Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A crazy idea -- or maybe not?

In thinking about who might become Pope, a crazy idea popped into my head tonight. Or maybe it's not so crazy!

Last November Pope Benedict held a consistory appointing 6 new cardinals. It surprised veteran Vatican watchers, who were not expecting it. What if Benedict, knowing he would soon resign, appointed someone he hoped might be his successor?

All the cardinals were non-Europeans.The Pope said that this shows that the Church is for "all peoples, speaks in every language... It is always the Church of Pentecost, not the Church of one continent, but of the universal Church."

The universal Church. The Church not only of the West, but of the East. So here's the crazy idea: what if the next pope were not of the Latin rite, but of an Eastern rite?  Now that would really shock the world! And what Benedict said about the Church of Pentecost is provocative. Only the Holy Spirit would inspire this.

The Church of Pentecost is the Church of unity, and while we in the West may think mainly of the split between Catholics and Protestants, the deeper breach in unity occurred with the great schism between East and West. The healing of that schism would truly be the work of the Holy Spirit.

So while this may really be a crazy idea, what if the next pope turned out to be the newly-appointed Maronite rite Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi of Lebanon? After all the startling things that have happened with the papacy recently, I wouldn't really be surprised. The Holy Spirit has done things even more shocking.

The next Pope?

Update: Someone told me the meaning of the Cardinal's name:

Bechara      "Good news" or "Annunciation"
Boutros         Peter  (!) Actually, all the Maronite patriarchs take this name
                     because Peter was head of the church at Antioch
Rahi              "Shepherd"

So, "The Annunciation of Peter the shepherd" -- how perfect is that?

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