The conclave to select the next pope is over and, as always, it was quite an amusing affair. We’ve got pomp and circumstance, lots of funny hats, social media blackouts and high-tech sweeps for listening devices in the Sistine Chapel. And lots of political maneuvering:
In Catholic theology, as in the popular imagination, the closed-door conclave to elect a new pope is supposed to be guided by the Holy Spirit.
There’s no horse-trading or lobbying, no insider deal-making or outside influences allowed. Just red-robed cardinals solemnly entering the Sistine Chapel, accompanied only by prayers and their consciences, sitting beneath Michelangelo’s fresco of the Last Judgment and discerning God’s will on who should be the next successor to St. Peter.
The true Catholic believers, of course, think this is all irrelevant because the Holy Spirit is in charge of the whole thing:
The decision of who will be our next Pope must and will be decided by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit alone. All the other media noise and chatter must be silenced so they Spirit can do it’s work and be the only influencing factor in the decision.
If the Holy Spirit is the one who really decides who will be the next pope, and the men (only men, of course) who vote on it all think they’re being guided by the Holy Spirit, shouldn’t the vote be unanimous? Or are some of the cardinals lying or delusional when they claim that the Holy Spirit talks to them? And how can one tell that the Holy Spirit is influencing the events when they look absolutely indistinguishable from how they would look if there was no Holy Spirit at all?