EDITORIAL - Don’t count your Popes before they are elected

The Freeman
EDITORIAL - Donât count your Popes before they are elected

Talk is now rife that Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, former Manila archbishop, and current head of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Evangelization, is now in line to become Pope. Cardinal Tagle is now said to be the third most important figure in the Holy See after Pope Francis and Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

So, yes, the possibility exists that Cardinal Tagle may one day become Pope.

There is no doubt that such an event would be a tremendous honor for the Philippines, the only Catholic nation is Southeast Asia and cradle of Christianity in the East.

But we should not count our chickens before they hatch or wish for such an event to happen quickly. It is premature to speculate on such a possibility.

Cardinal Tagle’s ascension as Pope --if that were to ever happen at all-- would also have to mean that Pope Francis stops becoming Pope, either by death or infirmity. And wishing for someone’s death or infirmity isn’t a very Christian thing to do. Of course, that would also have to mean the death or infirmity for Cardinal Parolin, whether or not he becomes Pope too.

Again, a very unchristian thing to hope for.

It should also be noted that while the very people who choose whoever should become Pope, the College of Cardinals, may appear to be holy and infallible before the rest of the world, the truth is that are still men like the rest of us.

And just like men of the rest of the world they are prone to their own politics, inner squabbles, weaknesses, and biases. It is likely that they will want to keep the Papacy limited to a select group of people or nations like they have done for centuries.

If Tagle does become Pope one day then that would be reason to rejoice, but this is a possibility that we should not get too excited about too soon. Don’t count your Popes before they are elected.


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