CET). Until that time, I personally believe that any discussion concerning Pope Benedict's successor should be done in a way that affords the greatest respect for our current pope.
Another thing that should be taken into consideration is that if you don't have the word "Cardinal" following your first name, your opinion really doesn't mean anything at all. And, if you do have the word "Cardinal" following your first name, your opinion only means something if you allow your opinion to be formed by the will of God.
The choice of the next pope is not politically motivated; although, God is in control of politics as well. For example, take a look at God's choice of David as the future King of Israel. Politics, as we see it, means nothing regarding who Pope Benedict's successor will be. This means that we could have an American pope regardless of how unwise that may seem as far as politics is concerned. If Pope Benedict's successor is an American, we would have to trust that God knows what He's doing and that it would be the best thing for the Church.
My first name does not, and never will have, the word "Cardinal" following it. Thus, my opinion means absolutely nothing. However, in my ignorance and blindness, there are two men who I think would both make a great successor to Pope Benedict. Both of which have major reasons, as far as the world see it, why they should not be pope.
The first is Francis Cardinal Arinze. Everyone knows he would make a great pope. If you want to be fashionable, you could say that the world needs her first black pope, but that would be racial; something which God is not. The colour of his skin means nothing. What matters is his love of God and God's Church. I also like his first name.
The only strike against him is his age. He will be turning 81 this November.
Personally, and remember, my opinion means nothing, I would like to see a very young man as Pope Benedict's successor. This way, the first few years of his pontificate will be under the unofficial, but spiritually and physically present, guidance of Pope Benedict. This could mean that the wonderful things that Pope Benedict has begun in the Church, and continued from Bl. Pope John Paul II, will be taken even further, even a couple decades, into the future with his successor.
The second is Raymond Cardinal Burke. All who have followed him will know that he also would make a great pope, and he'll be turning 65 this year, which is relatively young. The biggest strike against him, however, is that he's an American. Of course, I like the fact that he is so favourable to a certain branch of an order that owes it's origins to a certain saint with the same name as the other cardinal I mentioned. But then, this is how I see things, not how God may see things.
Until the end of this month, I will continue to say that I believe Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger should be pope. Next month, I will say that whomever God chooses should be pope, and if He asks me, and I'm sure He won't, I do have two suggestions.
Please join me in a 15 day novena beginning on Thursday for Pope Benedict.