The Papabili

The currently Popeless situation of the Catholic Church will not continue. A new Pope will be elected soon, probably from among the “Papabili” — Cardinals considered by Vatican-watchers to have a good shot at the job. Among the Papabili are two Africans, five Latin Americans, and two Asians. (And two Americans and a Canadian, by the way.)

BLOOD OF THE LAMB, the forthcoming book by Sam Cabot, which is to say, Carlos Dews and me, centers, among other things, on the future of the Church (as well as its past), about which a conservative Cardinal and a young priest, in chapter 6, have this conversation:

“A fine young man, that,” Lorenzo told Thomas once Father Ateba was gone. “He has a future here in Rome. Or he could go back to Cameroon, and he’ll become a Bishop, without question. The future of the church lies in Africa and Asia. Do you know why?”

Thomas took the coffee Lorenzo handed him and added cream and sugar, marveling at the delicate porcelain. “You’re about to tell me, aren’t you?”

“To enlighten you, yes!” Lorenzo’s tone was self-mocking but he continued seriously. “Because they believe. It’s about faith with them — with us it’s logic, it’s reason, it’s rationalism. Other words for compromise. So-called fairness — accommodation! — they’ll be the death of this church. Oh, wipe off that smile.”

Is Lorenzo Cardinal Cossa right? Who is he, really, and what does he want? Stay tuned to the Vatican Conclave for the answer to the first question. For the other answers, you’ll have to read the book.

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