On the eve of the conclave you could drive yourself crazy reading articles and blog posts about who the next Pope will be, what policies he should promote, and what problems he faces. You could read about the different factions or concerns in the college of cardinals. You can even make yourself busy with betting pools and bianco fumare parties.
I am tempted, and I gather other serious Catholics are tempted to worry or fret over the identity of the next Pope. Will he do everything we want him to? Will he defend the faith with the care and precision necessary in this mass media age? Will he work in the Curia to create an atmosphere that better promotes the New Evangelization?
In the midst of this, there is a lesson for the Year of Faith. In this time without a shepherd, we have to trust in the Good Shepherd all the more. We have no guarantee that our Popes will be confident. We have no guarantee that our Popes will be holy. History teaches us those lessons. But history teaches us another lesson. No Pope will sink the Church.
This is a time for us to have faith. No Pope will sink the Church, have faith. My good priest friend, Fr. Jim Mason likes to tell the story of Napoleon confronting the Archbishop of Paris: "Monsieur, I will destroy your church." The Archbishop responds, "Good luck. Priests and bishops have been trying for almost 2000 years."
I have a reasonable hope that the new Pope will do the things that, in my humble estimation, the Church needs. I have a sure hope, founded on revealed faith, that Jesus will care for and protect his Church no matter what. So in these days of intense prayer, remember, in the words of St. Augustine, quoted by Pope Benedict XVI in his document on the year of faith. "Believers are strengthened by believing."