Saturday, March 9, 2013
Advice to Cardinals
These days will be remembered in the Roman Catholic tradition as the time when a new Pope was elected. Even now the Cardinals of the Church have gathered in Rome to enter into a Conclave which will provide the forum for the election of a new spiritual leader to guide the Catholic Church. As one who has for some 40 years observed and participated in the election of many church leaders and officials, I have a few guidelines which might be helpful.
First, never. Never elect anyone who wants, desires, or seeks a position of power in the church. They likely have something up the sleeve of their robe or dress shirt. Let the position find the person. Beware the person who seeks the position.
Secondly, elect someone who is a proven spiritual leader. If he can type and answer the phone at the same time, all the better, but do not elect someone simply because he can do such things.
Thirdly, eliminate the one you think is the chosen one from your ballot. If he really is God's chosen, God will find a way to place him in the position of leadership. Trust God. Do not let personal agendas hinder divine action.
Fourthly, choose after prayer--and more prayer and not because of favors owed from past horse trades.
And finally, seek only one thing and that is that God's will be realized and affirmed by the appointed process.
Too often our choosing leaders for the church becomes nothing more than a version of the secular political process. Perhaps, such speaks of our inability to turn loose and trust God to do what is best. When it was necessary to replace Judas, the Apostles used a method which allowed God to work. We may think it a bit suspect, but it can never be more suspect than some of the ways we choose those to lead the church.