Archive for the ‘Black Smoke’ Tag

Non habemus papam…yet!

Black smoke! The results from the first vote of conclave are in, and no pope yet.  The cardinals rarely elect a new pope on the first vote, so the results aren’t all that surprising.  Of course, AP news decided to run the tagline, “Roman Catholic cardinals failed to agree on a new pope during the first day of the papal conclave.”  Who knew that thoughtful discernment could be considered a failure?

I am so fascinated by the press these days. About a week before Pope Benedict’s resignation, I was writing articles about the perceived decline of Catholicism and morality in our world. Today, “Pope” is trending on twitter, “black smoke” is one of the most frequently searched words on Google, and photos of the Vatican are splashed on every newspaper and website.  Every major news outlet featured a live stream of the chimney at the Sistine Chapel, cameras poised to capture the first wisps of smoke wafting from the chapel.

Perhaps my favorite part of this whole experience is the “papal predictions.”  We—as human people— just love to control everything. For this reason we have lists of the “20 cardinals most likely to be Pope,” and we have commentators pre-recording footage about several papal contenders just in case one of them is elected pontiff.  Here in Boston, Fox News 25 (which just over a week ago featured one of its morning personalities cracking distasteful jokes about Cardinal Law) is now recruiting Boston Catholics to talk about their personal experiences with Cardinal Seán O’Malley, who is seen by the media as one of the potential frontrunners in the papal race.

I love the intrigue and speculation that surrounds conclave. But I hope and pray that we remember that the Holy Spirit has always guided the Church and will continue to, especially in this exciting time.  As Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera from Mexico reminds us, “It’s not journalists that vote in the conclave. It’s cardinals.” A part of me hopes that the new pope will be someone that no one expected—though admittedly, I have my favorite papabili—I think it would be a neat reminder that we don’t have it all figured out. Only time (and the color of the smoke!) will tell.

Bob Rice

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