cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
The Catholic Church’s Conclave has begun and that will end when a new Pope has been elected by the Cardinals who are convened, all of whom are under 80 years of age by the rules that apply. I am not a Catholic; I am a Lutheran.
I had a chance to meet now Cardinal Dolan when he was Archbishop of Milwaukee and that meeting, lasting about two minutes, has stayed with me ever since that day. He was delivering the invocation at a meeting I was attending, and he was making the rounds of each table introducing himself.
He got to my table and I stood to shake his hand. I introduced myself and told him that I was part of that break-away sect known as the Lutheran faith. I added that since we had that Martin Luther ‘thing’ between us, he probably wouldn’t be interested in talking with me for too long. He thought for a second or two and came back saying, “Al, I think for you we can make an exception and take you back.” He then laughed his hearty laugh and moved to the next person.
His human side was most impressive. His sense of humor is legendary. He is a presence and that permeates the room he is in; I have followed his climb ever since and recalled that chance meeting many times. And now, he is in the Conclave in Vatican City and will cast his first ballot today.
This first vote is, as I understand the Conclave, like our primary election in that those who receive at least one vote will survive today’s first vote and go on to the second vote. So long as they continue to receive sufficient votes, they move ahead to subsequent votes until one person has received two-thirds or more of the 115 votes that will be cast each time.
If Cardinal Dolan were to emerge as the next Pope, he would do a lot to change the stodgy image that many Pope’s have had to this point. There will, no doubt, be many Cardinals who would think that unbecoming of a Pope and that will cost Cardinal Dolan support, but it is exciting to think that I’ve had the opportunity to shake hands and exchange quips with a person who was at least in the running to be a Pope.