Ah, that moment when the new Pope walks out on the balcony–Habemus Papam (“We have a Pope”) still echoing in the Roman hills. Looking out on all those expectant faces, what will he be thinking? Or feeling?
Will he have already decided on his second act as Pontiff (the first being his name)? Will he want nothing more than chapel time to pray? Will he want to huddle with confidants? Will he even have any in Rome? Or will he crave solitude?
His exterior might be serene. But inside? I remember landing aboard an aircraft carrier, very calm, in control. But I was pure adrenaline. I could have dunked a basketball with two hands. The same with our new Pope?
If I look outside the Vatican gates however, over the heads of the exuberant believers, my pondering stops. What I see is definitive. Indisputable. As in previous centuries, there are forces aligned outside the gates who want to destroy the Catholic Church. But now they seem larger, more threatening, diabolical.
In the center of a phalanx formation–the battering rams painted black–you can see secularism, relativism and atheism. Righteous in their belief that their time has come, they’re intent on killing all and taking no prisoners.
On the left flank poised behind dark red shields, spears held aloft, progressivism, laicism and modernism are nervously preparing for battle. Their mission is to forage and pillage the institutional booty that finally seems within their grasp.
On the right flank, a curious mix of ragtag soldiers–corruption, scandal, hubris, spiritual competition and sin. They surreptitiously infiltrated the Church long ago but have now regrouped in the main body for the coup de grâce. All things considered, a formidable army.
So what kind of Pope will shepherd the forces of good against this inevitable onslaught? The Pope in my mind’s eye. The man standing on the sun filled balcony–who sees what I see beyond the gates.
The new Pope:
Will exude unbounded joy and passion as a dynamic evangelist for his God and Church.
Will not be a philosopher or a theologian in the image of JPII and B16.
Will be a theologian nonetheless in that his Catholicity is well grounded by his doctoral studies.
Will be a Pope of the people due to his accessibility and good humor.
Will be resolute in his orthodoxy and sell the Truth with an endearing personality.
Won’t suffer fools readily and will storm the Vatican with a cleansing torrent.
Will be a natural pastor and optimistic warrior.
Will show great humanity.
Will be a great communicator due to his affable nature and intelligence.
Will be larger-than-life but a humble servant.
Will embrace the leadership requirements of the Papacy.
Will not speak Italian.
Will be an American.
Is what the Church needs at this point in history.
The new Pope will be Cardinal Timothy Dolan.