EWTN Catholic Q&A
Can Pope John Paul's Secretary be Selected
Question from Mark Johnson on 04-12-2005:

I know that the Holy Spirit will guide the Cardinals in chosing the our next Pope. I was wondering if Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz is eligible. Having been with Pope John Paul II for so long, and having been part of many discussion with the Pope, he would most likely share his views and faithfulness to the Catholic faith. It may also help Catholics to feel more ease at knowing that he would most likely continue with Pope John Paul's work and commitment to our Lord and and our Blessed Mother. May God Bless our Pope and for his years of service for us.

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 04-12-2005:

Yes, any unmarried male Catholic is eligible, so Dom Stanislaw certainly is. However, it has been centuries since the Cardinals chose someone not among their own number.

Since the papacy is more important than any single Pope, and its continuation dependant upon God not man, it does not depend upon finding someone who will continue John Paul's exact program. That seldom happens anyway. Each Pope has its own way, while maintaining fidelity to the deposit of the faith. So, we should try to set aside a merely human understanding of the process in favor of seeing the will of God in the decision which will be taken by the Cardinals.