The pomp and circumstance is just what one expects. The Swiss Army is regal and brilliant in their uniforms and the bands play resplendently with joy and honor.
Soon, a Cardinal will come out on the Balcony and say We have a Pope and throw glass doors and red curtains the Holy Father will emerge. St. Peter's Basillicus, the Vatican Plaza and all the area around is landscaped by a sea of people, cheering, waiting and alert. I think it will be any moment now. It is 7:42 in Italy.
I haven't gone to church regularly since I was 16. At that mass, the priest asked for money at every chance and someone laughingly said, very loudly, okay - next I'll just throw my wallet in.
The church has already institued changes trying to appeal to the newer, younger group of Catholics. Some of the changes are welcomed, some not. I kind of like church in Latin, it seemed more solemn and ancient and passionate and to be honest, I didn't really need to know what was being said - I felt it.
However, I don't like this new thing of shaking hands with strangers in the Peace Be With You part - not that I am anti-social, but I don't like that it is forced and I'm not keen on touching strangers and then well I wonder if people will feel left out or awkard if they don't get enough shakes.
I went to mass in December for the 25th RE Wedding of one of our friends. The priest was originally from Dublin and fairly young, maybe in his 40's. He spoke eloquently, seemed modern and caring and I'm so very glad we have men like this to continue to come into the Priesthood.
I hope that one day, the Pope will decry marriage for Priests and Nuns a viable option. I mean in the early chuch it was accepted and stopped - not due to some biblical finding or anything - it was just business. Business can change.
The New Pope faces a very changed world, world-wide challenges, an even more diverse base of Catholics in every corner of the world. I can't help but hope that two of the American Cardinals might be the one - but the world may not be ready for that yet. Who knows.
He most be devout, educated and a scholar as well as a person of passion and charisma. He must be able to steer the church into this, our century - reign in the problems, the controversy and reconfigure the management and be strong enough to look at what so many Catholics have been saying for so many years. What a job!