The "image" of the Church will be decided by whom they choose, not when they choose, and what their choice does, not what the commentariat says.
Second, in making their decision, the cardinals will be guided, according to church doctrine, by the Holy Spirit. It is highly unlikely the Holy Spirit is concerned with the relative ratings of MSNBC versus Fox, or whether ABC and CNN reporters are reduced to the agony of standing around doing nothing while they wait for white smoke.
I feel the pain of television execs. Waiting for white smoke while speculating about something about which they have no sources is not great for ratings or keeping viewer attention between commercials. But shouldn't the media have some duty to offer serious analysis about a momentous, rather than self-indulgent and (for the rest of us) irrelevant nonsense about how quickly the choice must be made?
I have much experience with the Catholic Church going back many years and a very clear idea what I believe the cardinals should do, which I will not offer here because this is a media column and not a theology column.
But I do not have the slightest idea what they will do or when they will do it. The decision could be this week or in three weeks, but the process will not resemble the discussion of who is up or down in the polls, what Gene Sperling said to Bob Woodward, or whether Jodi Arias will be sentenced to death.
Under the current circumstances of the Catholic Church, the choice of the next pope is a momentous decision with impact that could last for a century or even a millennium. I will let the television commentariat pray for a quick decision while I will pray for the right decision.
And in the meantime, major league baseball's spring training has arrived, and my attention shifts to the New York Yankees until the papal decision is made in its own due course.
— Updated on March 10