My brother Tony was asked to reflect on all of the events of this past month in Rome. He did so, and the article was published on ArchIndy’s vocation website (Read the whole thing here)
“It has been busy and exciting times in the Catholic Church, particularly here in Rome where I began studying in July of 2012 at the Pontifical North American College (NAC). At the NAC, we hosted all of the U.S. Cardinal-electors who were in town for the Conclave. On the last day of their visit, four of the Cardinals met with students from the NAC to share their experiences with us (Cardinal O’Malley, Cardinal DiNardo, Cardinal Wuerl, Cardinal George). There are two things that came from this discussion that I think are of great importance to my own formation as a future priest and to all in the Catholic Church.
The first overarching theme of the discussion is that all the Cardinals were convinced that the election of Pope Francis was the work of the Holy Spirit. During the election, and afterwards, I heard comments from people who were NOT at the conclave explain that they think this election was spurned primarily by political concerns. Before the election, many news agencies correctly reported that the Curia could use a bit of tidying up, and it takes very little understanding of human nature to know that “tidying up” is always resisted by those who created the mess. This fact notwithstanding, the Cardinal-electors from the U.S. remain convinced that the election of Pope Francis was not a political decision spurred exclusively or even primarily by human motives. They are convinced that his election was primarily the working of the Holy Spirit. They made allusion to the fact that there is alot of discussion beforehand about who will vote for who, but they said that when the doors to the Sistine Chapel are locked and you have to proclaim an oath to God that the man for whom you voted is who you think could best fulfill the office of Peter, with Michaelangelo’s “Last Judgement” painting in the background, all pretensions quickly vanish. The Spirit begins to blow, and his fire pierces the heart of the electors in a way that touched each one of the Cardinals in a profound and particular way. I am strengthened in my confidence in the Church and in my faith that it is the Holy Spirit who guides her, for the four men who were locked in the Sistine Chapel testify that in that room, it was the Holy Spirit who was in control.”
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