Posts Tagged ‘Papal conclave’

article-2291993-189ABE56000005DC-746_964x577God knows what Pope we need, so why do we bother to pray? The Holy Spirit will provide, right?

Jimmy Akin has a post on this topic. Among other things, he quotes Pope Benedict:

When asked whether the Holy Spirit is responsible for the election of a pope, he said:

I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. . . . I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined.

He continued:

There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!

A while back, I commented on conversations with atheists about the purpose of prayer, comparing such conversations to a game in which one side is playing to the rules of cricket, and the other to the rules of tennis. I suggest atheists (and in retrospect, many theists) have an ‘Our Santa Claus which art in Heaven’ view of prayer.

This isn’t the Catholic view of prayer (it may be the view of some Catholics, but it isn’t the teaching of the Church). What we believe is far more scary. We believe that God works through us – not just through our actions, but also through our prayer. Could He work without us? For God, all things are possible. But He doesn’t. He waits to be asked.

This is an awesome privilege, and also a terrifying responsibility. If we don’t ask – sincerely, adamently, and insistently – we won’t get.

In my post on intercessory prayer, I said:

We pray in order to participate in the work of God. God has so ordered the world that his intercession needs to be asked for. Some suggest praying triggers the action of a natural law built into the structure of the universe, others that God himself ‘stands at the door and knocks, and behold, if any should open it I will enter’.

To take a parenting analogy, we are like the six year old that helps make dinner. Mum could have done it herself – perhaps faster and more efficiently. But she didn’t. It was Junior that peeled the carrots, stirred the gravy, and put a date and a spoon of brown sugar in the space left after coring the apples. Yes, Mum chose to make the delivery of important parts of the meal dependent on Junior’s help –but nonetheless, Junior helped to make dinner.

And, like the six-year old, there is a point to this. We are learning how to intercede. According to the Bible, according to Catholic teachings, intercession is an important part of the work of the Church in Heaven. This fact, by the way, lends weight to the idea that prayer and natural law are closely linked. We sometimes talk about the saints praying for us as if they were members of the court of a distant oriental potentate. But, of course, they are the beloved children of the Father, and we are their younger siblings. So if the saints intercede on our behalf, as we are taught they do, it isn’t to bend God’s ear until he gives in to the nagging and changes his mind. Rather, surely, it is because the prayer of a saint has an effective impact on the universe.

Dan Burke, in a post called ‘Are you insane?’ sums it up. ‘If we don’t pray, God’s grace will not be granted.’ He quotes Carmelite Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen:

“God wishes our collaboration. He wants it so much that he has made the granting of certain graces, necessary for our salvation, and that of others, dependent upon our prayers. In other words, by the merits of Jesus, grace – God’s infinite mercy – is ready to be poured out for us abundantly… but it will not be poured out unless there is someone who raises supplicating hands to heaven asking for it. If prayer does not ascend to the throne of the Most High, grace will not be granted.” (Divine Intimacy – Apostolic Prayer)

So let’s storm heaven with prayers for a holy, wise, competent pope. And let’s keep praying after the conclave, in case we’re too late and he isn’t in the room to be chosen.

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Copied, with grateful thanks, from Catholic Memes.

Copied, with grateful thanks, from Catholic Memes.

From Rocco Palmo who blogs at Whispers in the Loggia:

O God,
our eternal shepherd,
who guides your people with a father’s care,
grant to your Church
a Pope acceptable to you
in holiness of life,
one entirely consecrated
to the service of your people.

If you haven’t been reading Rocco Palmo, take a look at his insightful views on what’s happening in Rome and his up-to-the minute commentary.

On La Stampa’s blog, Marco Tosatti says:

We are living an extraordinary Conclave. In a century of Church history, there has neve been a Conclave with so many credible possible popes. We can list at least ten, twelve names; when, for instance the situation in 2005 Conclave was incredibly poor. And in the past the race was between two, or three candidates, not more. Benedict XVI has made a great job, leaving a Church definitely stronger and cleaner than the Church he has inherited…

Yesterday, the cardinal electors each celebrated Mass in his own titular church. Here are some quotes from their homilies:

We need to trust the Church. This is a beautiful moment in the life of the Church, people from all around the world are following what we are doing with joy and hope – Cardinal Scherer of Brazil

God, give us a holy shepherd. A pope that could build the Church with the witness of his life – Cardinal Scola of Italy

Now is time to raise our heads, asking which is the road that will lead us from imprisonment to the true and only home – Cardinal Erdo of Hungary

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit illumines the church to choose a new pope who will confirm us in our faith and make more visible the love of the good shepherd – Cardinal O’Malley of Boston

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pope-candidates-cardinalsH/T Lisa Hendy at Patheos for this clip from Rome Report on what the Cardinals will be thinking about in the Conclave that starts next Tuesday.

Cardinal Bertone has listed what he believes the Cardinals need to look for.

John Allen gives his view of the questions facing the Cardinals.

He has also been running a series on papabile.

And speaking of papabile, the Anchoress talks about some of the less well known possibilities.

UPDATE: La Stampa has a neat interactive with all the cardinals.

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From Edward Pentin (again):

The Vatican invited the entire Church to pray with cardinals when they dedicate [Wednesday] afternoon to prayer and adoration in St. Peter’s basilica for the upcoming papal election. The prayers begin at 5pm Rome time (11a.m. EST). [Thursday 5am New Zealand time: JP]

According to Vatican Information Service:

“[At this morning’s general congregation] there was also a proposal, endorsed by the Particular Congregation, to dedicate tomorrow afternoon to prayer in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Cardinal Dean, Angelo Sodano, will lead the prayers. This initiative will also serve as an invitation to the entire Church to pray at this important moment. The ceremony is open to the public so any faithful who so desire may attend.”

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Vatican Insider (La Stampa) has set up a blog that is posting up-to-the-minute news feeds in the run-up to the conclave and throughout the conclave.

UPDATE: And here’s today’s news roundup from National Catholic Register’s Rome Correspondent, Edward Pentin.

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H/T to all sorts of people for pointing me towards a rather cool interactive at La Stampa.

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