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Analysis - This Weigel-Magister axis doesn't seem right
Or: could "Pope Weigel" become a reality?




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.


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perhaps one specific curial Cardinal, one not making any noise, whose position he wished to undermine; and also an outdated view of the relatively much weaker position of the United States in today's world.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.