Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Selection has begun!

Well, the College of Cardinals has started their conclave to elect a new Pope.

This may be interesting, historically, as the Holy See isn't the only absolute monarchy to elect its head of state.

Past elective monarchs include:

Holy Roman empire

These were all ancient examples, of course, and there are few examples of such today, as only Malaysia and The Kingdom of Cambodia elect their monarchs in our modern world.  Feudalism is a dying form of government.

As for the Pope, since the 19th century, the interregnum, or as the RCC calls it, the Sede vacante has varied in length.  For each of the following Popes, here is the length of the interregnum before his election:

Pius VII         207 days
Leo XII         39 days
Pius VIII         49 days
Gregory XVI 63 days
Pius IX         15 days
Leo XIII         13 days
Pius X         15 days
Benedict XV   14 days
Pius XI         15 days
Pius XII         20 days
John XXIII 19 days
Paul VI         18 days
John Paul I 20 days
John Paul II 18 days
Benedict XVI 17 days

So, the chances are the we may see a new pope in just a few days, or this could drag out for the better part of a year.  I am sure that this has been picked apart ad nauseum by the press, and to tell you the truth, I just can't bring myself to read about it that much.

Not that I don't care.  It isn't, of course, my primary care or even in the top ten, but given that the man who is finally chosen will determine the course of that organization for the next ten years at least, and possibly beyond, if he is young enough, yes, that is enough to make me give a damn about who the man finally chosen is and what his politics will be.

My fondest hope is that they inexplicably choose a fairly liberal Pope who will at least halt this slide to the right and fanaticism of the past two, but to hope for that is, I think, futile.  The conservatives do still seem to have a fairly solid grasp on the reins of power in that body, and likely will for some time to come.

In a way that is bad news, since it signals the continuance of the strident opposition of the RCC against all progressive movements around the globe.

It is good news from the perspective that such strident conservatism will most likely continue the loss of victi... er, members as time goes by.  This is only the beginning, and it can only mean good things for folks like me in the future.

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