Tag Archives: John XXIII

What IF Pope Francis Dies During The COVID-19 Pandemic?

by Anura Guruge

A friend (& collaborator), a devout, lifelong Catholic asked me to address this.
So, I am.

Pope Francis did have the flu at the start of the pandemic,
and this ‘concern’ went ‘unsaid’.

One could assume that God will NOT allow this to happen.

If so this is all academic.

There are essentially 4 scenarios:

  1. Francis, prior to anything going awry, issues an edit that the conclave can be delayed.
    Highly, highly UNLIKELY. Popes hate having the papacy vacant — on the valid premise that ‘when the cat is away the mice will play‘.
  2. Francis, prior to anything going awry, issues an edit permitting secure, remote voting.
    Unlikely, and the Vatican will struggle trying to implement, in time, a proven, secure methodology to permit totally untraceable vote casting.
  3. Cardinal electors already in Rome and those able to travel will hold a conclave and ‘openly’ elect an ELDERLY caretaker pope with a tacit understanding that he will resign (per Benedict XVI) in June 2021.
  4. Cardinal electors already in Rome and those able to travel will hold a conclave and elect a new pope — with no caveats.

The issue, of course, is the travel restrictions.

Italian quarantine rules per se will NOT apply since the Vatican is its own independent sovereign state.

There is NO airport at the Vatican, but there is a helipad. So, cardinal electors could be choppered in from a nearby country that permits air travel — e.g., Croatia.

As I have repeatedly pointed out in my various ‘conclave’ books there is NO minimum quorum for a conclave. NONE. But, there is the sacrosanct two-thirds majority requirement. So, just 3 electors will suffice. It would not be difficult to muster 40 cardinal electors in/around Rome — at any given time.

Pope John XXIII was elected in 1958 by 51 electors. So, you don’t need 100+ electors to elect a good pope!

The current Dean, 85-year old Giovanni Battista Re would make a good caretaker pope. I think most electors will agree that he is trustworthy. Angelo Scola, 78, might be a great compromise — a cross between a caretaker and ‘normal’.

So, those, per I, are the only 4 meaningful and relevant scenarios.

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by Anura Guruge

Pope John XXIII Is NOT A Saint!

by Anura Guruge

From the Vatican as in http://www.vatican.va


Click to ENLARGE. From Google News. Google ‘Bergamo virus’.

Check YouTube for Bergamo Virus videos.

Bergamo has become Italy’s EPICENTER for COVID-19.

Bergamo is Pope John XXIII’s hometown. 

If Pope John XXIII was a Saint he would NOT let this happen to Bergamo. Simple as that. QED.

Pope John XXIII was an exceptional human being and an outstanding pope.

He is NOT called the ‘Good Pope’ for nothing.

You could trust John XXIII — and thousands, if not more, did.

He is credited with personally saving thousands of Jews during WW II — and that was way before he became pope.

Per Catholic tradition Saints sit on the right side of God (quite literally).

So, IF John XXIII was a Saint, he would be seated close to God.

John XXIII would not sit and let humanity suffer — and he would definitely intervene to help Bergamo.

IF John XXIII is a Saint Bergamo would NOT be the epicenter for COVID-19.

I have studied Pope John XXIII.

I wrote a book about him (below).

Trust me on this. I have no axe to grind.

Pope John XXIII is NOT a Saint.

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by Anura Guruge

The Next Pope: Cardinal Leonardo Sandri As A Papabile Has 2.75 Strikes Against Him.

by Anura Guruge

Guruge 2020 Papabili Series — #I 

Argentinian Cardinal Leonardo Sandri (b. Nov. 1943) is definitely papabile. He was papabile in 2013 and got some early votes.

His standing has gone up since. In July 2018, his good friend, Pope Francis, made him one of the four ‘irregular’ cardinal bishops. That was noteworthy, an indubitable vote of confidence by the pope.

Then in December 2019 his fellow cardinal bishops elected him Vice Dean. They elected Cardinal Battista Re (b. Jan. 1934) as Dean. So, Re is already past 80 and as such will not be able to participate in the next conclave. Thus, it would be Sandri who will be the acting ‘Dean’ (the role that Re had in 2013). Being acting ‘Dean’ is certainly not a negative vis-à-vis being a papabile. Benedict XVI (i.e., Cardinal Ratzinger) was the Dean in 2005 when he was elected pope. As ‘Dean’ the electors can never lose sight of you. You are always there in the conclave — center stage, orchestrating proceedings.

But, Sandri has two definite strikes against him:

  1. He is another Latin American — with Francis having been the first. The electors may feel that two Latin American popes, with very similar outlooks and temperament, back-to-back might be a tad too much, particularly so in that Francis was the first from across the Atlantic. So that is Strike #1.
  2. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the famous Vatican whistleblower, has explicitly implicated Sandri in the sex abuse mire by stating that he was actively involved in the coverup of the egregious sexual misconducts of the Legionary of Christ founder, Marciel Maciel. That should be Strike #2.

His age could start to become a factor. He is currently 76 and getting older.

Francis & John XXIII were elected at 76 and Benedict XVI at 78. So, he is still ‘good’ but his age could be half-a-strike against him.

Then, there is his friendship with Francis. Francis is not as popular among the electors as had been Benedict XVI or John Paul II. So, this could be a negative, quarter-of-a-strike against him.

He, despite these strikes, remains papabile.

So, do not rule him out as yet.

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by Anura Guruge

Pope Paul VI Was A Very Decent Human Being, But He Was NO Saint!

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE. Google for all the coverage you seek.

Pope Paul VI (1897 – 1978), pope from 1963 to 1978, was a GOOD pope, he was also an outstanding human being and had a heart of gold. I like Paul VI. He was a likeable person.

But he is NO Saint. That is not a sin. We can’t all be saints.

The Vatican’s preference of late to try and canonize all recent popes, within just decades of their demise, is DEVALUING the sanctity of sainthood.

The rush to make John Paul II to a saint was unbecoming and it does not sit well with many.

Pope John XXIII earned his and his took longer.

I am sure that Paul VI will be the first to agree that he is NOT a saint.

He had issues and made some serious miscalculations that are still impacting the WORLD when it comes to birth control (his infamous Humanae vitae) and sexuality. And despite his moralistic views on the later, even today there are questions as to HIS sexuality. He was NO saint.

I will, time permitting, elaborate on this in the coming weeks, BUT I want to go on record that I, for one, feel very strongly that canonizing Paul VI, this early and this quickly, is plain wrong and crazy.

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by Anura Guruge

Pope Francis In Myanmar Comes Across As A Partisan, Gutless Wimp!

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE. From the “Washington Post” coverage.

Access to the transcript of the entire SHORT speech from the Vatican. Click image to access.

The KEY passage from the speech above. He even skirts mentioning RELIGION. How poor.

There are times to be diplomatic and then there are times when one has to stand up against egregious crimes against humanity. In that Pope Francis failed miserably and demonstrated why he will always be an ineffective, pedestrian pope — and never reach the GREATNESS shown by the likes of John XXIII, Pius X, John Paul II or even Benedict XV (15, not 16).

The pope has — and had — absolutely nothing to lose. He only answers to God, and one hopes God would not have minded him talking out against genocide — BUT then again you would think God should be able to do something about it directly. C’est la vie.

Less than 1% of Myanmar’s population, if that, is Catholic — though they have a newly minted cardinal and about 22 bishops.

The pope could have been more forceful and emphatic. What they are doing to the Rohingya is dead wrong. The pope lost some of his credibility and moral authority by delivering this flaccid speech — and he didn’t have much of either to begin with.

Ahh! To have again have a good pope. Maybe the next one after this rather pale imitation of a pope.

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by Anura Guruge

Pope John Paul I, “The Smiling Pope” Of But 33-Days, Was Born This Day, 96-Years Ago; October 17, 1921.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE and read. Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_Paul_I

My 2008 book, “Popes and the Tale Of Their Names” started off, on Page 1, with John Paul 1. Click on image below for details on this well-received book.

One of my favorite popes, next to Pope John XXIII (in honor of whom he picked the first part of his double-barreled name), despite his ever so fleeting papacy — my admiration based on what I learnt of him prior to becoming pope.

He was indeed a good man. IF he had lived longer he would have been one of the GREAT popes. Possibly revolutionized the office — hence the lingering suspicions that he was indeed murdered at the Vatican. I actually do believe that something untoward did happen and it wasn’t just a case of a poorly treated dicky heart.

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by Anura Guruge

Vatican II, That Redefined What It Meant To Be ‘Catholic’, Started This Day, 55-Years Ago — October 11, 1962.

by Anura Guruge

From my 2014 “Popes: 101 Facts & Trivia”. See image below to access details of the book. Click to ENLARGE and read here.

Click to ENLARGE and admire here. This went with my Pope John XXIII book.

Click to ENLARGE and study. My ‘magic’ Excel spreadsheet on the Ecumenical Councils. First time I have shared this.

Vatican II, as most Catholics know, was a BIG deal. It still divides many Catholics and the history of the Catholic Church is now clearly demarcated by ‘pre-Vatican II‘ and ‘post-Vatican II‘. For many it will be best known as the Ecumenical Council that gave us the Vernacular Mass (i.e., the non-Latin Mass).

To I, it will always be indelibly associated with my alltime favorite Pope, John XXIII. This was his crowning achievement in a life full of many.

55-years ago. Wow. Wasn’t that long ago.

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by Anura Guruge

Conclave Sizes Since Sixtus V, in 1586, Set Max. College Size to 70 & Then John XXIII Nixing That.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

The last two conclaves, the ones in 2013 & 2005, both had 115 electors.

The prior two conclaves, 50 days apart in 1978, both had 111 electors — though it was NOT the same 111 cardinals.

Quite the coincidence.

I had been wondering whether we ever had a ‘full-house’ conclave, i.e., 70 between 1586 and John XXIII, and 120 after Paul VI (#263).

I (obviously) knew that the 2005 conclave with 115 was the largest. So, I knew we had yet to hit the 120. Was not sure about the 70. Appears that we could have had 70 in Dec. 1565 and then in 1669. There were 70 cardinals ‘around’ the time of the sede vacante. But, we never did get 70 attending a post Sixtus V, pre. John XXIII conclave. We had two 66s in the 17th century. We also had one with 34 cardinals. So when I hear folks say that the pope doesn’t want to see the numbers electors fall below 100 — it makes me chortle. Per that metric we can afford to go down to 59.

So here is the chart. Enjoy.

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by Anura Guruge

“Pro Hac Vice” Titles: History and Trivia.

by Anura Guruge

The plain exterior of San Cesareo in Palatio, the FUTURE “John Paul II’s” deaconry when he was created a Cardinal Priest in June 1967 — 11-years ahead of becoming Pope.

Pro hac vice, in the context of the Catholic Church, is when a Roman deaconry (normally to be assigned to a cardinal deacon) is elevated by the pope, for the time being, to the status of a titular church so that it can be assigned to a newly created Cardinal Priest. So, it means that the Cardinal Priest is getting a deaconry that has been ‘elevated for the duration’ to be a titular church. The Latin pro hac vice meaning “for this occasion only” — designating that it is a temporary elevation. In theory you can also have a pro hac vice situation if the pope decides to assign a titular church to a new created Cardinal Deacon.

Which pope held a pro hac vice title when elected?

John Paul II (#265), when elected pope on October 16, 1978.

From what I can see (and I confess I have not done exhaustive research into this topic) John Paul II was the only pope who has had a pro hac vice title.

Again, from what I can see, there is an easy explanation as to why other popes did not hold pro hac vice titles. I really haven’t had a chance to research the history of pro hac vice (and doubt whether I will get a chance to do so in my lifetime). I had assumed that pro hac vice usage came to be with  Paul VI (#263) given that I could not recall seeing any pro hac vice prior to Paul VI (and my memory isn’t that great when it comes to the histories of individual cardinals). I also thought that the reason why Paul may have come with the idea was rather straightforward. I have now been informed that pro hac vice pre-dates Paul VI — though I don’t have a detailed analysis of its prior usage; i.e., was it mainly in the case of jus optionis promotions. If somebody could do this research, I will be extremely grateful.

Sixtus ‘iron pope’ V (#228), the Franciscan, ex-inquisitor general, on December 3, 1586 in his landmark Postquam verus constitution that set the parameters and tone for the College and curia for the next 350 years did as follows. Four months later, in his Religiosa constitution, he clearly articulated that that there should not be any inter-mingling of titles [i.e., churches] and deaconries.

Between 1586 and 1963, the College was maintained at or below, 70 and there was never a shortage of titles and deaconries. So there was no need for pro hac vice — which is mainly used when a pope runs short of cardinal priest titles (though there is nothing to stop a pope creating a cardinal deacon with a pro hac vice title ‘demoted’ to a deaconry).

The came John XXIII (#262). He was a pope in a hurry, with a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve. Without ever putting down anything in writing that he was overriding Sixtus V, he just waived aside Sixtus V’s time-tested edicts re. the College creating titles and deaconries, in a rush, to accommodate his desire to enlarge and diversify the College. Succeeding popes (other than poor John Paul I (#264) who, alas, didn’t get a chance) have followed John’s example with gusto — with none having, at a minimum, the moral fortitude (if not the necessary anatomical appendages) to set a maximum size for the College (and the orders within it) as did the iron pope — given that setting a ceiling would be seen by prelates as an impediment to their progress up the Church ladder.

So, Paul VI resorted to pro hac vice, when he was short on titles.

At this stage it is worth clarifying that the distinction between Pro hac vice, which means for this occasion, and pro illa vice for that occasion. Given this subtle difference in tense, pro hac vice is said to apply to currently living cardinals, while pro illa vice applies to deceased cardinals. But, this convention isn’t strictly maintained and one can think of both terms as being equivalent.

This now brings us to Cardinal Priest Andrzej Maria Deskur’s death on September 3, 2011 — he having been a cardinal with a pro hac vice title. The next day, our frequent contributor, Louis Epstein left a comment that started: ‘Cardinal Deskur (the Pole to whom JP II gave his own old cardinalitial title after a seven-year vacancy) died yesterday.‘ But, there was an interesting twist here not fully reflected in Louis’ comment. Cardinal Deskur died a cardinal priest, but had been created, by his friend, as a cardinal deacon. Karol Józef Wojtyla (John Paul II) could not have been a cardinal deacon since he was mainly a pastoral cleric with only ‘visiting’ roles in the curia. And that was the rub. Karol Wojtyla was created with a pro hac vice title. At the age of 47 years and one month, Wojtyla, the Archbishop of Kraków since 1964, was the 3rd but last cardinal priest named by Paul VI in his June 26, 1967 consistory at which he created 27 new cardinals. This was Paul’s 2nd cardinal creating consistory, he also having created 27 in his first one in February 1965. Quite a few others at this consistory also got pro hav vice titles.

The deaconry assigned to the future pope was San Cesareo in Palatio (in the palace). The Italians (who should know) claim that this is the wrong name! They say, in the Italian version of Wikipedia: ‘The church of San Cesareo de Appia, commonly and erroneously known as San Cesareo in Palatio , is a church of Rome, in the Celio district , near the port of San Sebastian.’ Hhmmm. You would think that the Vatican (though not in Italy per se) would get this right.

The church, whose current structure is from the 17th century, is not very prepossessing from the outside, does, however, have a rather striking mosaic on the altar wall of God the Father among the angels.

As deaconry, it was left unassigned to a cardinal from April 1939 to December 1958 (those being the good ol’ days when there was no mad scramble for titles to accommodate the never ending Red Tide). Then it was assigned to an Italian cardinal, Francesco Bracci. He held it until until his death on March 24, 1967.

Three months later it was assigned to the Archbishop from Poland. He had it for 11 years. When he became pope, he left it unassigned until May 25, 1985 when it was given to Deskur. In January 1996, Deskur chose to be a cardinal priest per jus optionis given that he had completed the requisite 10 years. He then got San Cesareo pro hac vice.

Will be interesting to see who gets it next. I bet it will be a Pole.

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by Anura Guruge

The Monumental ‘First Council Of Nicaea’ Came To An End This Day 1,692-Years Ago! August 25, 325.

by Anura Guruge

Click to ENLARGE and admire here. Another of my ‘magic’ papal Excel spreadsheets. I created this one when I was writing my book “Popes: 101 Facts & Trivia” in 2014.

To say that this First Council of Nicaea was historic would be somewhat of an understatement. It was kind of pivotal to the growth of Christianity as the dominating World religion.

It was THE FIRST ever ecumenical council — 20 others followed culminating in the famous ‘Vatican II” convoked by Pope St. John XXIII, in 1962.

It was the council that came up with the original version of the, “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible …“, Nicene Creed.

It came up with 20 new canons — the first to have been promulgated by such a council.

The first of these, i.e., Canon #1, was a prohibited priests and monks from self-castrating themselves! I kid you NOT. Look it up.

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by Anura Guruge