A recent New York Times article features the headline: “Now Gathering in Rome, a Conclave of Fallible Cardinals.” As if this were news.
Yes, 117 of the 117 eligible cardinals-electors in the upcoming conclave are, in fact, fallible. But, this isn’t news. It is well-established that humans are, well, human. We make mistakes – and those mistakes deeply affect the people around us.
But doesn’t our human messiness only illuminate the greatness of God?
There were also 117 eligible cardinal-electors in the 2005 election of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, though two were absent. And just look at how much goodness God worked through Benedict.
The 1978 conclave that elected John Paul II involved a similar number of cardinal-electors (111) – and now John Paul II is on his way to canonization.
Yes, the reality of the world is that the cardinals who will elect the new Pope in the upcoming conclave are fallible. But, they are not any more or any less fallible than the cardinals who have elected pontiffs since the conclave was first established.
The secular media fails to understand the critical role of the Holy Spirit in this process. Yet the Church has always relied on Divine Guidance – this conclave is no different. This is a time to place our trust in God and to learn to depend more completely on him, not on our own strength or the personal strength of the leaders of the church.