The Pope has died. I'm 27 years old and while by no measure can I be currently considered a good Catholic, I received a full Catholic upbringing including a multi-year stint as a alter boy. I've never known a Pope other than John Paul II. The debate on his historic legacy is well under way, but one of the priestly commentators on the TV said that he will one day be called John Paul the Great and my guess is he is right. There is a lot to chew over. Now this is a political blog so we are going to pay attention to the upcoming Papal Election. Here's some early handicapping from Slate. The main issues will be where the new Pope comes from and theologically stands. All of this comes with a word of caution:
Though it's tempting (and fun) to view the papal selection like the Iowa caucuses - all about voting blocks, spin, and positioning - this is still, on some level, a highly personal and spiritual decision. There may be a cardinal who is all wrong for the political reasons listed above but who's viewed by his peers as a truly holy individual. Many people believe the Holy Spirit will be guiding the cardinals' deliberations, and God may have his own views on this, Paddypower.com notwithstanding.