CHARLESTON—As the cardinals processed into the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City for the start of the papal conclave on March 12, Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated Mass almost 5,000 miles away in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
“This is no ordinary Lenten weekday … because something extraordinary has just begun,” the bishop said.
The next time the cardinals emerge, one of them will be pope.
Bishop Guglielmone offered words of wisdom to the congregation as he prayed that the cardinals are open to the Holy Spirit and that the Spirit will be active in their hearts as they choose the next pope.
He noted that the bookmakers are going crazy laying odds on who the favored “candidates” may be, and said what is a holy process is treated by much of the world like a political campaign.
A papal conclave is not about politics, or cardinals who may desire to be pope — it is a choice from Jesus, the bishop said. But it isn’t a simple decision, one in which God appears and clearly points out the next pontiff. Rather, it is a group of men who may have desires and agendas of their own, who must open their hearts and accept the promptings of the Spirit.
He called on everyone to pray, not only during Mass but on an individual basis, for the leader of the church, the leader of millions of people who must all work together and reach out to the world in love and goodness.
“There’s no question we’re going through some difficult times in the world,” Bishop Guglielmone said, “We need a leader who will speak the words that God will give him.”