““ You should be a design of justice, a mirror of holiness, a prototype of piety, a proclaimer of fact, a protector of the Faith, the horror of the wicked, the splendor of the great, the rod of the magnificent, the hammer of autocrats, the daddy of kings, the mediator of laws, the God of Pharaoh …” — ”– Saint Bernard of Clairvaux to Pope Eugene III

Have you observed how peaceful Pope Francis has been recently?

Maybe he has a lot on his mind. The coronavirus is still raving in Italy. His old buddy Donald Trump is up for reelection in less than 6 months. And I think he did discover time to weigh in on the death of George Floyd.

Still, there hasn’’ t been a peep about females deacons or wed priests. There ’ s been nary a whisper about neo-Pelagians or their saturnine headgear. What offers?

As I composed in these pages back in March, I believe the fallout from the Amazon Synod made Francis understand that he’’ s being utilized. After stopping working to back married priests and female deacons in his post-synodal admonition Querida Amazonia, the Holy Father was flooded with abuse from disappointed, restless progressives—– 5th writers from the City of Man—– who were currently irked with the Supreme Pontiff for purchasing the German bishops to cancel their synodal journey.

.If I might estimate myself (a cardinal sin amongst reporters!), #ppppp>,

In his closing address to the Amazon Synod, a noticeably inflamed pontiff advised Catholics not to get slowed down in ““ intraecclesiastical matters—– significance, state this side won or that side won.” ” Yet certainly no one was playing politics more baldly than Claudio Cardinal Hummes, the Brazilian radical he selected to lead the synod. That, I believe, was the minute Francis recognized that his pals weren’’ t truly his buddies, that they didn ’ t share his desire for reform, which they were just pretending to like the downtrodden and bad as a reason to ram through their own heterodox program.

Maybe I’’ m incorrect. While the Pope’’ s numerous off-the-cuff declarations to press reporters and odd, rambling encyclicals are complete of confusion and contradiction, he was at least constant in one sense: he was constantly talking. Now, he has actually fallen quiet.

Vatican politics, in such a way, appears to mirror American politics: center-left ““ reformists ” are being hushed by far-left, out-and-out revolutionaries. The concern is, will those reformists understand their mistakes and accompany conservatives to ward off their erstwhile allies, or will they fall under line with their extremist pals?

These ideas were on the leading edge of my mind as I viewed an interesting panel conversation on Edward Pentin’’ s upcoming book, The Next Pope (Sophia Institute Press, 2020).

Mr. Pentin—– as I’’ m sure Crisis readers understand—– is the Rome reporter for the National Catholic Register and, for my cash, the very best Vatican press reporter in business. (I have his author page in my bookmark bar and look for updates daily.) The conversation, which was hosted by his publisher, consisted of 4 other Catholic media stars: Ross Douthat of The New York Times, John Allen of Crux, and Roberto de Mattei of Corrispondenza Romana; Diane Montagna, recently of LifeSiteNews, functioned as mediator.

It’’ s the most different online forum of its kind, compassing an amazing variety of views, from the traditionalist Professor de Mattei to the progressive Mr. Allen. And the discussion is as noteworthy for its civility when it comes to its informativeness.

Mr. Allen himself asked the $64 million concern: ““ What is Francis ’ s effect going to be on the next papal election “? ” His response? “ The main effect a pope ever has on a papal election is that he selects the electoral college””:


By now, Pope Francis has actually designated a little over 60 percent of the ballot age cardinals. Probably, if this papacy goes on another 5 to 10 years, it will be well over 2/3rds, which is the number you require to choose a pope… … It would be unreasonable to anticipate that a college of cardinals mostly selected by Francis will choose anybody who will be plainly viewed as a repudiation of the Francis Legacy.

Well, yes—– to a point. Let’’ s come back to that. Mr. Allen continues:

There is constantly an X-factor in every conclave. If there are going to be 120 cardinals enacting a conclave, you can begin generally with a minimum of half of those men … You feel you’’ ve got a quite strong keep reading, you understand where they’’ re originating from. You can think who they would want to support, who would be outside their convenience zone. You have to fret about the other half.

This time, I believe it’’ s going to be more like, We ’ ll have that sense about possibly a 3rd of the College. The other 2 thirds are going to be wild cards.

That’’ s the significance of the post-Querida fallout. The fight lines are being redrawn; the factions are moving underneath the cardinals’ ’ feet.


Professor de Mattei ’ s contributions were, to my mind, the most outstanding. Following on Mr. Allen’’ s remark worrying the correspondence in between succeeding papacies, he mentioned:

The genuine issue today does not appear to be the relationship in between one pontificate and another, however the relationship of the next pope with Vatican II, due to the fact that all the popes because 1965 have actually described Vatican II favorably, albeit naturally with some distinctions. It appears to me that a strong historic modification of Vatican II is underway, as is obvious for example from the current interventions of Archbishop Viganò and Bishop Schneider, who wear’’ t come from traditionalism, however who have actually truthfully dealt with a cultural and doctrinal dispute that appears needed to me. And, so, the relationship with Vatican II will be a bottom line in the next pontificate.


Bear in mind, ““ Vatican II ” doesn ’ t simply indicate the Novus Ordo vs. the Tridentine Mass. It doesn’’ t even always indicate the files of the Second Vatican Council themselves. It indicates the entire spirit of accommodationism that defined (and continues to identify) the post-conciliar Church.

““ The smoke of Satan has actually gone into the Church of God,” ” alerted Pope Saint Paul VI, who closed Vatican II. That is why the post-conciliar age has actually brought us the most precipitious drop in Mass participation in the history of Christendom, an overall collapse in catechesis, a near-fatal lack in occupations to the priesthood, an expansion of heterodoxy amongst the clergy and spiritual, and the expansion of sexual sins amongst the clergy and laypeople alike. Not considering that the reign of Diocletian has the Catholic Church dealt with such collective and frustrating opposition.

Now, we needn’’ t always conclude that Vatican II should be reversed in its totality. So much of the hierarchy has actually invested the previous 6 years acting as though the Second Vatican Council was a minute of ““ renewal ” for Holy Mother Church. It was anything. It was( to once again price estimate Paul) a minute of “ doubt, unpredictability, discontent, frustration, fight.” ” Professor de Mattei is best: whether he wishes to or not, the next pope will command a total re-evaluation of the benefits of the Second Vatican Council. Once again, more on that in a minute.

Ross Douthat offered a level-headed breakdown of how the different propensities within the Sacred College are most likely to coalesce behind particular prospects. As he discussed,

The sort of standard view would be that there’’ s sort of an institutional prospect that would be somebody like [Pietro] Cardinal Parolin, who would represent connection with Francis however possibly a more institutionalist bent. There’’ s a vision that would prefer somebody like [Luis Antonio] Cardinal Tagle of the Philippines, who would represent the sort of enhancing of the Francis ““ Pastoral Revolution” ” that evaluates the limits of orthodoxy, you may state, in pursuit of pastoral objectives. And after that in theory there must likewise be a sort of conservative prospect.

Mr. Allen concurred. ““ I believe most likely Parolin is the winner,” ” he stated, including: ““ I believe, for the– whatever you would call it, the ‘‘ connection camp’, ’ the more progressive camp—– definitely Cardinal Tagle most likely would be their bet.””


He ’ s. Cardinal Parolin, as Secretary of State for the Holy See, is greatly effective within the Curia, in spite of commanding little love amongst the laypeople. The designer of the Vatican’’ s concordat with communist China, it’’ s likewise likely that he is gotten in touch with the current scandal over the Secretariat ’ s suspicious financial investments in high-end English property.

The truth that he has yet to be prosecuted in the worldwide courts is a testimony to his remarkable impact within the Vatican. It likewise belies his ostentatious neglect for popular viewpoint.

I question the number of cardinals will want to choose such a baldly ““ political ” prospect.


Speaking of connection, a Parolin papacy would signify an accomplishment of the administration following a pope who stressed the ““ pastoral ” elements of the papacy above all.

On March 13, 2013, in his very first speech upon being chosen Supreme Pontiff, as he towered above Saint Peter’’ s Square, Pope Francis consistently resolved the Diocese of Rome. It was as though he couldn’’ t envisage working as primary pastor to an around the world flock: the Universal Church. On The Other Hand, Cardinal Parolin would be the worldliest of Saint Peter’’ s 266 followers.

Cardinal Tagle, on the other hand, is not a lot undesirable as he is absolutely unknown. Those who follow the inner machinations of the Vatican understand that he has actually been strongly promoted by Francis to top-level positions in the Holy See—– most just recently, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. He is certainly Francis’’ s selected follower.


And yet, when even Pope Francis appears unpredictable about his own position within the hierarchy, a ““ more-Francis-than-Francis ” prospect might not be as attractive as one may otherwise presume. A pope ready to question the tradition of Pope Francis—– like the tradition of Vatican II—– might be precisely what the cardinal-electors are searching for.

Which brings us to the next concern: who will be the ““ conservative ” prospect?


John Allen doesn ’ t believe the most apparent prospects actually have a possibility:

For the more conservative bloc in this conclave enters understanding they’’ re not going to get a Burke or a Sarah … So, what they ’ re searching for might or might not precisely remain in their camp, however somebody with whom (if I can utilize this type of language) with whom they believe they can do organisation, who a minimum of comprehends where they’’ re originating from and is not going to go too far too quick. On the other hand, it has to be someone who is likewise appropriate to that 2/3rds-plus faction in the college that was selected by Francis and doesn’’ t desire to be seen as tossing all that out the window.

Yet Mr. Allen’’ s idea is, possibly, much more not likely: Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, a enthusiastic and evasive Austrian with a present for making buddies and after that frustrating them. ““ That ’ s either going to make him a male without an agreement or a nation favorite,” ” states Mr. Allen. I presume it’’ s the latter.

Mr. Douthat stated that he shares ““ a few of [Mr. Allen ’ s] doubts about the papabilté of the most popular conservative figures profiled in [Mr. Pentin’’ s] book, whether it’’ s Cardinal Raymond Burke or Cardinal Robert Sarah.””


I wear ’ t concur. I believe Cardinal Sarah is more than likely to prosper Pope Francis.

Now, hear me out.

One can’’ t stress enough simply just how much unpredictability was presented by the fallout from Querida. Even those churchmen who are faithful to Francis—– who share his vision for reform and renewal—– are likewise questioning the Pope’’ s alliance with radicals in the German bishops ’ conference and freedom theologians like Cardinal Hummes.

And bear in mind that, while the Pope might have designated a supermajority of cardinals, he doesn’’ t understand all of them’personally. They ’ re not all always clones of himself. Jorge Mario Bergoglio was designated by Pope Saint John Paul II.

In other words, a lot of them won’’ t just catch the post-Querida unpredictability. They won’’ t simply question the tradition of Francis’’ s papacy. They ’ ll concern the whole paradigm of modern-day progressivism. They’’ ll start to question if the Church hasn’’ t been ill-served by drawing too near to the City of Man. Their minds will start tripping over long-forgotten appointments about the Second Vatican Council. They’’ ll start to question the reasoning of the whole post-conciliar period. Much for Cardinal Tagle.

They will likewise grow disillusioned with the Holy See’’ s own craven politicking. They’’ ll cast a doubtful eye upon our Holy Mother’’ s alliance with hostile organizations like the United Nations and the Communist Party of China. Like Chesterton, they’’ ll cry: “ We do not desire a church that will move with the world. We desire a church that will move the world.” ” So much for Cardinal Parolin.

More than anything, they’’ ll desire a Church with some trustworthiness.

The last 2 years have actually been embarrassing for Rome. Recently, the Vatican has actually invested half of its time pushing away pious Catholics by fomenting doctrinal confusion, and the other half attempting to avoid utter ecclesial anarchy being launched by progressive churchmen in Germany and South America.

To root the Church in her native soil, they’’ ll look for a male of terrific solemnity and self-confidence—– one deeply immersed in both Catholic custom and Catholic spirituality. They’’ ll need an instructor, however likewise a mystic: one able to ensure the world that the Church is eventually grounded in Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

As Professor de Mattei stated, ““ I think in the Holy Spirit. And for this, I believe that the cardinals ought to pick a pope, not to be worldly or political, however authentically spiritual—– or, more exactly, holy.””


Imagine that: a spiritual pope—– even a holy pope! A pope who thinks that the Church’’ s responsibility is to stimulate supernatural faith in the laypeople! Whose initially and just objective is to make sure that ““ the heart of Jesus, in one of the most Blessed Sacrament, be applauded, loved, and liked with grateful love, at every minute, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time””!


’It ’ s such a wholesome desire “: a basic “ reset ” in the life of the Church. Forget all the intrigue and debate. Shake off the desire for power and benefit. Turn your look to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary.

Cardinal Sarah has likewise long aimed to bring back a spirit of respect to the Holy Sacrifice. As prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, he has not just busily supported neighborhoods that want to commemorate the Extraordinary Form: he has likewise urged liturgical standards that provide a much deeper respect to the Ordinary Form, such as commemorating Mass advertisement orientem, kneeling for Communion, and reception on the tongue.

Still, a Sarah papacy wouldn’’ t be a repudiation of Francis ’ s papacy. On the contrary: he has actually constantly been determined that absolutely nothing he states opposes the Holy Father. As he stated in an effective interview with the Corriere della Sera in 2015,

The fact is that the Church is represented in the world by the vicar of Christ—– that is, by the pope. And whoever protests the pope is, ipso facto, outside the Church.

Those who position me in opposition to the Holy Father can not provide a single word of mine, a single expression or a single mindset of mine to support their ridiculous—– and I would state, wicked—– affirmations. The devil divides, sets individuals versus each other.

I would include that every pope is ideal for his time. Providence cares for us extremely well, you understand.

To maintain the very best of Francis’’ s pastoral solicitude, however to challenge the threats that have actually progressed outgrown the Vatican II period: there is no choice however Robert Cardinal Sarah.

What guy may be so easily called a design of justice, a mirror of holiness, a prototype of piety, a proclaimer of reality, and a protector of the Faith? Who else may we depend be the fear of the wicked, the splendor of the great, the rod of the magnificent, and the hammer of autocrats?

He might look like a long-shot. Like Professor de Mattei, I think in the Holy Spirit. I think that the hearts of our princes might be opened to a male of such remarkable piety and plain factor: a devoted child of our Holy Mother Church and a real daddy to the laypeople in this time of crisis.

May the Lord Jesus not provide us the pontiff we should have, however the pontiff we require.

Saint Peter, ora pro nobis.

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