Tags: Habemus | Papam

Habemus Papam

Tuesday, 19 April 2005 12:00 AM

"I'll leave that to the Holy Spirit – he'll be the pope maker," he told his table mates, who greeted that statement with what amounted to amusement. You could see in their astonished reaction the question "Who in this enlightened age believes in a myth like the existence of the so-called Holy Spirit?"

Well, to begin with, the 115 cardinals who just chose Joseph Ratzinger to be our new pontiff. They went into the conclave prayerfully, leaving themselves open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They got it in a hurry.

That's not the way this secularized age looked at the papal election. Not having the vaguest idea of what it was all about, they approached the subject the way they look at elections in the political world, with candidates jockeying for power and campaigning for the papal office making promises in return for votes.

That's not the way it works. Those considered papabile do not campaign, and many of them didn't really want to take on the job of being the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth. It's a very tough job, what with all of the loudmouthed dissidents demanding the pope do what no pope can do – change the Church's doctrine. Moreover, it is the end of their old lives and the beginning of a new and exceedingly burdensome life devoid of any privacy.

A couple of years ago, for example, Cardinal Ratzinger asked Pope John Paul II to allow him to retire. He was tired and wanted to go home to Bavaria. The pope, obviously inspired by the Holy Spirit – who we now know had other plans for the cardinal – said no, so Cardinal Ratzinger stayed. But the incident tells us just what the new pope really wanted, and it wasn't the papacy. It was a quiet, bookish life in Bavaria.

Those who discount the influence of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity in the papal selection should consider the election of John Paul II. Nobody had any idea that Karol Wojtyla would come out of the last conclave 26 years ago as John Paul II. Considering the history of his papacy, the hand of the Holy Spirit was clearly visible.

Think about it. The new pope was a Pole. Poland was in the Kremlin's grip. History would reveal that Poland was also the Kremlin's Achilles' heel, and it was a Pole, John Paul II, who sparked the movement in Poland that brought the Soviet Union's rule over Eastern Europe crashing down, which resulted in the end of the Soviet Union itself.

Moreover, John Paul II was exactly the pope needed for the times. A brilliant mystic who prayed every day for seven hours, yet relished being among people the world over, he revived the papacy in this pagan age as no other pope in recent history. He left it vibrant and growing in the Third World, and by setting the world's youth ablaze with fervor for the Church he set the stage for its rebirth in the Western world as well.

As Ray Flynn said today upon hearing the news of the election of the new pope, "The Catholic Church is not the church of the past; it is the church of the future."

That's the way the Holy Spirit wants it and has wanted it for the past 2,000 years.

Christ promised He would be with the Church He founded until the end of time, and pledged that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. Given that promise, what else can the world expect than to have our Lord guide it through His Holy Spirit. After all, He said He not would leave us orphans.

There have been times that the Church failed to heed the guidance of the Holy Spirit – some pretty bad men managed to wrest the papacy from His hands – but He has seen to it that the Church has survived such bad popes and the persecutions it has suffered off and on for 2,000 years.

And He is seeing to it now that it will survive until the end of time. It is, and always has been, the church of the future.

Habemus Papam – we have a new pope, and we still have the Holy Spirit guiding him and our Church and the rest of us through these perilous times. (He even helps some columnists who couldn't do it without His help write their columns.)

Viva Benedictus XVI!


Phil Brennan is a veteran journalist who writes for NewsMax.com. He is editor & publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist for National Review magazine in the 1960s. He also served as a staff aide for the House Republican Policy Committee and helped handle the Washington public relations operation for the Alaska Statehood Committee which won statehood for Alaska. He is also a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.

He can be reached at


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"I'll leave that to the Holy Spirit - he'll be the pope maker," he told his table mates, who greeted that statement with what amounted to amusement. You could see in their astonished reaction the question "Who in this enlightened age believes in a myth like the existence of...
Tuesday, 19 April 2005 12:00 AM
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