This morning, Pope Benedict XVI left the Vatican for the last time, and as of noon today the chair of St. Peter will be vacant. I wanted to share five other resources I’ve come across to help people understand all that’s going on – the Pope’s resignation, his legacy, and what comes next:
-First, an article from Randy Raus, president of LIFE TEEN, reflecting on why the Pope stepped down: http://lifeteen.com/the-popes-fearless-decision/ (LIFE TEEN also has a beautiful tribute video up at the top of their website today, or you can see it by clicking here.)
-Second, an article Fr. James Martin, SJ (you’d recognize him if you watch The Colbert Report), on the legacy Benedict leaves behind: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/12/opinion/the-change-upon-christs-rock.html?_r=0
-Third, Franciscan University explained the process (Conclave) that is to come very simply and clearly on their Facebook page:
“The papacy has been vacant many times through the millennia—Benedict has been the 264th successor of St. Peter. The process for selecting a new pope has changed over the millennia, but nowadays when the papacy is vacant (typically because the pope dies) the cardinals younger than 80 years old gather in the Vatican. They are locked into the Sistine Chapel and nearby lodging with absolutely no contact with the outside world (hence the term “conclave,” which comes from the Latin words meaning “with the keys”). They discuss and vote until a new pope is elected. Technically any baptized Christian male is eligible, but they usually choose someone from among their own ranks. The conclave will begin within the next week or two and will probably only last two or three days (but it could be longer, the Church has gone for years without a pope in the past because the cardinals simply could not agree). There are 117 cardinals from around the world who are younger than 80, but two will not participate in the conclave—one from Indonesia and one from Scotland. So 115 cardinal-electors will gather in the Vatican very soon for the conclave. And the United States has eleven cardinal-electors (Dolan, DiNardo, George, Mahony, Burke, Levada, O’Malley, O’Brien, Wuerl, Harvey, and Rigali) making the U.S. contingent the second largest behind only Italy.”
If you’re more of a visual learner, here is a video that explains it in pretty great detail:
Fourth, Fr. Robert Barron was interviewed on the NBC today show about some of the potential candidates for Pope, if you’re interested in speculating on that: https://www.wordonfire.org/News/TODAY-Show—Who-will-be-the-next-Pope—–Matt-La.aspx New Advent is also ranking the 115 Cardinal electors based on the online buzz about each one on their homepage, http://www.newadvent.org/.
Finally, as an ordinary Catholic, we aren’t ordinarily directly involved in the conclave, but we can spiritually support the Cardinals as they undertake this critical task for our Church. A friend first came across a website where you can Adopt a Cardinal, choosing to fast and pray for one of the 115 Cardinal electors who will soon enter into the Conclave to choose our 266th Pope. I’m praying for an Italian, Cardinal Paolo Sardi, and you can adopt one for yourself at http://adoptacardinal.org/