Subtitle: Papal Elections and Secular Elections
Our parochial vicar (read: assistant pastor) gave a homily over the weekend that was largely a repeat of one he gave last week albeit at a different Mass. Apparently, the pastor really liked the imagery and message that the other priest presented and wanted a broader segment of the congregation to hear it.
The basic message was that you are missing the point when you compare the papal election process with any sort of secular election process. This includes theorizing as to how various papabili would change the Church or the various debate over how the Church would change with a Pope from country X, Y, or Z. (Country Y is the Czar’s favorite, he vacations there often). The thing is that misses the point entirely. Speaking from a Catholic evangelization position, the Church doesn’t need to change – people do. The Church has been through a lot of secular change over the last 2,000 years and it has survived with the same tenets, practices, Sacraments, etc*. Yes, there have been terribly dark times when the implementation of these facets went astray and subsequently were adjusted. Our parochial vicar likened the role of Pope to the telephone game – the one where kids line up and a message is delivered to the first child in line. They whisper it to their neighbor and it progresses down the line and the original message is compared with the resulting one the last child heard. Take that image and change it such that each child is bilingual and no two children speak the same pair of languages. The message is delivered in one language and translated to the neighbor (i.e. English to Spanish, then Spanish to German, then German to Dutch, etc.). That is the role of the Pope: to translate the message passed from Christ to Peter who then passed it on from Pope to Pope within the Church throughout the ages.
GorT’s perspective is that all of the secular issues that people are throwing out there as possibilities for the soon-to-be-elected Pope to “change” the Church are noise and distractions. The Church is here to help us find and know God. If those secular things matter so much that it impedes that for you, then it is my opinion that you are focusing on the wrong thing.
So while we’re all enjoying the Gormogon Conclave Lottery, let’s also keep in mind when we read and hear about the process from the media** that it isn’t the same as a secular election so using the same analytic methods to try to dissect the vote and the process just won’t work.
* it is my opinion that this is largely why the Catholic Church drives liberals bat-shit-crazy: it has survived with all of these beliefs, practices, and ceremonies that they deride as out of touch or ancient.
** Having bemoaned media coverage, it is worth noting that there was a recent Slashdot post about what we can learn about election security from the Papal election process. It is a manual vote, so no electronic tampering is possible. It is a small voting population that know each other so injecting an outsider would be nearly impossible. A single cardinal cannot “stuff the ballot box” as the votes are collected via a paten and dropped into the chalice such that the cardinal cannot directly interact with the chalice holding the ballots and the paper ballot is visible. Finally, ballots from previous votes are burned and therefore cannot taint a subsequent vote.
GorT is an eight-foot-tall robot from the 51ˢᵗ Century who routinely time-travels to steal expensive technology from the future and return it to the past for retroinvention. The profits from this pay all the Gormogons’ bills, including subsidizing this website. Some of the products he has introduced from the future include oven mitts, the Guinness widget, Oxy-Clean, and Dr. Pepper. Due to his immense cybernetic brain, GorT is able to produce a post in 0.023 seconds and research it in even less time. Only ’Puter spends less time on research. GorT speaks entirely in zeros and ones, but occasionally throws in a ڭ to annoy the Volgi. He is a massive proponent of science, technology, and energy development, and enjoys nothing more than taking the Czar’s more interesting scientific theories, going into the past, publishing them as his own, and then returning to take credit for them. He is the only Gormogon who is capable of doing math. Possessed of incredible strength, he understands the awesome responsibility that follows and only uses it to hurt people.