And the spotlight is not so much on who might be pope, but who should not even be voting for pope, and Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony continues to win that contest going away. Our man in the Vatican has the details.
Today in an Italian newspaper the Vatican former top prosecutor on sex abuse added fuel to the pyre, giving Mahony middling marks and saying the cardinal will have to “decide in conscience” whether to take part in the conclave.
Meanwhile, Mahony compares himself to Christ, the Suffering Servant, and says he will soldier on…
Worried about Benedict (soon to be Ratzinger again) in retirement? Not to worry – he’ll have “three hots and a cot,” as the Jesuits say, at the monastery plus about $3,300 a month in a pension. Oh, and free government-sponsored (that is, the Vatican City State) health care. Socialism?
Going medieval: I detailed some of the conservative criticism of Benedict, the Catholic right’s one-time messiah. Now others are upping the ante, saying that if he doesn’t renounce his resignation the conclave will be electing an anti-pope.
An American Pope? Not, no New York’s Tim Dolan. How about a Franciscan from Boston? Sean O’Malley’s stock rises.
Then there is the “Yope,” or Yoda as Pope, a photo meme making the rounds, as you see above. Origins unknown as yet, but I have a bone to pick: “Poda” would be better. More consonant with the Italian, “papa” and with whatever speaks Yoda does, yes?
Pro-lifers as pro-choicers? Fascinating story making the rounds about a teenage girl whose parents wanted her to have abortion but she wanted to keep the baby. Abortion foes supported her, in a reversal of the usual roles.
The “Godmother of Rock ‘n Roll”? You bet, and Dan Burke has the details.
Purim as the Jewish Halloween? Not quite, explains Lauren Markoe. (But if the kids want to dress like the pope, they’ll already have the kippah. Just a bit of ermine and they’re set…)
Can “Downton Abbey” teach us about the Gospel? (It certainly teaches us to avoid social media during the finale.)
Megachurches are thriving despite the recession. Go figure.
But is capitalism bad for family values? In our Big Thought of the Day, Andrew Sullivan explains why the free market makes the welfare state inevitable, and necessary. Discuss.
Finally, a couple of sure-fire viral posts for anyone who likes religious curiosities:
First, a First Things listicle of ten unusual foods that are good for Lent.
Next, Dreher points to a graphic explaining the styles of facial hair in different religious traditions. It ain’t just an Amish issue. Best I can do is the “Post-Evangelical Stubble.” Alas.