Who Will Wear the Red Shoes?

It’s hard to say who will wear the red shoes that Pope Benedict XVI literally walked out of. Tuesday, March 12 starts the first day of the conclave where 115 elector cardinals will begin the process of electing a new pope behind closed and tightly secured doors of the Sistine Chapel. While Pope Benedict will not take part in the selection of the new pontiff, he did lay down some strict rules. If any of the cardinals violate the confidentiality of the conclave, the penalty is excommunication. This is so like Pope Benedict as he was Pope John Paul II enforcer.

Pope Benedict resigned effective February 28, 2013. He is the first pope in 600 years that has not lived out his life as a sitting pontiff. Pope Benedict gave his reason for resigning as his poor health and the desire to leave the church with someone better able to stand the strenuous schedule a pope keeps. I am of the opinion that Pope Benedict is a man of great humility and understands himself and the situation of the church very well. The Church does have its problems, the sexual abuse and the Vatican bank scandal to name two. These are challenges the new pope will have to face.


A helicopter ride took Pope Benedict to his retirement place, Castle Gandolfo, where he delivered his last public speech and most probably his last public appearance as he has said that he would not interfere when the new pope is elected.

First we must understand that the new pope will be human. There has been so much speculation from political pundits that are plain ridiculous. The new pope will never, I repeat, he will never be anything but Pro Life. He will never embrace same sex marriage, euthanasia, cloning, or any thing that would hurt the family. Morality does not change and that is the wonder of the Catholic Church. The Church brings strength, stability and moral courage to a chaotic world.

What we might expect is a pope who will be a leader of the 1.5 Billion Roman Catholics worldwide. It is reported that the third world countries account for the largest growth in Catholicism. The cardinals are looking for someone who will be spiritual as well as a theologian, and an organizer in the Vatican. I doubt if one man can fit all these areas. But then again miracles do happen. It seems that most everything is political, and even if not divided by political party, there are those who want to reform the Roman Curia, which is the Vatican government and those who want a traditional pope.

Leading contenders are Archbishop Angelo Scola from Milan, Cardinal Odilo Scherer from Brazil and two American Cardinals, Timothy Dolan and Sean O’Malley. Don’t hold your breath for an American Pope because I am not. Even though it might be time for a Cardinal from a Latin American country, I still think that tradition is strong among the Italian cardinals and that it will be a European pope. But let’s wait and see.

We must not only pray for Pope Benedict XVI but for the cardinals as they weigh their decision for a new pope. Wonder what name the new pope will take? Black smoke, no pope selected. White smoke, we have a pope!




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