Friday, March 08, 2013


The papal conclave begins on Tuesday, March 12.

The last of the cardinal electors arrived yesterday.  One bit of political speculation, then, depends on whether the start of the conclave seems early or late.  If early, then it is looks like a victory for the Italians and curial officials, who already know each other. If late, it may be a victory for those who are not italian and do not live in or near Rome, and now have a little extra time to renew acquaintances.

Frankly, we've got no idea about this one.  The whole question seems a little ridiculous; they all got there as soon as they could, and then picked a start date that lets them get home before Holy Week.

Smart money is that the conclave will be quick -- three days, maybe less.  The cardinals want to look decisive.  (Compared to the typical vacancy in a Lutheran congregation, which can run 6 to 18 months -- and 4-6 months even once a suitable pastor has been identified -- this is like lightning.)

Incidentally, if you really dig conclave news with intelligent analysis, follow Rocco Palmo's Whispers in the Loggia.  Although he isn't in Rome himself -- hotels were boooked and crazy expensive -- Palmo is among the best-informed observers.

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