At calibrated intervals, Benedict XVI's interpretation of the role of the Church in salvation history could come as an unending series of syllables: a solemn pronouncement delivered over millennia in inarticulate snatches.
The key to achieving the reform so desperately needed by both Catholic and Protestant churches was right under Pope Francis' nose the moment he stepped out on the Vatican balcony. Clues can be found in a cloud of pink smoke and in the legacy of his patron saint, Francis of Assisi.
But at the very same time as the cardinals sat clandestinely in Rome worrying about leaks, survivors of childhood sex abuse and visionary legislators across the country like Marge Markey have been demanding bright sunshine here in the United States.
It is not likely, but I think it is remotely possible that the Irish pol in a mitre from New York might have a shot to replace the having-scurried-off-the-sinking-ship, Ratzinger. It would certainly be a bold move -- and interesting to see.
As Roman Catholic cardinals gather in the magnificent Sistine Chapel to select a new pope, their conclave is at a critical crossroads. Will the cardinals vote for a pope who can re-energize the faithful, and restore the trust that has been missing for millions of lapsed Catholics?
As the cardinals prepare for the conclave to elect the next pope this week, I would like to recommend a candidate they may have overlooked. Someone I think would be the perfect pope successor. Father Duty.