The Waldorf Astoria, New York
October 18, 2012
[I]t becomes clear that, as Italian Vaticanista Sandro Magister wrote recently, the new pope’s First Hundred Days ought to see a massive housecleaning and the first steps toward building a new institutional culture in the Church’s central bureaucracy, so that it becomes an instrument of the New Evangelization, not an impediment to it.
Magister, after a correct analysis of the strange forces pushing the candidacy of Cardinal Scherer, coincidentally proposes as a solution... Weigel's man, Cardinal Dolan.
So, are we supposed to think "Pope Weigel" will become a reality? We think not.
Is an American Pope possible? Yes, eminently, this time more than ever. In this, we agree with Magister. Cardinal Wuerl's declaration that there could not be a pope from "the Superpower" indicated: first, his dislike for specific fellow countrymen of his in the College, perhaps one specific curial Cardinal, one not making any noise, whose position he wished to undermine; and also an outdated view of the relatively much weaker position of the United States in today's world.
Could it be Cardinal Dolan? There is a diffuse feeling that he, as well as some noisy American prelates, speaks through the media, and that "mainstream-media-Catholics" such as Weigel represent his views. And the boisterous, belligerent, and particularly imperious and ideological tone epitomized by Weigel and his allies make a Dolan papacy very unlikely. That is the fault of what Weigel in a fit of wrongheaded patriotism calls "Team America", but that is rather a "Team of some Americans".
Does the Church need more noisy gestures from lukewarm sources? Does she need more instability? An American Pope, certainly, but one who is a sterling administrator and understands the need for festina lente, not presidential-like "first 100 days". Such antics, including press conferences during the period of reflection that is that of the pre-conclave General Congregations, and exclusive interviews for the favored media, are beneath the papacy. Rome is not Manhattan, and it is not Washington - and that is something to be celebrated, not regretted.