Friday, April 01, 2005

Last watch of the Night

Paul Monette wrote about his Last Watch of the Night, when Rog died, in his book entitled the same. So the world waits and prays for a peaceful death for the Holy Father. I may not agree with many of His teachings, but as a Catholic I went to mass this evening to pray for his soul.

Churches all over the city are open tonight, and have been for 24 hours. This a very Catholic City, mass has been said around the clock in many locations. I went to St. Patrick's Cathedral this evening to Pray my Rosary and to join the world in prayer. I find it cathartic when the entire world is spending this time in quiet reflection and resignation that John Paul is going to die. But his chosen hour of death is entirely up to a man who at this hour is fighting his greatest battle. Mass was said at 5:15 to a church full of worshippers. During the mass the priest who said mass stopped to reflect and it seemed at times we were sitting in the church waiting for someone to come out of the sacristy to bring us news. Alas, that did not happen.

Joshua writes in his blog that the Holy Father should step down because he is dying. Let me clear that thought up. Once a pope is elected Pope, that man ( Pope John Paul ) IS pope until he dies. Upon his death the Papal secretary will call out his name 3 times, and if there is no response, then the announcement of his death will be made. At this point the Papal Ring will be removed and the papal seal will be broken. The Camerlengo will now be in charge and the conclave will be called. He will oversee the election process but not necessarily become the next Pope.

The college of Cardinals are being gathered in Rome this night, as we know several cardinals are en route. There are 162 cardinals in the college and one of those men will be elected the new Pope of the 21 st Century. Of those 162 cardinals 20 of them are over the age of 80, so they will be out of the "running," citing age concerns. But the college will in good conscience and prayer elect the proper "man" for the job.

From MSNBC Website: NBC News reports that Cardinal Francis Arinze, the Nigerian cardinal viewed as one of the leading candidates to succeed Pope John Paul II, left Newark, N.J., where he was visiting, for Rome on Thursday.

The funeral for His Holiness will be planned after a period of his body lying in state at the vatican, and should take place within 5 days of his death. The popes final resting place within the vatican will be chosen and prepared. After the funeral 6 days of mourning will follow, which in that time the Conclave will be assembled.

The cardinals will lock themselves inside the Sistine Chapel for the voting of a New Pope. Special parchments and inks will be used and after each vote the ballots are burned, and the smoke that results from the ink used will alert the world that either a Pope has been elected or that another round of voting will take place. There are a series of votes that happen until a successor is elected.

The Conclave can take from a few days upwards of a few weeks. But insiders say that a quick vote will take place ensuring the Church will have a new leader. At the time of Pope John Paul's death the "Camerlengo" is the "man in Charge," as written about in Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. I don't think we will have any great secrets revealed at the conclave. But one never knows.

The newly elected Pope will have HUGE shoes to fill. Knowing this, we cannot, right now, get caught up in what the church has not done in regards to scandal and abuse. Right now we must focus our energy in prayer and refection for the Holy Father who at this hour is looking at eternity.

We should be thinking about the responsibility that the Papal Secretary is under at this hour, and we should focus on the grief that the church is feeling right now and understand that the Holy Mother Church is going to go through a VERY BIG upheaval in the election of a successor to John Paul II.

In what direction is the church going, and how will things change and what will remain the status quo? These are all questions that will be answered in the coming months and years. Knowing full well that as a Gay Man I stand at odds with His Holiness, does not mean that I am any less Catholic. For whatever this man has NOT done, we have to remember all the things he DID do in his lifetime and the wide sweeping changes that have come over the entire world since John Paul's papacy began some 26 years ago. I have seen now 3 popes come to power, die and a conclave called.

May God be merciful on John Paul's soul and may the angels sweep him up and take him home where he will forever be an angel who for a lifetime spent his efforts making the world a better place for many people.

8:35 p.m. Lech Walesa, founder of the Solidarity movement that toppled communism in Poland in 1989-90, tells The Associated Press that without the pope’s leadership, “communism would have fallen, but much later and in a bloody way.”

9:10 p.m. In a rare TV appearance, Cardinal Jaime Ortega, the top Roman Catholic prelate in Cuba, tells Cubans that the pope is dying. Ortega is rarely seen in the island’s media, which are run by Cuba’s nonreligious government.

6:51 p.m. The Rome newspaper La Repubblica quotes Vatican officials as saying the pope is "living a long agony" and that his strong will could draw out his death, which should not be expected "at any determined time."


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