The conclave to select the new pope begins next week, perhaps as early as Monday. Apparently the pre-conclave meetings currently in progress are where the real politicking goes on, where informal chats take place and information and gossip is exchanged regarding the various possible candidates for the job, with subtle lobbying being part of the process.
I have little idea how the cardinals currently meeting in the Vatican go about deciding who the next pope should be. Do they think strategically, weighing where the church should be headed and what qualities the new leader needs to have to navigate the turbulent times the church is in? Do they weigh the geographical implications, whether to find someone from Latin America, Asia, and Africa where most of its members now are in order to boost further growth? Or do they find someone from Europe and North America where the church is in decline and Catholics are more openly defying church teachings and because that is where the money is and they need to try and stem the losses there? Or do they say to hell with all that and vote for the guy who runs the best campaign?
I suspect that it is the last. I get the impression that one becomes a cardinal by virtue of being good at manipulating the levers of internal politics of the Catholic hierarchy and the Vatican rather than because one is a deep thinker or particularly spiritual.
Meanwhile, a new Quinnipiac poll says that “American voter support for same-sex marriage is inching up and now stands at 47 – 43 percent, including 54 – 38 percent among Catholic voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.” The fact that Catholics are more supportive of same-sex marriage than the general population must be worrying.
The Daily Show provides an update on the goings on in the Vatican.
(This clip was aired on March 7, 2013. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)