A new rule to make the conclave work
The college of Cardinals has become more international, said George Weigel at First Things – and that has obvious advantages. “A wider representation of countries and ecclesial experiences should, in theory, allow for a broader-gauged reflection on the Catholic reality in different parts of the world, both in the Roman offices, in whose work the cardinals participate, and in a papal conclave.”
The trouble is that the cardinals don’t know each other. “They’ve not had the opportunity to learn each other’s concerns and views, beyond what they read in the media.” And that creates problems for a conclave: the cardinals will have to “rely on the world press for information about men they really should know from personal experience”.
Weigel suggested a solution. Conclaves currently start voting as soon as they meet. But the rules could be changed so that a three-day “pause” precedes voting. “Wouldn’t such a pause for common prayer, reflection, and fraternity, with no outside interference, help facilitate the kind of prudent decision-making the Church always hopes for in a papal election?”
An archaeological find which ISIS missed
Fox News carried a report from former ISIS-held territory in northern Syria. “For years,” wrote Hollie McKay, the Islamist warriors who occupied Manbij “paid little attention to the tip of an old gate on an empty mound of land where they dumped trash”.
That’s probably a good thing, McKay said: had ISIS realised what lay beneath – an ancient Christian refuge, maybe a church – they might have destroyed it.
The site may date back to the first centuries of Christianity, McKay said. “Among the artifacts found that indicate this was a significant site for Christians were several versions of crosses etched into columns and walls, and writings carved into stone.”
The site has many tunnels, and “myriad escape routes” to dodge persecution from the Roman Empire. Three jagged steps seem to lead up to an altar. A second location was recently discovered in the same area – this one with far more “overt Christian symbols”.
But they may have come after: “The crosses chiseled into the walls, along with geometric designs consistent with the Roman era, appear to have been added later, after wider acceptance” of Catholicism.
Euphemisms, lies and a momentous day
“This is a referendum of lies,’ said John Waters at frontpage.org. As the Irish prepare to vote on legalising abortion, euphemisms such as “the right to choose”, “abortion care”, “reproductive rights” attempt to avoid the truth that unborn babies’ lives are at stake.
The reality is simple. “Friday, May 25th will be a momentous day in the annals of Irish history,” Waters wrote. “In the past 1,000 years, we have had a long and bloody journey to where we have now fetched up, with many gory days, from the Battle of Clontarf to the bombing of Omagh. But, unless we awaken before that day from the sleep of euphemism that currently grips us, Friday, May 25th may emerge as the bloodiest day in all of our history.”
✣ A relic of Pope St Clement I has been found in a bin in London.
The bone fragment, contained in a red and gold wax-sealed case, was discovered by rubbish collectors. The company Enviro Waste is now appealing to members of the public to suggest a new home for the relic. “You can imagine our amazement when we realised our clearance teams had found bone belonging to a pope,” said James Rubin, the company’s owner. “It’s not something you expect to see, even in our line of work.”
According to tradition, Clement reigned as Pope from AD 88 to 99. He is one of the “apostolic fathers” – theologians who personally knew some of the Twelve Apostles.
Members of the public can submit ideas for a new home for the relic at Envirowaste.co.uk.
✣ The Swiss Guards are to replace their cast-iron helmets with plastic ones made with a 3D printer.
Guards say the ceremonial helmets sometimes overheat in Rome’s hot sun and burn their heads. The new helmets are also much lighter. Their production is being funded by a lay man, Peter Portmann, and friends, described as “supporters of the Swiss Guards”. The helmets, decorated with the coat of arms of Pope Julius II, will be ready for use next year.
✣The week in quotations
Love isn’t playing violins, all romantic. No. Love is work Pope Francis during a parish visit in Rome CNS
They have this extraordinary presence Anna Wintour, Vogue editor, on papal tiaras at the Met CNS
If he came to me for advice, I would tell him it is time for retirement Cardinal Onaiyekan on Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari The Sun (Nigeria)
If you can’t defend life, then what’s worth defending? Fr David Marsden at the March for Life UK CatholicHerald.co.uk
✣Statistic of the week
19.4 The percentage drop in Mass attendance in South Korea in 2007, compared to 2016 Source: ucanews.com