So it begins. After filing into the Sistine Chapel earlier today the 115 Cardinal Electors individually took their oath of absolute secrecy to Elect a new Pope.
It was interesting to see their faces as one by one they placed their right hand on the book and recited the oath printed in Latin on the left hand page, putting in their individual name at the designated place. The faces reflected the great strain of the moment the Cardinal Electors are under, some looked resigned as if hoping that they would not be chosen but realising it was up to the 114 other Electors to decide, some looked quite tense, others looked fairly confident that they would be voting for the new Pope and he was not going to be one of them. However these are confident men used to great authority within and indeed in many cases outside the Roman Catholic Church, each right hand was steady resting on the book.
This is a time of great prayer both by the Religious of the Roman Catholic Church and its Lay Community. If ever the phrase "be careful what you pray for" applied this is that time. Far better that we the Lay Community let what happens within the Sistine Chapel happen between the Cardinal Electors and the God they believe guides their decision. The Lay Community knows that there is considerable maneuvering amongst these Cardinal Electors and they have discussed the issue of the type of person for the new Pope with the other Cardinals waiting outside with the Lay Community. They may be men-of-God but they are human men-of-God so have weaknesses, strengths, opinions and preferences just as we all do.
Should a member of the Vatican Curia group become the new Pope we can expect little real change thus the needed changes in operating the Vatican are just not going to happen. This one is afraid will lead to the continued decline of the Roman Catholic Church with the Lay Community finding its own path to the Salvation it believes in. After all why would we accept being guided by men who are known to be corrupt when we are now educated enough to work out the path to Salvation ourselves while leading reputable lives which are actually superior to many members of the Curia.
Should a member of outside the Vatican Curia group prevail then if his Leadership is strong, moral, cleans up the Vatican Curia, appoints new members to the Vatican Administration, consults with the Lay Community then the Roman Catholic Church has some chance to survive and even over time grow as a true guiding path to Salvation.
The first vote has just been taken resulting, as expected, in black smoke sometime tomorrow there will be another vote or votes - we can only wait and see if the white smoke comes sooner or later. Then we shall hear those fateful words this time not just for the Man but for the Church "Tu es Petrus".
Count D. Peter Boucher, Kt. SMOM.