican in their mutual opposition to Benedict. He too is implicated as one of Benedict's fiercest opponents in the Vatileak documents, yet absolutely nothing has happened to him and he remains a the height of his power. Benedict's bulter explained that one reason he leaked all the documents was so that Bertone could be stopped, but it seems the wily Cardinal was able to evade any chastisements. It seems clear to me that he too is one of the biggest wolves. Were he to become Pope I think we would be in for some very dangerous times in unprecedented severity and swiftness.

A few Latin Americans are often mentioned among the papabili to make the list more complete. The most common names I have heard are Cardinal Leonardi Sandri (69) from Argentina. He is of Italian descent and has spent many years working in the Curia and learning its inner workings. Many think he could appease the Europeans (as he is pratically Italian they say) and also the desire for a "global" pope who unites the First and Third worlds. He appears to be a good administrator who is liked by everyone. He however seems to have very close ties with Sodano, may have been involved in financial scandals, and seems to have helped cover up the great scandal surrounding Fr. Maciel, the founder of the Legionaires. So as I see it, his election would not help improve the situation in the Church. Moreover, at this point in time in the Church's history, few of the Latin American high ranking prelates are not modernists seeped in Liberation Theology. Another one is Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga (68) who has headed the Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa (Honduras) since 1993. Considered a leading Latin American candidate in 2005, he has been an energetic pastor at home and an influential voice on social issues in the international arena. I know very little about him. Vatican sources, have also sometimes mentioned another Latin American, 67-year-old Cardinal Juan Cipriani Thorne. He is a member of Opus Dei, which exerts a fair amount of influence, has a lot of wealth and prestige, and is a curious (read here - dangerous) mix of modernism and conservative orthodoxy. This could make him a compromise candidate for many, who could yield a lot of schitzophrenic mixed effects and results in the Papal Office. He is a former basketball star and obtained an engineering degree before becoming a priest. As archbishop of Lima, one of Latin America's biggest dioceses, he is viewed as man who has amplified the church's voice in political affairs. He has recently cracked down on the University in Lima which used to be Catholic and Pontifical. But he has stripped them of their title (just this past year) of being Catholic and teaching theology because of how heretical they had become. This has been in the news lately, and it seems he has even come into conflict with the recently appointed head of the CDF, Archbishop Gerhard Muller (who thankfully is not a Cardinal). Cardinal Claudio Hummes (79), Bishop Emeritus of Sao Paolo Brazil, is often mentioned too. His name has been out there for a long time now. His age makes him doubtful and he is one of the ardent modernist and liberation theology prelates of South America.

Cardinal Schonborn
Cardinal Sarah

Alongside these cardinals, who are on almost all the lists of papabili drawn up by the Vatican-watchers, some journalists do not hesitate to place a name that would cause much surprise, that of Cardinal Albert Ranjith (65), Archbishop of Colombo in Sri Lanka. As La Libre Belgique remarks, his election “would imply a swift return to a more traditional liturgy”.
Indeed, between 2005 and 2009, he worked in the Congregation for Divine Worship on the implementation of the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, which allowed more liberal use of the traditional Mass.

I have read some sources that say Pope Benedict has included him in his list of 'papabili'. In his Diocese he has outlawed the reception of Communion in the hand and has advocated that this become the universal policy of the Church again and enforced accordingly. Rumor even had it that if it were not such a public issue, he would have liked to have sent his seminarians to an SSPX seminary because he knows they would get a better formation there. He has offered the Traditional Latin Mass and would clearly help further the recovery and restoration of our Catholic Faith. Years ago when Fr. Rodriguez traveled to Rome and Cardinal Ranjith was working in the Curia, he got to personally meet him and speak to him for about an hour. Fr. Rodríguez was duly impressed. Thus, in my own opinion, he would be the absolute best choice to become our next pope. However, I think it is very doubtful as he is too strong, too orthodox, and thus opposed by too many. Rumor also has it that forces within the Curia forced Benedict's hand and made Ranjith leave Rome and return to Sri Lanka. They did not like all the good he was doing. If that is true, I am sure those same forces (wolves) would be completely opposed to him becoming Pope. But you never know what the Holy Ghost might do...

The American Cardinals all have a very very little chance of being elected. I would be extremely surprised if one of them were made Pope, but just so we can be more familiar with the names of our own nation's cardinals, I list them here:

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke - Previously of St. Louis, now heading the Apostolic Signature in Rome, I think clearly the best American cardinal

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo - Currently archbishop of Houston, TX - comparatively young and inexperienced

Cardinal Timothy Dolan - Currently archbishop of New York, NY - way too politically correct, perhaps the worst American candidate for the papacy of those being talked about as papabili Ameircans by the US Media. Realistically, his chance is slim to none.

Cardinal Francis George - Currently archbishop of Chicago, IL - at one time people said he was the most likely American candidate, but he has wanted to retire and is not in the best physical health now.

Cardinal Joseph Levada - now retired, was archbishop of San Francisco in decades past (very bad sign) and head of the CDF under Benedict

Cardinal Roger Mahoney - now retired, archbishop of Los Angeles. Probably no other single man is responsible for the utter devastation of the Catholic Church in this country and all along the West Coast. Many (correctly I think) believe he should be in jail. Many are outraged that he is even going to get to vote (I include myself in that number).

Cardinal Edwin O'Brien - For years he headed the Military Archdiocese, then he was made Archbishop of Baltimore, but he is now retired. Pope Benedict recently made him a cardinal and appointed Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley - Currently the archbishop of Boston, and overseeing the Catholic Church crumble in one of its strongest bastions in this country. He is closing many parishes and has not been too favorable towards the TLM there. Boston continues to be one of the worst dioceses in the USA.

Cardinal Justin Rigali - Archbishop of St. Louis then of Philadelphia. He is now retired.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl - Currently the archbishop of Washington DC. In my opinion, a weak modernist who has not helped the Catholic cause in our nation's capital amidst all our politicians. He even recently reprimanded a faithful priest who refused to give Holy Communion to a lesbian who made it a point to let him know of her stance. She raised a big media stink and Cardinal Wuerl expelled the priest from his diocese (back to Europe). Not a good sign at all...

I think it is most likely that the new pope will not even be one of the many names I have listed here, but these are the ones people are talking about.

We can speculate endlessly in this way, but it is best never to forget the oft-proven adage: “He who enters the conclave as papabili, leaves it a cardinal.”

Ad Iesum per Mariam,


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