I was with a friend in Assisi in 2006 when the bells tolled Habemus Papam. The following Sunday we arrived at St. Peter’s Square just after Pope Benedict XVI had given his first official papal blessing. Last June I wandered into that same square and found myself participating in a Papal Mass. The highlight for the thousands gathered was not the communion wafer, which was offered to everyone in a most organized way, but a view of Pope Benedict scooting around and about in his popemobile. He looked like he was having fun, but I guess he decided it wasn’t worth hanging around for another year just for the ride.
I love to study church history, say, through the Reformation and High Renaissance, but I don’t like living it in the twenty-first century. To be candid, I’m not a Roman Catholic and I don’t resonate with its current policies. It is said that nothing will change unless the new pope REALLY surprises everyone. Also, the odds are definitely against Boston’s Cardinal O’Malley being chosen. Why would anyone in the Conclave elect someone whose hometown newspaper is the Boston Globe?