Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 29 June 2020

Assessing the Papabile

St Peter vested for his Feast Day in the Vatican


Today being the feast of SS Peter and Paul has been a suitable day upon which to come across a useful article by the American Vatican journalist John L Allen Jr.  In it he writes about the suitability and importance of books which seek to identify and assess those Cardinals most likely to be leading contenders in a future Conclave to elect the next Pope. 

I think he makes good points about the value of such discussion - especially for the Cardinal electors themselves in preparation for such an important decision. 

I think it fair to say that such books and articles as I have read in the past - and that is going back to the later years of Paul VI - have often turned out to be far from accurate in their suggestions as to which Cardinal might succeed to the Chair of Peter - hindsight is a wonderful thing of course. In looking at such forecasts the crucial thing may well not be the facts as the emphasis, indeed bias, of the journalist or commentator. Knowing that will tell the reader how far they should believe the interpretation on offer.

Image: Apostolado Caballero de la Inmaculado blog

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