forecasting the new Pope

There will no doubt be numerous conflicting predictions as to who is likely to be elected our next Pope. Back prior to the election of Benedict XVI, I forecast the wrong individual (I thought he did not have much of a chance) but correctly predicted the name he was to adopt (Benedict).

Papal name

Of the names the new Pope will adopt (and of course there are infinite possibilities), it’s likely that some new name will be used. Something of ‘Clement’ is likely to be incorporated (‘Chana’ in Hebrew), and yet the two that appear to give the kind of impetus needed combine ‘John’ and ‘Maria’. Given that ‘Maria’ is an accepted masculine name (especially when the second part of an hyphenated name or middle name), and that ‘John’ in Hebrew includes within ‘Jochanan’ the sounds (though not exact spelling) of ‘Clement’, I am really putting myself out and suggest that the following new Papal name will be chosen:

PP John-Maria [Ioannes Maria PP]

Papal person

Now as to whom…

Again, it should be recalled that the electoral conclave, comprising of Cardinals under the age of 85, may elect, by a clear 2/3 majority (this is now again the case given some of the minor changes brought into effect by PP Benedict XVI), any catholic man (a woman cannot be elected as currently no woman may be made a bishop in the Catholic Church, and the elect becomes, as Pope, Bishop of Rome).

Still, it’s highly unlikely that a person outside the Conclave would be selected. The only such likely candidate would be someone of the likes of Laurence Freeman – a move away from someone like PP Benedict XVI who, though an outstanding theologian with also a deep engaged praxis, has not ‘reached’ the incredible surge and call to the spiritual life that is ripe.

So if it is someone chosen that, though requiring also a solid administrative capability is also someone that seeks for ways to bring Christ to those who hunger for the spirit, there is one outstanding Cardinal in the mix:

Cardinal Péter Erdő

Coat of Arms

As an interesting side-note, it is only after putting the above together that I looked at Péter Erdõ’s coat of arms. What is of significance here is that it makes the inclusion of ‘Maria’ in an adopted Papal name all the more sensible:

Cardinal Péter Erdő







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