|Pope Pius XIII?|
"You mean to tell me you are willing to bet your fortune on Raymond Burke?" My friend was absolutely incredulous.
"Yes!" I replied as confidently as I had stated the next pope was going to be Raymond Burke when the question inevitably came up at lunch today.
"No one in that conclave will want him!" He shook his head and gave that look like I had totally lost my mind.
"That very well could be the case, but I think the Holy Ghost wants Burke, and why not?" And indeed, why not?
I agree with my friend that an extremely small minority would even, at least at this time, entertain electing Raymond Cardinal Burke to the Throne of Peter. In fact, the idea might very well make some of them sick to their stomachs. However, there are some good reasons why, in the end, Burke will be elected Supreme Pontiff.
First, we have had a long period of administration by theologians, and judging by the mess they have left behind, a true administrator, either a proven pastor or a canon lawyer, who can bring some order to a wounded and disgraced Vatican will be elected. Check for Burke.
Second, while there will be a strong inclination to elect an Italian after over a quarter of a century of non-Italians holding the high office, given, once again, the mess that is in the Vatican there will be a stronger hesitancy to elect an Italian (read "Bertone") insider. A non-European with Vatican experience, but some distance between himself and Bertone and his politicians, will look very attractive. The Cardinal Electors aren't beholding to Bertone and the Vatican diplomatic corpse once the doors are locked, and chances are that a good many of them would like to take some power away from the office of Vatican Secretary of State (we can only hope). Check for Burke.
Third, the "Report of the Three Cardinals" will be handed out as the Cardinal Electors enter the conclave, and that report will definitely point out those who were loyal, and by consequence, will also point out clearly who is "dirty". They are "dirty" in that they are at the center of the scandal or close enough that the publicity fallout would be catastrophic if they were elected pope. That "dirty list" will greatly limit who the Cardinal Electors will be able to choose, and I can say with confidence, that this "dirty list" will include most if not all of Benedict's close circle, the most liberal and progressive candidates, and more than likely, a good many "conservatives" of the Communio crowd (read "New Theologians"). The short list, and don't kid yourself, it will be very short, will include Burke. Check for Burke.
At this point someone might point out that a candidate from South America or Africa stands a better chance. Not so fast. Both South America and Africa have been burned due to the on going clash between the Hegelian Marxists of Liberation Theology, and the thinly veiled Marxists in clerical collars in Africa (read Turkson) on one side, and on the other side, the Hegelian New Theologians of the Communio crowd. The greater the similarity, the greater the division (and hate). The disgraced Communio crowd will never elect a Marxist or anyone who comes from a hotbed of Marxism such as South America or Africa. Once again, check for Burke.
Fourth, Burke is the most brilliant, most qualified individual left. Even if we consider this on a purely human level, those who would dislike Burke most would have to concede they would be better off with someone of his caliber to take the reins of this Vatican, a Vatican that the Catholic world in general will demand a house cleaning of once the "Report of the Three Cardinals" is eventually leaked. His enemies may even see it as opportunity to hand Burke a bucking horse in the hopes that he is thrown and breaks his neck, so to speak.
Lastly, I just have a feeling, so I'm calling it for Raymond Burke.
It's in the hands of the Holy Ghost, and ultimately He will decide, and it will be decided beyond all human reason and motive. May God's Will be done!
But don't be so sure God's Will isn't Raymond Burke...