Saturday, 31 December 2011

Why Speculate About Pope Benedict XVI's Health

Just before Christmas our only Catholic newspaper in South Africa, The Southern Cross, chose to post, on its Facebook page, a random story from the Chicago Sun-Times about Pope Benedict XVI’s ailing health.

To this day, I remain completely at a loss as to why this rather insignificant article, full of pointless speculation, needed any attention whatsoever. Especially since it has been dredged up from a newspaper that is not Catholic and is on the complete opposite end of the earth to South Africa. Very strange behaviour indeed!

Then I came across this post, on a Blog I follow, titled “The Tablet’s unseemly haste to bury Pope Benedict XVI before he’s died”. It was about a similar story that was published by The Tablet. The Tablet article reads:

Although Pope Benedict’s general health appears to be good, he has begun to show signs of fatigue and increasing frailty. History and prudence would suggest that the cardinals of the Church should seriously start thinking about suitable candidates to succeed him. Casting a vote for the Successor of Peter is the main and gravest purpose for which they are given a red hat. They must avoid being caught unprepared, as apparently they were at the last conclave, when a number of cardinals publicly confessed that they did not know their confrères very well.

The comment by the Protect The Pope Blog is brilliant. It reads:

What a cheek! Pope Benedict XVI is planning two major apostolic journeys to Mexico and Cuba early in 2012,working on the final volume of his trilogy on Jesus of Nazareth, writing the encyclical on Faith that completes his series on the Theological Virtues, on top of all the other daily public appearances, homilies, addresses and meetings. And Robert Mickens has the rudeness to write about a successor to the Holy Father. I’d like to see him do as much when he’s nearly 85.

What this impertinence is really about is the well known fact that Mr Mickens can’t stand Pope Benedict XVI.  The story goes that when Pope Benedict walked out on to the loggia of St Peter’s as the new pope, Mr Mickens burst into tears of frustration and rage.

So now Mr Mickens and the editor of The Tablet want to put the pontificate of Pope Benedict behind them as fast as possible, with their fantasies of a new pope.

I wonder. Does the editor of the Southern Cross also share the views of Mr Mickens of The Tablet? Is the editor of the Southern Cross too having fantasies of the appointment of a new pope as fast as possible?

Personally I hope and pray that Pope Benedict XVI is around for another ten years, at least. 


  1. Unfortunately this sort of speculation has kept popping up in the MSM of late, particularly since the Holy Father started using the platform on wheels to process into St Peter's. I'm mean he's only 84 - why shouldn't he be able to walk the entire distance? There must be something terribly wrong etc., etc. As for it being published by the Southern Cross - wishful thinking perhaps?

  2. Hmmm…. To be perfectly honest I have begun to lose faith in the Southern Cross and it’s true Catholic nature for quite some time now. Most articles published on the web site are usually just there to raise an argument or to promote a modernist/liberal agenda.

    I’ve learnt and appreciated a lot more form this Blog having discovered it in earnest 2 days ago than what I have from the Southern Cross over the past 2 years! Sad considering it’s our only Catholic newspaper in the country….

    I too hope the Holy Father will be with us for some time to come. I too hope for a change in the way the Southern Cross puts itself out to the South African Catholic Community.