Elie on Faith and Ecclesiastical Selection

August 12, 2004 | 3 comments
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This month’s Atlantic brings an interesting article on papal succession. Paul Elie discusses (paid subscription required) the politics, factional infighting, and expectations governing papal succession — a topic which may be becoming increasingly relevant, nearly thirty years after the election of John Paul II. Elie, however, concludes by discounting all of the other factors and suggesting that:

The cardinal electors . . . will ask first of all how authentic the faith of that man of faith is — how high his hopes, how deep his depths. They will ponder his character . . . . They will ask, What kind of believer is he?

We believe, of course, that there are worlds of theological difference between the election of a Pope and the choice of a new apostle. But it seems to me that, when the church leaders meet to select two new apostles, many of the same questions will be asked. Politics may be relevant, and factional support may play a role, but the key question will be, What kind of believer is he?

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3 Responses to Elie on Faith and Ecclesiastical Selection

  1. Bryce I on August 12, 2004 at 3:42 pm

    No Atlantic Monthly subscribers?

    I used to subscribe, but alas, no longer.

  2. Derek on August 12, 2004 at 4:56 pm

    “…this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:” (Isaiah 29:13)

    The Catholic church has some of the right ideas, but there’s just something missing…

  3. Renee on August 12, 2004 at 9:25 pm

    >What kind of believer is he?

    I’m sure that will factor in. Which is why I’m not expecting to see anyone from the blogosphere in the running in the future. ;) Well, maybe Jeff Lindsay.