Pope Benedict’s abdication has sparked a number of new websites and initiatives in this digital age that simply wouldn’t have been possible even eight years ago when Pope John Paul II died. I wrote a couple of days ago about Fantasy Conclave — the online competition to guess who the next pope will be, what name he’ll take and on what day of voting he’ll be elected. It’s a bit of fun, but with education attached in the form of daily emails sent out with information about the papacy, conclaves etc.
Another new website is tapping into the spiritual side of things, with a program to adopt a cardinal. The website, conveniently accessed at adoptacardinal.org, explains its purpose in this way:
- Are you infinitely thankful to God for having given us such a wonderful, wise and benevolent pope in Benedict XVI.?
- Do you sincerely hope that the Church will be granted a worthy successor: a rock of faith, a leader open to the Holy Spirit, a pope prayerful and holy?
- Do you as an important part of the Body of Christ wish to contribute through the power of your prayers so that the Holy Spirit may guide, protect and enlighten our Cardinals when they determine the next successor of St. Peter?
You now have the opportunity to actively be part of this providential endeavour by having a Cardinal assigned to you, who you will support through your prayer and intercession during the coming weeks before and during the conclave and for three days following the election.
It’s another fine idea, and I’ve signed up. And who’s my cardinal? I must admit I was hoping that I’d get my man Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, my Fantasy Conclave pick, but I will instead be keeping Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez of the Dominican Republic in my prayers over the next three or four weeks. He’s not considered a likely successor to Pope Benedict, but he’s still in need of my prayers, so he can count on receiving them.