Monday, April 18, 2005

Black Smoke

Black smoke is currently rising from the Sistine Chapel chimney. The first vote of the first conclave of the third millenium has been conducted and no single candidate garnered a two-thirds majority.

The Cardinal Princes of the Church will now retire for the evening. They will reconvene in the Sistine Chapel tomorrow morning. If needed, two morning ballots will be held and then there could also be two afternoon ballots.


bombsoverbaghdad said...

I'm still praying for Cardinal Tettamanzi of Milan.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it really looked like white smoke at first. I'm a grad student at Catholic University of America, and I was putting on my shoes to go running through the dorm to let everyone know. Too bad, but maybe I'll get to do my running tomorrow.

Dennis said...

Tettamanzi's been campaigning too hard. And his nonsensical pandering to the looney left "anti-globalists" at Genoa doesn't enhance his credibility.

Please be Ratzinger!

Anonymous said...

Black Pope:
No, my Good Ratzinger Z is the worst option.
Too much old and too much conservative.

I'm praying for brasilian Cardinal

Anonymous said...

Can't we all just trust the Princessess of the Church to do the right thing. God is guiding them after all.

Jimbo said...

I think you mean princes.

Anonymous said...

That is the problem. People just believe what they are taught and not question anything. Until the Catholic church accepts that women are a vital part of the church then they will be as powerful as they used to be. I for one am waiting for our alien overlords.

Anonymous said...

Alien overlords? The pope is human. I think...

Anonymous said...

My only comment is that the Vatican clearly has been practicing, determined to get the smoke detail right. After a few gray wisps, the smoke was unmistakably black.

It was also interesting to see that the furnace and the chimney, etc. are not regular features of the Sistine Chapel, but are apparently stored somewhere and carted in and set up when needed...wonder where they're kept between interregnums?

Anonymous said...

Where do you think they church practices the pope-smoke?

Anonymous said...

Some of you are posting comments that aren't funny and the alien overlords are not happy. Retributions will follow.

Anonymous said...

They could have quietly practiced somewhere within the Vatican walls. A little smoke wafting by--who would have noticed before today?

Anonymous said...

I have this blog open at my desk at work and I seem to notice that some comments are there and then if I refresh later the comments are gone. Why is that? I understand some people where making silly comments but that is what makes blogs fun. Please don't remove postings it smacks of censorship. I know you are trying to make this a serious blog but come on, have a sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

Plus, I can make fun, I am a devoted Catholic paying Catholic school tuition for a minor.

Jimbo said...


Humor is not the purpose of this blog. If you want humor, I suggest you look elsewhere. Posts that Boney or I deem offensive or nonsensical serve no purpose here and will be deleted. As this is our blog, we reserve the right to take this action. As always, we do welcome intelligent discussion.

Neil Young said...

In the UK the black smoke has seen Ratzinger drift out in the betting. Arinze is now favourite ahead of Ratzinger, Hummes (who LOOKS very pope-like, IMHO), Tettamanzi and Martini. The presence of Martini among the front-runners will undoubtedly surprise many readers of this blog. I can think of half a dozen very solid reasons why he will not be the next Pope - in fact, I would well imagine him turning it down if he were to be elected. As the hours wear on, Castrillon Hoyos seems to me more and more likely to be the eventually winner. My longshots : Darmatmaadja, Pham Minh Man, Sandoval Iniguez.

regularly updated rankings can be found here:

Amy said...

I support Jimbo and Boney's position. They are young, intelligent and enthusiastic about their faith. They want to share accurate and relevant information in a joyous and respectful manner. I find it unfortunate that others see it their duty to disrespect and judge by using this site as a platform for "witnessing" and "evangelism". Nevertheless, the Papacy is in my prayers. May the MEN of the conclave be guided by the Holy Spirit.


Anonymous said...

Today the toughest Catholic orthodoxy has spoken in Saint Peter's Basilica, the strong and powerful voice of Joseph Ratzinger sent us his life long "moral relativism theory", but this time he did not do it as his personal theological theory or as an instruction for progressive theologies coming from Latin America, but as an instruction towards the Cardinals. Only this man could set himself above the other Cardinals in this manner.

Many can be coldly impressed by his words. Instead of asking the Cardinals to be loyal to the words of Jesus he asked them to choose without being driven by their hearts or minds, only orthodoxy should drive you.

It is true that the Catholic Church survived the Middle Age, the Reformation, and hundred Christian schisms. Many reasons could be argued, its continuity and its adaptation. Both forces were necessary.

It will survive Ratzinger if the Cardinals chose him or one of his nominees.

I just pray the Cardinals will choose the best one, not my best.

My best is too old they say.

Father McCarthy said...

They just showed your blog on CNN.

Anonymous said...

Will Ratzinger just circle the wagons?

Heard about his homily and read his biography. He sounds like he's scared to death of the future and the modern word. Man the barricades. What ever happened to John Paul's exhortation 'not to be afraid'. We need a pope willing to come to grips with the modern world, not hide from it.

vbspurs said...

My blog isn't religious-centric, but I am Catholic, and deeply interested in the "goings on" of my Church at the moment.

So anyone who wishes to have first-hand private person accounts (versus the polished MSM reporting) of the Conclave, can traipse to my blog all this week.

I will concentrate on the Conclave almost entirely.

Today's piece is how I perceived the US cable news network coverage, in tone and substance, of the Pre-Conclave Mass.

As a detail, I've also linked to this and the Pope Blog upon John Paul II's death.


vbspurs said...

BTW, I too support Jimbo and Boney if they have to clamp down on insulting posts

People who disagree with the Church are not the point. We can all tell a critic from a person who is just here to pick a fight, or says outlandish things to get a response, and uses methods to that end.

They are called trolls.

And they are pathetic persons with no lives.


Felipe said...

Hummes, pope-like? Obviously you've never liestened to him speak. These days, he declared that Brazilian socialist pro-abortion president is "Catholic in his own way". Two other Brazilian Cardinals contradicted him. By the way, isn't "Catholic in his own way" the definition of "heretic"?

ElCapitanAmerica said...

I find this process completely fascinating, and troll like comments posted on the comments section, deserve to be removed because they get in the way.

Do the cardinals engage in any type of discussions during the conclave? Like would one of them make a case for a person in front of them?

bombsoverbaghdad said...

Ratzinger is a phenomenal writer and a tremendous intellectual, but his election would send a bad message to the world's Catholics, in my opinion. He is too hard line. Whether the Church likes it or not, the reality is that it is losing members at an alarming rate. More importantly, entering the priesthood is not even discussed as an option for most Catholic boys. How can a Church surive without priests? Cultures, including Churches, change over time--or they become irrelevant.

I'd like to see a religious conservative elected. But I'd like to see someone who can embrace the world as it is in 2005. I want to see someone who argue for justice in Latin America like John Paul II argued for justice in Poland.

Dennis said...

I've been surprized by the nresurgence of Martini in the speculations/betting odds lately too. Aside from being retired and too liberal, he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Does anyone really think the Cardinals will elect a man who's already in failing health?

Also, Anonymous, to call Ratzinger "afraid of the modern world" is simply nonsense. Read some of the man's books - Salt of the Earth, God and the World, Truth and Tolerance. This is a brilliant and holy man, who has been thoroughly engaged with the modern world ever since he grew up in Nazi Germany. To equate doctrinal orthodoxy with "fear of the modern world" is the same thing liberals used to say about JPII - he's just a reactionary backward Pole, out of touch with the modern world, etc. Yet, if you look at his bipgraphy, never has any Pope, and few people for that matter, been so thoroughly engaged with and formed by the modern world. Of course, they both want to change the modern world and to challenge its own secular orthodoxies. That's part of the Church's role in the world, but that is not "fear". Anonymous and others who criticize this role seem instead to want a Church that blows in the wind and embraces whatever passing fads happen to be floating along, making the Church nothing more than an empty vessel waiting to be filled with whatever the modern world wants to pour into it. That's understandable, in a way, since the very existence of the Church is a skandalon, a stumbling block to the world, but to demand that the Church then conform itself to that world is, in essence, to call for the destruction of the Church.

Neil Young said...

Felipe, all I said was that Hummes -looks- like a Pope. Personally I think if we are going to have a Brazilian, then Agnelo could well be the chap. Doesn't hurt at all that he's of Italian extraction...

I Predict.... said...

If this goes beyond 4-5 ballots, watch for the unknown who will be the compromise JPII was. The Cardinals (inspired by the Holy Spirit, of course) need to settle on someone that:

- will be young enough to continue the country-hopping instituted by JPII
- is orthodox and who will continue in the current traditions of the Church.
- will appeal to the third world but will also keep the first-world money coming in.
- is humble but is highly intelligent and can connect with the youth.
- will listen but will also stick to the current teachings.
- can speak at least four-five languages fluently
- has the capability to re-ignite the faith in countries that have largely abandoned it.
- is from a country that is known for promoting social justice and aid to the third world
- has experience with interfaith dialogue and has worked in the third world.

According to Vatican sources, when asked in 2002 who he thought his successor might be, JPII smiled and responded that he hadn't been made a cardinal yet.

My longshot has had was is called a "meteoric rise" through the hierarchy. He was only named a Cardinal in 2003 and is on the NCR's list of top 20 candidates.

Neil Young said...

The poster known as "I predict" is presumably referring to Ouellet. At first I thought he was pushing for Rodriguez Maradiaga, but RM speaks eight languages as opposed to Ouellet's five.

If you're after a Canadian, then Turcotte is surely more likely - not least because Ouellet is simply too young this time around. And both of them are quite high-profile.

if you want "unknowns" who haven't appeared in many lists, meanwhile, consider Sandoval Iniguez, Pham Minh Man, Darmatmaadja, and Husar. Or Napier, Scheid, Antonelli.

Agnelo is looking interesting at the moment, no?

Felipe said...

About being a polyglot, I was surprised to learn today that Cardinal Tettamanzi, who is supposed to be a strong candidate, speaks only Italian!

vbspurs said...

I'm sure you all know the old Italian saying about the Conclave, "He who enters Pope, leaves Cardinal".

Guys, it's not going to be Ratzinger (alas), Tettamanzi, Sodano, or I think, a front-runner like even Hummes.

It'll be someone who is a compromise candidate, as a lot of people have been noting.

I personally think Agnello or Cipriani Thorne (who is Opus Dei, however), would be perfect.

But that's just my 2p.

BTW, tomorrow I will be blogging about the candidates, and what possible names they will be choosing upon accession to the Throne of Peter.

Gregory, Sixtus and my fave, Benedict, are so far my tips.


Jimbo said...

Personally, I would love to see Pope James I. :)

James said...

When are the media and the folks that keep misunderstanding "shortage of priests" going to learn the facts?

Under the blessed stewardship of PJPII the worldwide number of both priests and nuns has INCREASED. Furthermore, there are now the most seminarians that there have been in the modern age.

The "shortage" is confined to priests born and raised in the U.S.A.

Thus, those calling for a liberal pontiff that needs to "address" (meaning cave-in to demands by the minority to abandon PJPII's legacy) are wrong on all counts.

Anonymous said...

Now that we are in the name game. My vote is for the new pope to keep his baptismal /birth name

Andy H said...

Now that's just silly.

Anonymous said...

Angelo Cardinal Sodano, formerly Secretary of State for Vatican City looks strong and fatherly. He is Italian and over age 70 with diplomatic ties to Latin America and Russia. He would make a fine caretaker Pope.

Anonymous said...

Answering Dennis' defense of Ratzinger...

I believe that the idea of "reading the signs of the times" is missing in Cardinal Ratzinger speech today.

"At all times the Church carries the responsibility of reading the signs of the times and interpreting them in the light of the Gospel."

This was missing in Ratzinger. It was not missing in the Vatican II and if the Church petrifies itself (even if done with the best intentions) it is a mistake.

Anonymous said...

Possible Names?

Pope Scotty
Pope Bubba
Pope Guido
Pope Ratso

Anonymous said...

The odds are not necessarily in Canadian Cardinal Marc OUELLET's favor, but he is a great compromise candidate - and his marvelous people skills would be a benefit not an obstacle. His conservative views won't lead the church down the path of relativism that Ratzinger speaks of and he's young enough to continue John Paul II's trans-world crusades, such as the World Youth Days. The church needs this man, the world needs this man and if he isn't elected now, he one day might be. Fingers crossed.

Louis E. said...

I am not a Christian and though I believe in God I don't believe in organized religion as a matter of principle.There is NO credible evidence that the necessary Infinitely First Cause writes books or starts official fan clubs.

However,I believe that a religion needs to be UNCHANGING in order to be taken seriously.Values that never change (regardless of what the latest thing people WANT to believe is) and are important precisely becuase they can never change,are the only values a religion should concern itself with.

Anonymous said...

I can tell you who the pope will not be. He will not be: an American, a Black, or an Asian. That leaves French, too many Lutherans in Germany, or someone from Latin American whose ancestors are European.

Dennis said...

To say that organized religion is silly because there is no "evidence" [of a scientific nature perhaps!] that the "Infinitely (sic) First Cause" writed books or starts fan clubs, is simply a caricature of what the Chruch means by the Bible being the "Word of God". To say that the Bible was inspired by God, is not to say that God himself wrote it all down verbatim and handed it to us. Furthermore, the Church is not simply akin to a "fan club" started by God. God doesn't need a fan club, but we need the Church as a means to salvation. That is a quite different thing than mere "fandom". The Church worships God and serves God. It isn't a "fan" of God.

If you're looking for a religion that does actually believe God simply "wrote" it holy book and handed to humans verbatim, then lolok to Islam. Of course, Islamic doctrine regarding the origin of the Koran, begs the question: If it was written word for word in eternity by God himself, why are there so many contradictory passages and later passages which revoke earlier passages? Obviously "Allah" must not be a very capable author or student of the logic.

Andy H said...


I agree with your point that religion is not necessarily illogical, however let's not try to make our point by disrespecting other religions.

david said...

Amen, Boney! Respect is good.
As for the next pope: whoever he is, we'll have to accept him just as he is, which inlcudes his gifts AND his limitations. God has a way of giving us what we need in ways we don't expect or even want, but ... God knows what we need even when we think otherwise.
I'm looking forward to the surprise. And I pray for the poor man. May he have courage to let "God write straight with crooked lines". And may we have the wisdom to read the signs that God is writing through his servant for our times.

vbspurs said...

Being Pope is a cross between being a Monarch and becoming a religieux, which is a rebirth, and a rebirth starts with a renaming.

So "Anonymous who said the new Pope would keep his birthname", ala but though it COULD happen, chances are almost 99.9% that the new Pope will assume a new name upon accession.

That's just the way things are. I don't think any of these 115 men are revolutionaries enough to flout 2000 years of convention.


Anselmus said...

That's right. Even the first pope was given a new name by Our Lord.

Whoever the new pope is it is important that he does not accomodate himself or the Church to the modern world, since this is the certain path to being irrelevant and outmoded in the future. It is the Church not the modern world that is the measure of what is relevant.

ZanniPolo said...

If Ratzinger wins I bet he will choose the name John Paul III. To shed some light on the questions above about the smoke, the Vatican said that they have a contraption attached to the side of the stove used to burn the papers, that releases 'smoke bombs' to make the smoke more visible. The release is in Italian, but I have placed a translation on my blog.

vbspurs said...

That is precisely where the tradition evolved -- because our Lord renamed Saul to Peter, the rock of his Church.

A great-aunt of mine, who was a religeuse in Germany, was born Elisabeth, but chose Immacolata as her "nun name". This custom is not as common with male religieux, though.

And BTW, no new Pope, even Cardinal Ratzinger who is similar in personal theology, would follow John Paul II by choosing John Paul III.

Our late Holy Father is already a tough tough act to follow, without people having it reminded every day. It might even create ill-feeling with the faithful.

My mother was aghast, when I told her about the possibility.

"No! He must choose another name. John Paul is still too fresh and sacred in our minds."



ZanniPolo said...

I think it would be presumptious of Ratzinger to choose the name John Paul III, but then so was his homily at the Missa Pro Eligendo. Anyway, it won't be him.
Also, I just want to point out that it was Simon one of the twelve Apostles who was renamed Peter or Rock by Jesus. Saul who had helped persecute early Christians, changed his name to Paul after his conversion on the road to Damascus. This is, perhaps, where our tradtion of choosing a new name when we are confirmed comes from.
I love the idea of a scriptural basis for Popes choosing a new name, but I am afraid the truth as to why it happens is a little more prosaic. In the early church, the Popes kept their real names. Thus is is supposed that the successor to Peter, Linus is the one mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. The first Pope to change his name is supposed to have been Pope John II. His real name was Mercurius, but changed it on his election to the Papacy as he thought it inappropriate, being the name of one of the pagan gods of Rome.

John said...

Regarding Ratzinger: He deserted in May 45, not in 44. He was drafted in 43, IIRC.

The fact that he deserted in the last days of the war does raise questions, and I think he will have to answer questions regarding his past directly, honestly, personally, and publicly (even if there's nothing, he should do so to clear doubts) in order to have credibility regarding Catholic-Jewish relations, but I do not think he is or ever was an anti-Semite.

Dennis said...

How does Ratzinger's having deserted in 1945 raise questions about his past?

He was 12 when the war started; 14 when he was forced to join the Hitley Youth; 16 when conscripted into an anti-aircraft unit in Munich; 17 when sent back to Traunstein as part of an infantry unit, from which he deserted and was soon thereafter arrested in a general roundup and sent to an American POW camp. Having just turned 18 in April, he was released without prejudice from the POW camp in July 1945.

No credible source has ever suggested, much less provided any actual evidence, that he was then, or ever has been, a Nazi or an anti-Semite. The only people raising the "issue" are those in the mainstream press and the "Catholic" left who simply oppose Ratzinger at all costs and will stop at nothing in slandering him. For example, Jon Meecham of Newsweek on Imus this morning saying that it "remains to be seen" whether Ratzinger has a "Waldheim problem". No it doesn't. What remains to be seen is whether the mainstream media has any intellectual integrity, or even the ability to do a simple background fact-check, rather than posing phony "questions" insinuating that Ratzinger has a "Nazi past".

Louis E. said...

I certainly agree that the new Pope should not be called John Paul II,though the tradition of changing names on accession took several centuries to be established.For me,choosing "John Paul" meant a promise to be like John Paul I,and whatever else he may have accomplished,John Paul II never came close to being like John Paul I.

vbspurs said...

Wow. I got the Papal Regnal right -- Benedict.

But I said it wouldn't be Ratzinger, because he was the frontrunner and not a compromise candidate, so 50/50 for me.

Not too bad.



John said...

This is rather pointless now, but I figured I'd answer Dennis:

I personally don't believe we have a potential "Waldheim problem". Not even close.

I do, however, think that that issue should be addressed by Ratzinger/Benedict (That Regnal is going to be hard to get used to...), and addressed by His Holiness himself, not through aides.

Why? Because even though there is, by all accounts, no problem, there's an awful lot of smoke around the issue. That breeds conspiracy theories, which could only be a bad thing. Nobody is likely to believe anything said if it comes from aides or cardinals. It needs to come from the Pope. Even if all it is is "Yes, I was a member of the Hitlerjugend. Yes, I did serve in the Wehrmacht. I did neither of those things voluntarily. I was not a Nazi in thought or belief, and I was not a member of the Nazi party."

Even if it's been said before, it was said before in books nobody will probably read (I understand they're fairly dense theological works by and large). It should be said again, *now*, by His Holiness. A proper statement on the matter, from the mouth of the Pope, would settle the issue fairly conclusively.