Saturday, October 16, 2004

What Would Jesus' Representative on Earth Do at the Ballot Box? --
This NCS story is rather curious.

Consider this statement: "Based on more than two dozen background conversations with Vatican officials over the last six months, ranging from the cardinals who head Vatican offices to the junior clergy who staff them, I believe that if the Holy See were to vote in a secret ballot for the American president, Kerry would beat Bush 60-40."

Of course, Allen offers a couple of caveats. "First, the estimate of a 60-40 vote in favor of Kerry is based on the assumption that all personnel of the Holy See would take part. If the focus is just on the cardinals and other senior officials who head dicasteries, the balance would probably shift slightly in favor of Bush. Second, that 60-40 split in favor of Kerry represents a change from the 2000 election, when I suspect a similar straw poll in the Vatican would have found a 60-40 vote in favor of Bush over Al Gore. In that sense, it’s not an endorsement of John Kerry, who is even less known in Rome than to many Americans, so much as opposition to Bush, above all for the war in Iraq and the rest of his foreign policy."

It is interesting what this article does and does not do. It does not, for example, guess at the Pope's personal view. The only way it could, perhaps, would be to do a roll call of the pope's inner circle, and I suspect that would violate too many of the reporter's confidences.

And there is a clear attempt to cast this as a struggle between those concerned with the Church in this world and those concerned with theological issues, as a struggle between those willing to accommodate themselves to secular government and those who oppose it.

Incidentally, although some have suggested the next pope will be non-European, I have thought that the College of Cardinals might turn inward to Italy after experimenting with a Pole. If so, the candidacies might break down into one name with ties to the "blue dicasteries" and one name with ties to the "red dicasteries," plus some outsiders. It will be interesting to see if one side prevails over the other or if some compromise candidate is found.

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