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Monday, February 11, 2013

It Doesn't Take A Weatherman

As our current American administration used to say, it doesn't take a weatherman to know the wind is changing.

The last Pope to resign did so in 1415 to end the Great Western Schism, when three different men were all claiming the papacy. Two were anti-Popes, so the real one resigned in order to allow the Council of Constance to resolve what had become an extremely nasty political situation.

That is, historically, the only real reason a Pope has ever resigned: to resolve a really nasty problem somewhere. Now, maybe this time is different.

But maybe not.

When Germany was at the height of its power in 1939, the man who was elected Pope had been papal nuncio to Germany for ten years. He understood the political situation in Germany as well as anyone alive. He was also instrumental in undermining Nazi authority and influence.

When the Soviet Union was at the height of its power, the Church elected a Pope who had lived under both Nazi and Soviet domination. Pope John Paul II (Cardinal Kaqrol Wojtyla) was the first non-Italian in four hundred years and the only Polish citizen ever to be elected to the papacy. He understood the Soviet Union as well as anyone alive. He, Reagan and Thatcher helped engineer the destruction of the Soviets.

Between 2004 and 2007, Europe's Eurozone reached its height as several former Soviet satellites entered the union and joined the Euro. As Europe rocketed forward economically, the conclave elected the first German pope in centuries. Only nine of previous 266 Popes could claim German heritage. Hadrian IV (1522-1523) hailed from Holland, Stephen IX (1057-1058) from the French-German Lorraine region, and Victor II (1055-1057), was a Swabian. Again, the pick proved prescient. Cardinal Ratzinger took the name Benedict. The conclave turned out to have chosen a man with a superb understanding of Germany, Europe's most important partner, to stand at the helm of the Church as the European Union began its current course of self-destruction.

In short, in three out of the last six elections during the course of the last century, the cardinals have correctly predicted where the next world crisis would take place.

It would appear that the current major threat is Islam. As has been noted elsewhere, Muslim oil producing nations are probably at the peak of their power right now, as oil revenues are likely to start dropping with the invention of fracking and the discovery of shale oil reserves world-wide.

If the next Pope hails from a Muslim nation, if the next Pope understands and has lived under Islam for a significant period of his life, his election may signal a significant shift in the world's power equations.

Islam, this may be the end for you.


Steve "scotju" Dalton said...

This is an interesting speculation and perspective on this story. A pope from a Muslim country who might be the death of Islam. Well, we will also need an American president and a British prime minister who are ill-disposed toward Islam too. Hopefully, we might have both before the next election cycle comes up.

Anonymous said...

So, then, Cardinal Ranjith? Tagle?

Who else is a Cardinal from a muslim country?

Aside from Burke, DiNardo, Mahony, Dolan, Rigali.....


Steve Kellmeyer said...

Burke is the only American cardinal with a shot.

Remember, a lot of these guys voted for Ratzinger. They might elect a Cardinal Burke, but they sure aren't going to put Mahony on the throne.