The Privacy of Marriage

Case to clear up consent to search debate,” by Hope Yen, Associated Press, 19 April 2005, http://www.bradenton.com/mld/bradenton/news/local/11428805.htm.

That the guy is crummy and the gal is a flip-flopper enabler doesn’t matter. That the substantive crime — drug possession — shouldn’t be a crime doesn’t matter. The rights of marriage, the rights of spouses, and the rights of police matter.

Scott Randolph didn’t want police to search his home after officers showed up to answer his wife’s domestic disturbance call. Mrs. Randolph had no such reservations.

Janet Randolph not only let them in – but led officers to evidence later used to charge Scott Randolph with drug possession.

The Supreme Court said Monday it will use the case to clarify when police can search homes. The high court previously has said searches based on a cohabitant’s consent is OK, but it’s not clear whether that applies when another resident is present and objects.

Officers asked to search the couple’s home, but Scott Randolph objected. Janet Randolph, however, consented and led police to the couple’s bedroom where officers saw a straw with white powder.

It’s boils down to using laws to extend implicit horizontal controls. On one hand, the state believes that if searches requires non-objection from both partners, laws will be weakened. People will realize they can be broken more easily, and strong implicit controls will shift to be weaker and more explicit. On the other, marriage should give special rights. In the words of court opinions

When possible, Georgia courts strive to promote the sanctity of marriage and to avoid circumstances that create adversity between spouses,” the appeals court stated. “Allowing a wife’s consent to search to override her husband’s previous assertion of his right to privacy threatens domestic tranquility.” In their Supreme Court filing, Georgia prosecutors said the ruling “focuses arbitrarily on the rights of the objecting occupant, to the detriment of the consenting occupant who was trying to report a crime and who had just as much access and control over the home as her husband.”

Like in the case, the basic question is how important is marriage? Is it just a contract that includes co-occupancy or something more?

It should be something more.

Protecting Retirement Savings

Supreme Court rules IRAs can be shielded from creditors,” CNN, 4 April 2005, http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/04/04/scotus.bankruptcy.ap/index.html.

Sometimes a kind policy and a wise the same thing. This is one of those times.

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that creditors may not seize Individual Retirement Accounts when people file for bankruptcy, giving protection to a nest egg relied upon by millions of Americans.

The unanimous decision sides with a bankrupt Arkansas couple fighting to keep more than $55,000 in retirement savings. As a result, IRAs now join pensions, 401(k)s, Social Security and other benefits tied to age, illness or disability that are afforded protection under bankruptcy law.

IRAs should not be treated any differently because the benefits are tied to people’s age, the court said.

I can’t comment on the points of law, but this is a great decision. It is important to raise America’s savings rate, and retirement savings is a great way to do this. However, if individual retirement accounts were subject to bankruptcy seizures, less people would use them. If creditors could take them, this would increase their risk and decrease their attractiveness.

With this decision, the Supreme Court furthers a 21st century economy. Centrally controlled pension systems have had this protection for decades. Now individual investors also share in their benefits.

Pope Benedict XVI on Priest Sex Abuse

Meditations on the Way of the Cross,” by Pope Benedict XVI (nee Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger), The Holy See, 24 March 2005, http://www.catholic.org/cathcom/international_story.php?id=13446.

Your Turn,” by Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish, 19 April 2005, http://www.andrewsullivan.com/index.php?dish_inc=archives/2005_04_17_dish_archive.html#111393477020481863.

Andrew Sullivan posts an email condemnign the Vatican for not choosing someone who will go after pedophiles

As a fellow Catholic with a questioning brain and a personal conscience, your blog was my only comfort this morning as I absorbed the impact of Ratzinger’s election. This was a “circle the wagons” decision. The sex abuse crisis was a wake-up call that the church urgently needs to grow and change- the selection of Ratzinger is a signal that the Vatican still believes they can solve all problems with raw power (theirs) and blind obedience (ours). I never, never thought I would say this, but I really wonder if I can be a Catholic three years from now.

Good thing never talked on the subject… you know, at the Vatican’s Good Friday Mass last month

What can the third fall of Jesus under the Cross say to us? We have considered the fall of man in general, and the falling of many Christians away from Christ and into a godless secularism. Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in his own Church? How often is the holy sacrament of his Presence abused, how often must he enter empty and evil hearts! How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that he is there! How often is his Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words! How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency! What little respect we pay to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where he waits for us, ready to raise us up whenever we fall! All this is present in his Passion. His betrayal by his disciples, their unworthy reception of his Body and Blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces his heart. We can only call to him from the depths of our hearts: Kyrie eleison — Lord, save us (cf. Matthew 8: 25).

UpdateProfessor Bainbridge has similar thoughts.

John Edwards, President for the Last Century

“Restore American Workers’ Right to Organize,” by John Edwards, One America Committee personal email, 19 April 2005.

In a list email (which is not online yet), John Edwards shows he would make a popular President… if this was 1960.

As I have been traveling across the country looking at ways to help families escape poverty and join the middle class, I have seen time and time again that joining a union is one of the best ways to lift people out of poverty. Americans in unions earn 27% more than Americans not in unions.

Today, Congress is introducing bipartisan legislation to restore a worker’s right to organize. The Employee Free Choice Act would make it harder for employers to prevent workers from joining a union.

All too often, America’s workers face harassment and intimidation when they try to join a union. They work hard for our country, but our laws aren’t working for them. This important legislation would change our laws so that workers – not employers – can decide whether to start a union.

Please help America’s workers by contacting your Senators and U.S. Representative and asking them to cosponsor this critical legislation immediately.

This bill would ensure a worker’s right to join a union by requiring employers to recognize a union if a majority of employees have designated the union as their bargaining representative. Also known as “card check,” this system offers a free and fair way for American workers to decide whether to join a union.

And this act strengthens penalties against employers who violate the rights of their workers while they are trying to organize a union and negotiate their first contract.

Americans all across the country want the chance to build a better life for their families. They want a fair wage, good health care coverage and the option of joining a union. It is wrong for employers to interfere with their right to organize.

We need your help to ensure that the rights of America’s workers are protected. By asking your representatives in Congress to support this legislation, you can help build an America that respects the rights of all its citizens.

Even putting aside the bill’s afront to federalism, or its interventionism, it’s still a bad idea.

Unions are legal cooperatives of workers who band together to fight an employer’s market power. Fine. They are part of capitalism. But they shouldn’t be encouraged by an interventionist state. They impeed corporations’ flexibility and efficiency. They hurt America in world competition. They provide very little benefit to non-unionized workers.

A modern left-of-center economic approach should focus on raising all Americans: improved health care, improved education, an improved retirement system. Those are structural fixes which I expect modern Democrats to propose. Not sops to a dead economy and 1950s populism.

Habemus Papam (Pope Benedict XVI and the Popes Benedict)

Pope Benedict I,” “Pope Benedict II,” … , “Pope Benedict XV,” Wikipedia, 19 April 2005, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_I, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_II, … , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_XV.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI. But who were the old Popes Benedict?

On the papacy of the last Benedict, the Fifteenth. Benedict XV was noted as a moderate between modernists and traditionalists, and his devotion to an early peace in World War I

His pontificate was dominated by the war and its turbulent aftermath. He organised significant humanitarian efforts (establishing a Vatican bureau, for instance, to help prisoners of war from all nations contact their families) and made many unsuccessful attempts to negotiate peace. The best known was the Papal Peace proposal of 1917, but both sides saw him as biased in favour of the other and were unwilling to accept the terms he proposed. This resentment resulted in the exclusion of the Vatican from the negotations that brought about the war’s end; despite this, he wrote an encyclical pleading for international reconciliation, Pacem Dei munus. In the post-war period Benedict was involved in developing the Church administration to deal with the new international system that had emerged.

In internal Church affairs, Benedict calmed the excesses of the campaign against supposedly modernist scholars within the Church that had characterised the reign of St. Pius X. He also promulgated a new Code of Canon Law in 1917 and attempted to improve relations with the anticlerical Republican government of France by canonising the French national heroine Joan of Arc. In the mission territories of the Third World, he emphasised the necessity of training native priests to replace the European missionaries as soon as possible.

Hopefully, better than Benedict XIV, who substantially harmed the Church in China centuries ago

Perhaps the most important act of his pontificate was the promulgation of his famous laws about missions in the two bulls, Ex quo singulari and Omnium solicitudinum. In these bulls he denounced the custom of accommodating Christian words and usages to express non-Christian ideas and practices of the native cultures, which had been extensively done by the Jesuits in their Indian and Chinese missions. An example of this is the statues of the ancestors – is honor paid to the ancestors to be considered the unacceptable ‘ancestor worship’ or something more like the Catholic veneration of the saints – and can a Catholic legitimately ‘venerate’ an ancestor known to not have been a Christian? The choice of a Chinese translation for the name of God had also been debated since the early 1600s.

The thirteen was best known for his superstition, and attempting to call himself the Fourteenth. He also shaped up amoral priests

Benedict XIII, born Pietro Francesco Orsini, and later in religion Vincenzo Maria Orsini (Gravina di Puglia, February 2, 1649 – March 2, 1730) was pope from 1724 to 1730. He succeeded Innocent XIII in 1724. At first, he called himself Benedict XIV (due to the superstition alleging that the number thirteen brings bad luck), but afterwards altered the title. He was a reforming pope and endeavoured to put a stop to the decadent lifestyles of the Italian priesthood and of the cardinalate. He was a member of the great Orsini family of Rome, and the last member of that family to become Pope.

The twelth also fought for peace, but was a noted intellectual (like Ratzinger) — he even debated William of Occam (of Occam’s Razor fame)!

He succeeded Pope John XXII as Pope in 1334, but did not carry out the policy of his predecessor. He practically made peace with the Emperor Louis, and as far as possible came to terms with the Franciscans, who were then at odds with the Roman see.

He was a reforming pope, and tried to curb the luxury of the monastic orders, but without much success. He also ordered the construction on the Palais des Papes in Avignon. He spent most of his time working on questions of theology, he rejected many of the ideas developed by John XXII and campaign against the Immaculate Conception. He engaged in long theological debates with other noted figures of the age such as William of Ockham and Meister Eckhart.

The eleventh was the last pope before the Babylonian Captivity, but was quickly poisoned by the francophones

After a brief pontificate of eight months, Benedict died suddenly at Perugia. It was suspected, not altogether without reason, that his sudden death was caused by poisoning through the agency of Nogaret. Benedict’s successor, Clement V, and the popes who succeeded him were completely under the influence of the kings of France, and removed the Papal seat from Rome to Avignon, sometimes known as the Babylonian Captivity.

Benedict X was never truly elected and died in prison. Heh.

Nicholas II proceeded towards Rome, along the way holding a synod at Sutri, where he pronounced Benedict X deposed and excommunicated. The supporters of Nicholas II then gained control of Rome, and forced Benedict X to flee to the castle of Gerard of Galeria. Having arrived in Rome, Nicholas II then proceeded to wage war against Benedict X and his supporters, with Norman assistance. An initial battle was fought in Campagna in early 1059, which was not wholly successful for Nicholas II; but later that same year, his forces conquered Praeneste, Tusculum and Numentanum, and then attacked Galeria, forcing Benedict X to surrender and renounce the Papacy.

Benedict X was then allowed to go free, and he retired to one of his family estates; but Hildebrand then had him imprisoned in 1060 in the hospice of St. Agnese, where he died, still a prisoner, sometime around 1073 or 1080.

The Ninth was younger than 20 when elected, quit to get married, and tried to get the Papacy back.

Benedict IX, n̩ Theophylactus (c. 1012 Рmaybe 1055, 1065, or 1085) was pope from 1032 to 1045. The son of Alberich III, count of Tusculum, Benedict was nephew of Pope Benedict VIII and Pope John XIX. His father obtained the Papal chair for him, granting it to his son in October 1032.

It has been stated that Benedict was no older than twelve when made pontiff. Some sources even claim eleven. If this were true, then he would be the youngest pope ever. But the Catholic Encyclopedia [1] (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/) and other sources claim that he was around 18 to 20 years old. Since his precise date of birth is unknown, we can say with certainty only that he must have been one of the youngest popes.

Benedict was entirely unsuited to be pontiff; he reportedly led an extremely dissolute life, although in terms of theology and the ordinary activities of the Church he was entirely orthodox. He was briefly forced out of Rome in 1036 and needed the support of Emperor Conrad II to return. In January 1044 he was forced from the city again and replaced by Silvester III, sometimes considered an antipope. Benedict’s forces returned in April and expelled his rival. Benedict then resigned in June possibly desiring to marry, selling his office to Priest John Gratian, his godfather (possibly for over 650 kg of gold). Gratian became Pope Gregory VI in May, 1045. Benedict apparently soon regretted the sale and returned to try to depose Gregory; Silvester also re-emerged to make his claim.

Benedict retook Rome and remained on the throne until July 1046. King Henry III intervened and at the Council of Sutri in December 1046 Benedict and Silvester were deprived of their offices and Gregory was encouraged to resign, Benedict did not actually attend. The German Bishop Suidger was crowned Pope Clement II. Benedict rejected this and when Clement II died in October 1047 he seized the Lateran Palace in November, but was driven away in July 1048 and Poppo of Brixen as Damasus II finally succeeded Clement. Benedict refused to appear on charges of simony in 1049 and was excommunicated.

Benedict’s fate is obscure, he may have given up and resigned the pontificate, dying around 1065 in the Abbey of Grottaferrata. Other sources say he died in 1085. Pope Leo IX may have lifted the ban on him. Another report is that he continued to seek support for a return but died in January 1055 or 1056.

The Eighth oversaw the loss of Italian lands to Norman and Arab settlers.

Benedict VIII, né Theophylactus (died April 9, 1024), pope (1012-1024), of the noble family of the counts of Tusculum, descended from Theophylact, Count of Tusculum like his predecessor Benedict VI, was opposed by an antipope Gregory, who compelled him to flee from Rome. He was restored by Henry II of Germany, whom he crowned emperor in 1014. In his pontificate the Saracens renewed their attacks on the southern coasts of Europe, and effected a settlement in Sardinia. The Normans also then began to settle in Italy.

The Seventh did nothing of note. He replaced an anti-Pope, governed quietly, and took care of business in an inoffensive manner.

The Sixth was murdered, just like the XIth and maybe some others.

Benedict VI, Pope (972 – 974), was chosen with great ceremony and installed pope under the protection of the Emperor Otto the Great. On the death of the emperor the turbulent citizens of Rome renewed their outrages, and the pope himself was strangled by order of Crescentius, the son of the notorious Theodora.

Benedict V was fired.

Benedict V (died July 4, 965), Pope (22 May 964 – 23 June 964), was elected by the Romans on the death of John XII. However the Roman emperor Otto I did not approve of the choice, had him deposed after only a month, and the ex-pope was carried off to Hamburg where he became a deacon, dying in July 965.

At the synod which deposed him the pastoral staff was broken over him by Leo VIII; this is the first mention of the papal sceptre.

The Fourth was involved in a post-mortem trial of another Pope. heh

Benedict IV was pope from c. 900-903. He was the son of Mammalus, a native of Rome. The tenth century historian Frodoard commended his noble birth and public generosity. Benedict upheld the ordinances of Pope Formosus, whose rotting corpse was exhumed by Pope Stephen VII and put on trial in the infamous “Cadaver Synod” of 897

The Third was a generally smart guy who outfoxed the Holy Roman Empire, and helped free the papacy from Imperial control

Prior to his election, Benedict had a reputation for learning and piety, and elected on the refusal of the initial choice of clergy and people, Hadrian: a group of important people preferred Anastasius. This latter group had Benedict’s election disavowed and Anastasius installed. However popular opinion was so strong that Benedict’s consecration was allowed. The Emperor Louis II’s envoys forced Benedict to handle Anastasius and adherents leniently. The schism helped to weaken the hold of the emperors upon the popes, especially upon their elections.

The Second did almost the same thing, being the last Pope personally approved by the Eastern Emperor

Benedict II was pope from 684 to 685. He succeeded Leo II, but although chosen in 683 he was not ordained till 684, because the leave of the Emperor Constantine IV Pogonatus was not obtained until some months after the election. He obtained from the Emperor a decree which either abolished imperial confirmations altogether or made them obtainable from the exarch in Italy.

The First gave some guy some property, and died during famine relief efforts

Almost the only act recorded of him is that he granted an estate, the Massa Veneris, in the territory of Minturnae, to Abbot Stephen of St. Mark’s “near the walls of Spoleto” (St. Gregory I, Ep. ix, 87, I. al. 30). Famine followed the devastating Lombards, and from the few words the Liber Pontificalis has about Benedict, we gather that he died in the midst of his efforts to cope with these difficulties. He was buried in the vestibule of the sacristy of the old basilica of St. Peter. In an ordination which he held in December he made fifteen priests and three deacons, and consecrated twenty-one bishops.

Few of the records of transactions outside Rome that help us understand the history of the Papacy survive from Benedict’s reign, and perhaps because of the disruption of the Lombards in Italy few ever existed.

Long Live Pope Benedict XVI!

Economist for a Flat Tax (Augmented Capitalist Flat Taxers)

Simpler Taxes,” The Economist, 14 April 2005, http://www.economist.com/printedition/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3861190&fsrc=RSS.

The Economist is a Market Liberal (what Forbush would call Augmented Capitalist) pro-gay-marriage, pro-prostitution, pro-Drug pro-War, pro-Clinton (twice), pro Bush (in ’00), pro-Kerry (in 04) British newspaper… which makes its agitation for a flag tax all the better

So much for the two main objections. What then are the advantages of being very simple-minded when it comes to tax? Simplicity of course is a boon in its own right. The costs merely of administering a conventionally clotted tax system are outrageous. Estimates for the United States, whose tax regime, despite the best efforts of Congress, is by no means the world’s most burdensome, put the costs of compliance, administration and enforcement between 10% and 20% of revenue collected. (That sum, by the way, is equivalent to between one-quarter and one-half of the government’s budget deficit.)

Though it is impossible to be precise, that direct burden is almost certainly as nothing compared with the broader economic costs caused by the government’s interfering so pervasively in the allocation of resources. A pathological optimist, or somebody nostalgic for Soviet central planning, might argue that the whole point of the myriad breaks, deductions, allowances, concessions, reliefs and assorted other tax expenditures that clog rich countries’ tax systems—requiring total revenues to be gathered from a narrower base of taxpayers at correspondingly higher and more distorting rates—is to improve economic efficiency. The whole idea, you see, is to allocate resources more intelligently. Yes, well. Take a look at the current United States tax code, or just at one session of Congress’s worth of tax-gifts to favourite constituencies, and try to keep a straight face while saying that.

Once tax codes have degenerated to the extent they have in most rich countries, laden with so many breaks and exceptions that they retain nothing of their original shape, even the pretence of any interior logic can be dispensed with. No tax break is too narrow, too squalid, too funny, to be excluded on those grounds: everybody is at it, so why not join in? At the other extreme, the simpler the system, the more such manoeuvres offend, and the easier it is to retain the simplicity.

In Britain, election notwithstanding, tax simplification is nowhere on the agenda: why not? George Bush has at least appointed a commission to look into tax reform. But its terms of reference are so narrow that it could not suggest a flat tax even if it wanted to. This is a great pity. A flat tax would not eliminate the need for spending control; it would not deal with the impending financial distress of Social Security and Medicare; it would not even settle the arguments about the so-called consumption tax (since in principle a flat tax could take as its base either all income, or income net of savings, in which case it would act as a consumption tax). There are things it cannot do and questions it does not answer. But the gains from a radical simplification of the tax system would be very great. The possibility should not be excluded at the outset.

Beyond the Collapse of Russia

Debating Russia’s Discorporation,” by Mark Safranski, Zen Pundit, 19 April 2005, http://zenpundit.blogspot.com/2005/04/debating-russias-discorporation.html.

Following up a debate on what Russia’s disintegration would mean, Mark opines

Dan’s connectivity observations regarding what we might call the first great centrifugal wave of nationalism that rocked the Soviet empire concerned true nation-states, all of which had previous experience with political independence, however briefly and long cultural histories. Georgian and Armenian historical memory stretch back to antiquity, the Ukranians to Kievan Rus, St. Cyril and Byzantine tutelage in Chritianity and civilization. A few of the original memnbers of the Commonwealth of Independent States like Belarus, Moldova and Tadjikstan have somewhat shakier national pedigrees but all of them outshine the potential aspirants of the second centrifugal wave battering Russia, of which the Chechens are but the cutting edge.

Currently Becker and Posner are debating the viability of small states, arguing in the main that the current world economic and political climate is more receptive to the survival of small polities. I agree provided the polities come with good governance – something I have grave doubts can be achieved by numerically tiny peoples like the Ossetians, Kalmyks, Mingrelians, Abkhazians who are little more than tribes yearning for flags, dominated politically by mafiya oligarchs and ex-Communist thugs.

Perhaps a free Tartarstan can make the grade, being larger and having oil but I don’t forsee a Yakut, Daghestani or Ingush state anytime soon petitioning for admittance to the WTO. They simply aren’t yet playing in the same civil society league that the Lithuanians were in in 1990 and at present the retreat of Russian power from these territories today is apt to spawn a constellation of failed states – a subsaharan Africa on the Caspian.

Mark’s write that dozens of microrepublics would be a disaster. Such a scheme is based on the federal components of Russia – its 89 parts. While Tartarstan and Kaliningrad may be viable, another model would be Russia’s federal districts

medium_russian_federal_districts.jpg
1. Central Federal District, 2. Southern Federal District, 3. Northwestern Federal District, 4. Far Eastern Federal District, 5. Siberian Federal District, 6. Urals Federal District, 7. Privolzhsky (Volga) Federal District

The Far Eastern Federal District was independent shortly after the Russian revolution, and many of the other districts have attributes of stable states.

Mark also has another point: Russia contains “Core,” “Seam State,” and “Gap” elements depending on geography. One solution would be to continue yoking these areas together under Moscow’s leadership. Another would be allowing discorporation, followed by a multilateral effort to connect everybody.

Why should only Russia be worried about Dagestan or Inguishtina? Why aren’t EU, NATO, or even Indian troops helping to connect the Caspain Sea littoral?

I am not saying we must collapse Russia, or press for this outcome. But such a future, it is happens, is not worth fighting.

Update 27 October 2005: Mark at Zen Pundit watches Russia die.

Benedict XVI Blog Roundup (St. Malachy Right Again)

The Future and the Popes,” by Ronald Conte Jr., Catholic Planet, 14 November 2004, http://www.catholicplanet.com/articles/article41.htm (from Trunews).

What Name Will the Next Pope Take?,” by Steev, Wooden Spoon, 3 April 2005, http://woodenspoon.net/2005/04/what_name_will_the_next_pope_tak.html.

Papal Punditry,” by Emmanuel, Emmanuel Schiff and the Masters of the University, 4 April 2005, http://es1982.blogspot.com/2005/04/papal-punditry.html.

Basically a Coup d’Etat for Pope Selection,” by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 19 April 2005, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/001695.html.

Benedict XVI is now the Pope of the Catholic Church. Noted geostrategist, Roman Catholic, and liberal hawk Tom Barnett is very, very critical

Ratzinger, John Paul II’s enforcer, basically pulled off an insider succession. This is such a bad thing for the Catholic Church, I am almost speechless.

What an amazingly bad pick. Ratzinger is the Chernenko coming on the heels of enfeebled Brezhnev. Complete step backward that history will blame on John Paul II and his sorry management of church in 1990s and 2000s until his death. The regent assumes the throne.

Until a real New Core or Gap pope succeeds Ratzinger (he should just go with Pope Ratzinger I), the papacy will declline in global relevancy to an amazing degree. I blame JP II for this outcome. That man’s intransigence will end up costing us plenty, and him most of his legacy.

Searching technocrati for brought up a few kinda-correct predictions, and one prophesy

First, Emmanuel tried to guess the personal and reign of the pontiff after John Paul II

And the nominees are:

1. German Cardinal Ratzinger (%50)
2. Nigerian Cardinal Arinze (40)
3. Italian Cardinal Dionigi Tattamanzi (30)
4. Brazillian Cardinal Hummes (20)
5. Belgian Cardinal Danneels (10)
Three runners-up that will give me one point if elected (at least to save face): Frenchman Lustiger, Hundurian Maradiaga or Italian Battista Re.

Names (if I’m wrong about the numbering, only the name itself counts):

1. Gregory XVII (%50)
2. Innocent XIV (40)
3. Leo XIV (30)
4. John Paul III (20)
5. Gelasius III (10) – in case an African is elected, he may name himself after the last African pope.
Runners-up (one point each): Clement XV, Benedict XVI or Adrian VII.

So 51%. Not bad.

Steev uses a more prosiac explanation

With the passing of Pope John Paul II today or yesterday (depending on where one is in the world), the question arises of what name the next pope will take.

I was discussing the matter a few days ago with a friend, who happens to be named Benedict. For no better reason than that, I propose Benedict XVI.

Meanwhile, some relied on the prophesy of Saint Malachi

Pope #111 on St. Malachy’s list is given the phrase: “From the Glory of the Olive.” This prophetic phrase has several meanings which correctly apply to the next Pope after John Paul II.

Some say that this prediction of St. Malachy, “From the Glory of the Olive,” refers to the Order of St. Benedict, because they have a well-known group within their order called the ‘Olivetans.’ There is some merit to this idea. But it does not mean that this Pope will come from the Order of St. Benedict, but rather that he will take the name of Saint Benedict and will live in imitation of him.

The next Pope after John Paul II will take the name Pope Benedict XVI, in imitation of Saint Benedict and also of Pope Benedict XV.