Awwww . . . RATZ!
All the World Loves a Belgian Pope Hopeful:
My Man Godfried!
The next time the white smoke wafts its curly way from the Vatican chimney to heaven,
let's all hope the holy skywriting spells DANNEELS
The Fight for the Papacy is ON!
Let's get ready to RUM-BLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!®*
[*Please do not sue me, Michael Buffer ("Buffer Enterprises, Inc. now offers a cash bonus to those who report a corroborated unauthorized use [resulting in an actual recovery] of the "Let's Get Ready to Rumble,"® “Get Ready To Rumble”® or "Ready to Rumble"® servicemarked phrases ,any paraphrasing of these marks (including “Get Ready To Crumble,”® “Are Your Ready To Rumble?”™ “Let’s Get Ready To Gamble”™), or use of Michael Buffer’s famous rendition of his copyrighted “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble” recording.")]
In this corner...
Kardinaal Godfried Danneels
The Tale of the Tape:
- Born 4 June 1933
- Bishop of Antwerp (1977-79)
- Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels (1979-)
- Archdiocese: Mechelen-Brussel
- Dioceses: Antwerpen, Brugge, Gent, Hasselt, Liege, Namur, Tournai
- Considered by some Vatican watchers to be the second choice for next pope, behind the frontrunner.
The Archbishop's Official Seal
Q: Why should Godfried Danneels be Pope?
A: Come ON -- how can the world ever really be happy
if it passes up the chance to have a POPE GODFREY DANIELS?!?
[Note to myself: Insert HERE a scan of Kardinaal Danneels' letter, which surely must be forthcoming,
accepting my generous offer to be his campaign strategist / flak-catcher / spin doctor.]
[Update: Well, I didn't get the job, but I did get a nifty autographed photo of The Man Who Would Be Pope.]
Of course, there are always naysayers:
Three French-speakers--Cardinals Jean-Marie Lustiger of Paris, Godfried Danneels of Malines-Brussels, and Basil Hume of Westminster (whose mother was French)--barely greeted one another. It was the journalist, myself, who sat next to the lonely-looking Belgian cardinal on the bus from the airport.
I do not think I saw the next pope in Prague. Danneels (born June 4, 1933) won't quite do. Though he can and does make a good speech as president of Pax Christi, he is the sort of man who comes alive only when he is on a platform. He can be refreshingly blunt. (He declared that Veritatis Splendor "is not the best of the encyclicals, but it is an important document.") He lacks human warmth. As professor of liturgy at the Catholic University of Leuven, he had the reputation of a loner who did not communicate with the rest of the faculty. So, sadly for Belgium, which has produced so many fine theologians, he must be crossed off the list.
Danneels has a very critical view of Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger (born September 17, 1926), archibishop of Paris. I watched him squirm during the Extraordinary Synod of 1985 as he was forced to listen to Lustiger declaiming his "message to the world," a high-flown and rhetorically ambitious exercise de style. Brussels evidently thought that his Parisian brother was altogether too flashy, "too clever by a quarter." (Peter Hebblethwaite, The Next Pope, pp. 144-5.)
In the opposing corner, the Frontrunner...
Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini
The Tale of the Tape
Born 15 Feb 1927 / Archbishop of Milan (1979-)
"Martini" seems about right -- he looks like he's had a few of those, doesn't he? Look at those gin blossoms. Pope Teddy Kennedy I, there.
This could be a tough one. If it was a popular election, Martini would definitely have the inside edge, since the vote would almost certainly be tipped (tippled?) in his favor by the Cocktail Nation, who can be counted on to back any candidate named after their favorite libation. (Thereby revealing, perhaps, a hidden meaning behind Lenny Bruce's favorite toast--"Another Martini for Mother Cabrini.")
But we're not dealing with a popular election; we're dealing with the College of Cardinals. Then again, if--like Martini--their faces are as red as their robes, we may as well be dealing with the Cocktail Nation. Advantage: Martini.
On the other hand, does Martini have the advantage of an intrepid crusader campaigning on his behalf? Godfried Danneels enjoys such an advantage. Deuce!
Nevertheless, a Belgian? Advantage: Martini.
Also, Martini is Italian. You know what that'll mean. Yep: GOODFELLA. Game, set, match: Martini.
That's how I figure it'll probably go because a lot of people, many of them Cardinals, may want to return the Vatican to one of the homeboys. Maybe just as well, too. After all, with JPII in the Vatican these past two decades (Update, March 2005 -- now over two & a half decades), it's been quite a hardship for the world to be deprived of the retort to stupid questions, "Is the Pope Italian?"
It does seem unjust that an office of worldwide impact isn't decided by a wider vote. For example, I believe I should be allowed to vote --
don't didn't I live in Tempe, home of the Arizona Cardinals? Should it matter that I'm not even remotely Catholic? Maybe so, but I'm going to keep backing Kardinaal Danneels, anyhow. After all, in my own small way, I know what it's like to fight an uphill campaign. And so, Catholic or non-Catholic, I urge you to:
Encourage Pope Godfried!
Emo e Rmo Sig. Card. Godfried Danneels, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel
B-1040 Bruxelles, Rue Guimard 1
(tel.  5099663; fax. 5099695)
Next: A personal communication from Kardinaal Danneels!
Got any hot info about Godfried Danneels? Contact Deuce of Clubs.