Historic conclave at the Vatican

The 117 cardinals eligible to vote in the papal election have assembled at the Vatican.

Their average age is 71, and, of course (why? might a child candidly ask), all of them are men. Most of them are white. None is married. And 28 of them are members of the Roman Curia, the head office of the Catholic Church.

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Where do they come from? 58 from Europe, 42 from America, 11 from Africa, 11 from Asia and 2 from Oceania. In terms of individual countries, 20 are from Italy, 11 from the US, 6 from Spain, 6 from Germany, 5 from France, 4 from Brazil, 4 from Mexico, 3 from Canada.

In short, a group of old unmarried men, mostly white, of whom a quarter are based in the Vatican, are going to elect the supposedly infallible head of the world’s most influential religion and oldest multinational organisation with over two billion followers.

If you consider things with a little bit of detachment, this is utterly amazing.

And who are the three favourites according to informed insiders? Angelo Scola, 71, from Italy, Archbishop of Milan, doctrinal conservative. Odilo Scherer, 63, from Brazil, Archbishop of Sao Polo, doctrinal conservative. Marc Ouellet, from Canada, head of the Vatican’s office for Bishops, doctrinal conservative.

No need to dwell on the controversies regarding the handling/cover up of paedophilia in the Church, or the rumours of furious infighting and corruption in the Vatican bureaucracy. We’ll see what surprises these issues still have to deliver.

I have great compassion for the many honest rank and file Catholics, as I have great compassion for honest followers of all religions. But, clearly, they would be well advised not to expect useful spiritual guidance from the power hungry crew who “lead” them.

Fear not, seek spiritual guidance from your Invisible Partner.

Leo

Copyright © Leo Foresta 2013

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