Hey, all you Church dilettanti and afficinados(as) of the internal workings of your favorite Institute. Did you know that before Summorum Pontificum another important Motu Proprio had been promulgated? I did not know of it, and yet I consider myself to be a rather avid watcher of Vatican news. Believe me, I do not gest when I say that this Motu Proprio was also of eminent importance. Although it was promulgated before the one concerning the liturgy, it was only given recognition when a reporter at a news conference asked how many votes Cardinal Josef Ratzinger received on the round when he was elected. Now for the Cardinal taking the questions, to answer this with the truth would have been a mortal sin, a sacrilege. So he just skirted around it saying something to the effect that no one remembered that anymore since all the ballots had been burned.
What's going on here? you ask. Why ask that question now, nearly two years after the election? Aha! That's what I'm about to tell you.
In June Pope Benedict XVI issued a Motu Proprio reinstituting the ancient rules regarding the number of votes needed to elect a pope. These had been changed by Pope JP II [...He loves you too.] JP II had changed the rules to speed thngs up after 34 rounds of unsuccessful voting. That is, after 34 rounds it would only take an absolute majority (one half plus one) to elect a new pope. With the stroke of a pen, Benedict XVI sent the rules back to the 11th century. They state that it takes 2/3 of those voting to elect the pope, no matter what.
So why did the question come up during a press conference in August? Well, the huge international stuff which was being leaked little by little from back in January finally hit the fan in July, remember? It's all quiet now in the minds of people. Besides, Benedict XVI is now well rooted in his new position. To ask how many votes he had received to win the election was asking whether or not he himself had indeed garnered the requisite 2/3 majority. In his case, seventy-seven would have been needed. It is reported that he indeed received 84 votes after only 5 ballots. It is therefore conceded that Pope Benedict XVI had absolutely no political axes to grind nor any bones to pick. This decision by Benedict XVI is hailed more by the leftists than the conservatives, but for the moment, there is so much trust in our Holy Father's tenure thus far that peace reigns in the house.
The international community had a lot to say and much to opine over with the Latin Motu Proprio and the document defining the Church. Buzz is always good because it makes us learn about the Church. It teaches us that taking sides is not necessarily bad. Sometimes, the lack of buzz is a good thing because then someone like me who lives by the buzz can use the lack thereof to make an important point about our lives as a Catholic community. There are a couple of important points here.
1. Traditional practices can serve as solid anchors for our present times.
2. The election of a pope must be above the pressure of time used to arrive at the truth.
3. The electors must learn to avail themselves of the many oporrtunities that the modern world gives them to get to know one another through travel and electronic communications. That in and of itself should prevent a papal election from stretching out too long.
The Church is a busy place. Not all that is done is equally as important from day to day, but it does all have a reason to be there. Just like every other organization, some of it is exciting, some is boring, some is saddening and some is exhilerating. All of it is God's.