…the proposition that 30-or-so cardinals can centrally govern 1.2 billion people is no longer credible, especially when the majority of them are Italian. The Curia is far more Roman than it is Catholic, and tends to form a kind of union bloc-vote when it comes to electing the next pope. It is simply the nature of bureaucracies to be self-serving and self-preserving. It stands to reason that they will favour one of their own, or at least someone they know to be favourably disposed to the preservation of their administrative power – a little like Ed Miliband being the favoured choice of the trade unions.
In this age of Twitter, Blogger, Linked-In, Facebook and incessant media scrutiny, it is not beneficial to perpetuate a centralised system which so often gives the impression of operating with a fax machine and a dial-up modem on an Amstrad.
That’s probably because that is actually what they are using.
I was interviewed on Vatican Radio once, and the experience offers an illustration of the inner workings of the Church:
The Vatican is proud of the fact that its radio station (like its observatory) is one of the oldest in the world, constructed by Marconi himself.
Proof, they say, of the institution’s openness to new technology and scientific progress, contra the claims of the Church’s critics.
Amusingly, however, the world’s oldest station still uses the world’s oldest equipment, or something like it; the host asked me to pause slightly before I answered any questions, to give him time to reach waaaaaaaay over to the button for my “mic,” which had not exactly been positioned for efficiency or ergonomics.