The cardinals of the world continue to gather in Rome.
One hundred fifteen will ultimately participate in the election of the new pope, although several dozen non-voting cardinals will attend. Scotland's disgraced cleric, Cardinal Keith O'Brien has recused himself saying he will withdraw from public life and the Cardinal from Jakarta, 78-year-old archbishop emeritus Julius Riyadi Damaatmadja, SJ, will not attend for health reasons which reduced the 117 electors to 115. The start of the conclave is still undetermined as the cardinals hold preliminary meetings.
the cardinals continue to be dogged by advice from those inside and outside the Church. One of the silliest in my opinion came from a self-proclaimed Hindu statesman proclaiming that "Hindus think men-only pope's conclave is 'out-of-line.'" Zed put out a press release with this advice for the cardinals:
Rajan Zed suggested that theologians and canonists of the Church needed to address this issue urgently; re-evaluate Church doctrine, theology, male hierarchy and history; and give women a chance in decision-making and leadership positions in the Church. They needed to re-look at Church’s Cannon Law 1024, which said—Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination.This is like the Church of England telling Ghandi what Indian Hindus should do about their religion. Ecumenism has obviously gone to the man's head.
Women should be ordained to priesthood and should perform the same functions as male priests. Treating women as not equal to men was clearly a case of discrimination promoting gender inequality. God never wanted us to undervalue our sisters, mothers and daughters, Zed argued.
Pope Benedict gave wiser advice in a February 14th address when he warned against the media referring back to Vatican II when there was "almost a Council apart, and the world perceived the Council through the latter, through the media. Thus, the Council that reached the people with immediate effect was that of the media, not that of the Fathers." He went on to say:
We know that this Council of the media was accessible to everyone. Therefore, this was the dominant one, the more effective one, and it created so many disasters, so many problems, so much suffering: seminaries closed, convents closed, banal liturgy … and the real Council had difficulty establishing itself and taking shape; the virtual Council was stronger than the real Council.What Pope Benedict didn't say in this address was how many cardinals and bishops helped to promote the "media council" and aid it in its destructive work. But it seems clear that he intended his February 14th address, taking place several days after he announced his resignation, as a warning to the cardinals to resist media spin of the conclave. The media's "political hermeneutic" saw the council as a "power struggle between different trends in the Church" and is likely to have that same view of the conclave. Even more blatantly than in the 1960s, the mainstream media continue to spin the news hoping to impact decisions in the Church and conform her to their worldly views of power to the people. Let us pray that the cardinals in the conclave have the good sense and spiritual wisdom to give the opinions of the world promoted by a godless, and even pernicious, media no consideration in their decisions affecting the future of the Church.
Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, pray for the cardinals and inspire them with your choice for our new Holy Father, through Christ our Lord. Amen.