George Wiegel makes some interesting points for what he considers three of the most pressing issues or our times that the Cardinal-electors will need to address in their selection of the new pope. And no they are definitely not the top three most bandied about topics. He also has some interesting commentary on both how diverse and how large this group of electors is and that this is a historical first.
Mark Shea has some cogent advice in his post "Ignore everything the media says about the succession" though I suspect this is preaching to the choir for most of my readers. He also has some commentary on the silliness of the media trying to break down the papal succession along racial lines. Most of what the media will have to say about the potential successors I dub Papabull (pronounced pah-PAH-bull.) Cardinal Arinze will only be a media darling as long as they don’t read what this brilliant man has written or listen to what he has said in the past. It would definitely be a case of "be careful what you wish for" in relation to the Main Stream Media. Mark also has a preference for Cdl. Schoenborn, though he doubts that will be the case. MSN had a fact file the other day that listed Cardinal Cristoph Schonborn as a liberal, which I found to be rather funny. He was the general editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which was truly a wonderful gift to the Church.
As for me I will make no guesses as to the next pope. I do not have all that much knowledge of all the Cardinal and definitely can not fathom how the various blocks will vote and what they will see as the primary qualifications for the next pope. I mainly only have some knowledge of the American cardinals who, perhaps thankfully, will not be in the running. I am somewhat familiar though no expert on the writings of Cardinals Schönborn, Ratzinger, and Arinze and am suitably impressed with calibers of their intellects and apparent holiness.
I have also heard much mention lately of the Holy Spirit guiding the selection of the next pope. This of course assumes that the Cardinal-electors will listen to such guidance and is no guarantee that they will act on it. Only the pope enjoys the charism of infallibility when teaching to the universal Church on faith and morals. As to the outcome I will take the advice of our late papa when he started by saying "Do Not Be Afraid!" The Church withstood my entrance into it and the gates of hell will never prevail against it. So I am not going to worry myself over some theologically progressive Cardinal getting becoming the pope.
I could almost wish in fact that one of these progressive Cardinals did in fact become our next pope. It would almost be worth it to see the reaction of progressives at the end of this pontificate when there are still no women priests, or acceptance of homosexual acts, contraception or abortion. The charism of infallibility is a negative ability in that it does not guarantee that the faith is taught in the most compelling and exact way, but it would at least prevent the before mentioned nonsense from being officially taught to the universal Church. There are some interesting case studies of what happened to popes that were about to teach error and died before they could or who had changed their minds on some theological subjects once they did indeed become pope.
Now some have been speculating about the cardinal who was secretly selected, in petto, and who his identity might be. Most have guessed that it was a Chinese bishop and that he is part of the underground Church there. Well the truth is it was me, yes that is Jeffrey Cardinal Miller – thank you very much. The Holy Father considered one more clown in the college of Cardinals was appropriate. As soon as I can find my Cardinal decoder ring as proof I will be heading off to Rome.