As Pope Benedict devotes himself to a life of prayer it may be more important than ever to pray not only for him but also those who will choose his successor.
We like to think that every Pope is picked by the Holy Spirit.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was asked on Bavarian television in 1997 if the Holy Spirit is responsible for who gets elected. This was his response:
I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. … I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined.
In a sobering manner he added:
There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!