BY STEFAN GIGACZ
It's going to be impossible to escape the conclave over the next couple of weeks.
So here are a couple of sites to bookmark to follow what is happening (or not):
Pope 2013 blog from Italy's Corriere Della Sera.
Vatican Insider from La Stampa
while our sister publication CathNews New Zealand has also set up a special Pope page
John L. Allen Jr's All Things Catholic.
I couldn't find a list of cardinals who have Twitter accounts. So here are the ones I have managed to compile myself:
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, Pontifical Council for Culture: https://twitter.com/CardRavasi_en
Cardinal Peter Turkson, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace: https://twitter.com/TurksonCardinal
Cardinal Luis Martinez Sistach, Barcelona: https://twitter.com/sistachcardenal
Cardinal Dominik Duka, Prague: https://twitter.com/dominikduka
Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Boston: https://twitter.com/CardinalSean
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, New York: https://twitter.com/CardinalDolan
Cardinal Roger Mahony, ex-Los Angeles: https://twitter.com/CardinalMahony
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Washington DC: https://twitter.com/Cardinal_Wuerl
Cardinal Antonio Tagle, Manila: https://twitter.com/AntonioTagle
Cardinal Odilo Scherer, Sao Paulo: https://twitter.com/DomOdiloScherer
Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez, Bogota: https://twitter.com/cardenalruben
Cardinal Wilfred Napier, Durban: https://twitter.com/CardinalNapier
However, Cardinal Angelo Scola, Milan, has just closed his Twitter account. Does he know something?
Actually that's better than 10% of the voting cardinals, not a bad effort for a bunch of (allegedly) conservative (mostly) 70+ year old men! (Please let me know of any other tweeting papabili in Comments below.)
I hope there are no 'fake' accounts in the above list but some do exist, including (inevitably): https://twitter.com/GeorgePell
Plus, you can always Adopt a Cardinal here: http://adoptacardinal.org/
* * *
Meanwhile, over at America Magazine, Raymond A. Schroth is dreaming of a white cassock:
The next thing I remember is that I was in Rome, on a Vatican side street, when two men in black blindfolded me and dragged me to the Sistine Chapel where the new pope Cardinal Blifskitz of Waydownia had just been elected; but the news had thrown him into coma and he was now held in a secret room under medical care. But a million believers were assembled in St. Peter’s Square waiting for his appearance. They said that I looked just like him, and if I refused to play his role I would be sinning against the Holy Spirit, which is as bad as you can get. What could I say? They added one condition: I was in no circumstances to say anything infallible. I agreed; but if I was going to be pope I was also going to be myself.
So rather than dress up and wave from the window, I went down onto the front steps of St. Peter’s in my Land’s End blue jeans, blue shirt and Fordham tie, introduced myself as Pope Luke, because his Gospel best reflected my priorities: sharing the wealth, loving both our neighbors and strangers, and giving women power.
* * *
Now that Easter is approaching, here is good news from Baptist World Aid Australia reporting that Nestlé's entire entire chocolate range is now independently (UTZ) certified to ensure the cocoa is sourced and produced sustainably on farms with safe working conditions:
The chocolate industry has been a focus of many national and international advocacy and anti-trafficking groups over the last decade with progress steadily improving as customer pressure has led to certification announcements from companies such as Cadbury and Mars.
Nestlé's commitment will see more than 3,000 tonnes of UTZ Certified Cocoa is now being used to produce iconic favourites such as Kit Kat, Smarties and Club chocolate.
UTZ certified products are independently verified as respecting basic worker rights standards such as a ban on child labour. It also includes standards for sustainable agricultural practices to better support farmers and the environment.
The industry has been under scrutiny for poor wages and working conditions from the coalition and Nestle has received over 100,000 postcards from consumers demanding their chocolate be produced ethically.
Chocolates all around for those who campaigned so long to achieve this change. On the other hand, that still leaves Nestle's formula milk:
BREAST might be best but 30 years of product boycotts and regulation has failed to stop big companies promoting infant formula in ways that put babies and small children at risk in developing countries, new research shows.
A report by Save the Children names a clutch of global brands, including Nestle, Danone, Mead Johnson, Abbott, Friso and Enfamil as being involved in dubious marketing practices.
It estimates 95 babies could be saved every hour, or 830,000 a year, if new mothers across the world breastfed immediately after giving birth.Read more here.
* * *
Closer to home, Parramatta pastoral planner Daniel Ang says that nearly a quarter of all Australian Catholics were born overseas:
As a pastoral planner for a Catholic diocese, knowing the statistics on your local Church is vital in understanding the pastoral reality of parishes and trends in the wider community that impact on faith. Statistics and church profiles are also essential to recognise trends and areas of pastoral concern over time, to form sensible recommendations and develop new goals for the future.
In that spirit, I recently crunched some numbers of the 2011 Census and National Church Life Survey for my own Diocese and took note of some national trends along the way that are publicly available and give us some sense of the state of the Church nationwide (these national trends are publicly available as they are based on Australian Census data which is owned by ‘the people’.
More of Daniel's findings here.
* * *
Here's one prelate who won't be at the conclave. Archbishop Pierre-André Fournier of Rimouski, who is president of the Catholic Bishops Assembly of Quebec, spent a day protesting against a cut in unemployment benefits. He told reporters:
I spent last Sunday in the Valley of the Matapédia where I shared a meal of soup and bread with 175 people, not even a bit of baloney!
I guess he meant sausage.
* * *
“Popes don’t quit! God has a way of telling popes when it's time to retire. It’s called death!” he proclaimed on February 12, adding, “You didn’t see JP2 trading in his papal staff for a nine iron and moving to Boca.”
This week he analyses the spike in sales of Pope Benedict memorabilia.
Even more Colbert analysis here.
Disclaimer: CathBlog is an extension of CathNews story feedback. It is intended to promote discussion and debate among the subscribers to CathNews and the readers of the website. The opinions expressed in CathBlog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference or of Church Resources.