Interesting post on the upcoming conclave by Hugh Hewitt:
The Roman Catholic Church has many mystical traditions, traditions which this Pope embraced, from Fatima to Sister Faustina and the dedication of Divine Mercy Sunday (read here Sister Faustina’ vision of Hell) in the last century back to the 16th century’s St. John of the Cross (John Paul II’s doctorate in theology was on the writings of this saint) and much much earlier. It is a very good bet that many of the Cardinals John Paul II appointed will share his understanding of the mysteries of Christianity and of the Church’s saints.
These Cardinals will have to be wondering about, and praying about, what the Holy Spirit intends them to do in conclave and why the pope has died at precisely this moment. The anti-Christians will scoff at the idea of God’s timing, but not the Cardinals, for whom God’s timing is a given. They will be fully informed of the circumstances of Terri Schiavo’s death, of the advance of the Groningen Protocol, the pressure under which many of the doctrines of Christianity find themselves, and of a variety of developments that are directly opposed to the Church’s doctrines on the sanctity of life. They are also fully aware of the radicalization of a segment of Islam and the aggressiveness of the PRC, but the central issue in international media in the week before John Paul’s death was Terri Schiavo’s fate, an issue on which the leadership of the Church in America and Rome was united. Those Cardinals who shared with John Paul II an appreciation for the complexity of the world’s path and of God’s plan for the world can be expected to try to discern the significance of the timing of the conclave.
I bring this up as a way of reminding people that Terri Schiavo’s suffering and the suffering of her family were not purposeless, and despite the crush of media surrounding the Pope’s death, also far from forgotten. Her fifteen year struggle culminated on the eve of the most momentous decision the Roman Catholic Church’s leadership can take, and illumens the significance of the next few weeks. If many Cardinals had the idea that a "caretaker" pope might be in order, the drama in Florida works against that desire for a period of calm transition. Would the allies have selected a caretaker general on the eve of D-Day had Ike suffered a mishap?
Is the idea of a "Schiavo effect" on the conclave just another American’s preoccupation with American issues projected onto the much broader and much more indifferent world? Perhaps, but I don’t think so precisely because on matters of science and ethics, on morals and sharp breaks with the past, the United States sets the tempo for much of the world. The Anglican Communion is near schism because of actions taken by its American branch. Marriage is under its heaviest assault in the United States. Embryonic stem cell research got billions from the California taxpayers last fall. Cloning isn’t illegal and the announcements of the technique’s march are often though not exclusively associated with American science. Assisted suicide is not just the barbaric practice of the ever more anti-humanist Dutch, but the law of Oregon. If the Cardinals want a glimpse of where the anti-humanists want to head, they need only search through the American papers. I am certain most of them do. Whether it is the death penalty debate or just war doctrine, the United States often makes the weather on issues of moral consequence.
The election of an American as pope is quite rightly ranked as the most improbable of outcomes of the conclave, but not so improbable is the selection of a new pope uniquely equipped to speak to this culture. God knows we need it. Terri Schiavo’s death underscored that need in a way that cannot be understated.
It is an old story in Christianity –in fact the oldest– that apparent disasters and outrageous injustices lead in fact to the brightest displays of grace. [Source]
Hugh also mentioned on his radio show last night that when he went to one of the emergent churches on Sunday that included over a thousand mostly young people, that the pastor their asked people to pray for the Cardinals in the selection of the next Pope.