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So, there’s a new pope in town…

Shore ‘nuf.  And I admit, almost against my will, I did start to get caught up in the joy and hope of Pope Francis’ election.  But that was after I fussed and fumed and had my say about the whole process.  One thing in particular that bothered me, and still does, is the fact that the pope is elected by a two-thirds majority.  The cardinals all prayed the Holy Spirit would direct their deliberations, but hold on.  If their prayers were answered, and the Holy Spirit did indeed enter into their decision-making, should there not have been unanimity?  Do they not all share in the Spirit of Christ equally?  Then why not work to achieve complete consensus to choose the Vicar of Christ?  To leave such a momentous decision to majority rule would seem to me to make the process too vulnerable to political agendas and all too human machinations.

To come before the church and say with a barely concealed shrug, “Well, here’s the guy most of us think God wants to run the church.  Meh, we did our best,” or “We prayed for the mind and heart of Christ and standing together in complete solidarity we support this man as God’s choice for our pope,” – which would seem to be the far better sign to those witnessing the process?

Consensus-building is not easy.  It takes time, patience, and most importantly, the will to do it.  If the College of Cardinals did not, for whatever reasons, wish to  go that route, there is still another way, I believe a more excellent way, and it has biblical precedence.

In the Book of Acts, the eleven apostles were trying to decide who should take the place of Judas who killed himself after betraying Christ.  There were two candidates vying for the spot, so the apostles prayed, “Lord, show us which one of these two you have chosen,” and then they cast lots! That’s right – they rolled the dice, so to speak, and left the matter completely up to God.  Think about that – days, possibly weeks of enclave could be reduced to a few minutes, a-and there’d be no possibility of human interference (as long as the process were carefully scrutinized, and I’m more than willing to take on that job!).  A pope designated by the finger of God.

Sure.  I know.  Never gonna happen, but I can’t help thinking it’s because humans just have a hard time leaving matters of great import in the hands of the Divine.  There’s a sorry lack of trust there, and maybe just a touch of arrogance, and yes, I confess I am speaking from my own personal experience.  Christ said the kingdom of heaven belonged to the little children – perhaps because kids can happily leave decisions of great import in hands bigger than their own.

And then run out to play.

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