(NEW YORK CITY) – The 2:00 p.m. mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral had its routine pageantry as well as parishioners. It also had the former Pope on display minutes after his resignation.
In the wake of Pope Benedict’s resignation, Catholic followers are now praying for a new pope as a conclave is preparing to convene. No date is set, since there is no mourning period following a resignation. “The atmosphere is rather serious not somber but it’s prayerful,” said Father Thomas Berg on Thursday when asked about what a conclave following a resignation might resemble.
Father Berg is a Professor of Moral Theology at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers. He shared with PIX 11 News his working relationship with Timothy Cardinal Dolan and the friendship that has emerged since his arrival to the area. He also expects some tension as well as negotiations once the conclave begins, “Obviously they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. This is the most important decision these men will ever make in their lives.”
Out of the 115 Cardinals expected, Cardinal Dolan is already a finalist on the “Sweet Sistine” bracket challenge making the rounds on the web. In reality, Cardinal Dolan is viewed as a long-shot by many primarily for three reasons. The first, he speaks little Italian. Additionally, Cardinal Dolan was deposed last week in the Milwaukee church abuse scandal.
Finally, he is an American.
On the flip-side, Cardinal Dolan’s positives are his larger than life personality that knows no borders. Dolan has also been praised for his savviness when navigating politics as well as the media.
The prospect of New York City’s Cardinal Dolan becoming, is exactly what the Vatican needs according to Father Berg, “The Vatican is very much in need of many kinds of reforms at many levels and I think most of us know that if we are honest about it and I think there is a sense among many of the Cardinals that you know an American can come in and probably do a little house cleaning.”
Father Berg is predicting that the conclave will last no more than 48 hours and will emit five plumes of smoke until a pope is confirmed.
If it happens to be Dolan, he will not use the return portion of his air fare. Whoever the new pope is, will not leave the Vatican from the moment they are confirmed.