Sunday, April 10, 2005

Can you predict the next pope?

I've just been reading, Universi Dominici Gregis, the rules for the papal election, and a couple of thoughts hit me.

Despite the way the rules go into the procedure if a non-cardinal (or even a non-priest) is elected, we all know that the next pope will actually be one of the current cardinals, and there's been a lot of talk about St Malachy / Malachi and his predictions of the next pope.

If none of the recent sedevacantist claimants to being a Pope counts as an anti-pope, then the next pope's Malachian motto would be Glory of the olive. If one is a genuine anti-pope then his motto will be Peter the Roman.

It seems to me that the Malachy prophesy can be tested on this point. There's only a hundred and seventeen cardinals under the ages of 80. Two have been excused attending because of poor health, so there's only 115 possibilities for the next pontiff.

So, here's the challenge. Before the cardinals choose the new pope, pick the one to whom each of the two possible mottos best applies. Then see if the cardinals agree with you.

If you feel that 115 people is too many to investigate, there's about 8 or 9 who have been suggested as likely candidates. Pick a couple of them & a random outsider. Post your analysis here, so others can pick different cardinals.

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