By Carol Glatz
Cardinals from around the world in the Sistine Chapel March 12, 2013, as they began the conclave to elect a new pope. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
VATICAN CITY — A year-ago today, as the world’s cardinals solemnly filed into the Sistine Chapel to elect a new pope, news outlets, blogs and betting sites were abuzz with papal prognostications.
I wanted to take an informal stab at it myself using some tips from the U.S. statistician, Nate Silver, who had correctly predicted the outcome of the 2008 U.S. presidential election.
I thought it’d be a fun experiment to apply some of the approaches he had outlined in his book, “The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail — but Some Don’t.”
Here’s what I looked at in the few days before the conclave:
- What were the challenges facing the world and the church in 1978 and 2005?
- What “winning” qualities did Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI — the men who were elected those years — possess?
From there, I drafted a rough list of what church leaders and others were saying in 2013 about the pressing challenges.
Here are just a few examples:
Shut off from the outside world, cardinals from around the world cast ballots to elect a new pontiff in a conclave that began March 12, 2013. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano)
- Religious freedom, oppression in parts of Asia; persecution and violence in the Middle East and Africa; infringements in the western world.
- Secularism and globalization.
- Latin America losing Catholics, Asia growing.
- Church needing to be “attractive,” new evangelization and need to be “outspoken.”
- Making Jesus the center of liturgy, lives, prayer.
- Problem of sex abuse.
- Catechism and solid foundations of faith.
- Attention to young people.
- Orthodoxy, importance of Catholic identity for universities, charities.
- Lapsed Catholics; family; sacraments.
Then I scribbled down some of the winning qualities that people were looking for and would be needed to face the challenges:
- A spiritual leader (strong prayer life).
- Energy, strength to travel; but how young/old is too young/old?
- Can clean up Curia/problems that make church look bad.
- Makes faith attractive.
- Smart; simple, clear communication.
- Honest, down-to-earth.
- See young people as important.
- Represents the message the church wants to send the world.
- From Asia, Latin America, Africa.
- Charismatic; humble; multilingual.
Cardinals entering the Sistine Chapel in (Read More)