We heard the announcement late this morning, eastern time, that the date for the papal conclave is set: Tuesday, March 12. We’ve all been guessing this date since Pope Benedict XVI resigned. The next guessing game is when will we have a new pope? Based on the last few, we should have a pope by the end of next week. But anything could happen: there are, after all, plenty of things to consider, and there is no obvious candidate.
Sure there are what our media call “frontrunners,” but really, no one is running for anything at the end of the day. It’s not American politics here, even if there might be a bit of subtle “positioning” happening during the meetings of cardinals between now and next week. In truth, the cardinals are getting to know each other, hear the problems of the Church worldwide, and get a sense of who might be the best man to lead the Church in the coming years.
Our April issue of St. Anthony Messenger is at the printer now, with a very nice cover story on Pope Benedict, written by our Franciscan Editor, Pat McCloskey, OFM. Short of a major, unexpected delay in the election, our new pope will grace our May cover, along with a story that Assistant Editor Christopher Heffron rifles into production when the announcement, “Habemus Papam!” (“We have a Pope!”) is made and the crowds begin to cheer.
CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano