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Pope Francis’ Fellowship of the Ring

AFP/ Gabriel Bouys

Fr Dwight Longenecker - published on 12/05/13

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The quiet, spiritual, self effacing yet courageous 
Cardinal Sean O’Malley is Legolas the warrior elf. The archer in mythology is also the messenger, and Cardinal O’Malley is famous for being a blogger and podcaster. A quiet and alert watchman, Cardinal Legolas will bring a warm spirituality, a keen eye and a sharp intellect to the fellowship of the Fisherman’s ring.

I’m electing 
Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya to stand for Aragorn. The African cardinal was not exactly a king, but he was chosen to serve as the interim ruler of Zaire when his country was going through a time of crisis. Furthermore, the urbane and polished Archbishop is from the royal family of the Basakata tribe and his name “monsengwo” means “relative of the chief.” Not exactly Son of Arathorn and heir of Isildur, but a splendid moniker all the same. It will do.

Cardinal Francisco Javier Ossa gets the wizard’s hat. He is not only the oldest and most experienced member of the fellowship, but he is also a mentor and old friend of Pope Francis. A retired Archbishop of Santiago in Chile, he shares the pope’s vision for the church and in many ways helped to inspire it. Cardinal Gandalf brings gravitas, wisdom and strength to the council. I’m afraid the Cardinal from Chile is clean shaven and there is no evidence of either a pipe or a fondness for fireworks.

This leaves us with the problematic Boromir. A well intentioned, strong and faithful member of the fellowship, Boromir falls prey to the wrong priorities. He wants to do his best, but he tries to take the ring of power and use it to do good in the wrong way. 
Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga of Honduras will have to play Boromir. Some observers of the church believe Cardinal Maradiaga, full of good intentions, sails too close to Marxism and liberation theology. They worry that, like Boromir, he is too prone to do the wrong thing for the right reasons.

Happily, my analysis of the Fellowship of the Fisherman’s Ring is not infallible truth. Use the embedded links to learn more about the cardinals who are helping the pope bring positive change to the church and pray that they might be guided to decide to do what is right with the time that is given to them.

Fr Dwight Longenecker is the parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary in Greenville, South Carolina. Visit his blog, browse his books and be in touch at
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CatholicismPope FrancisVatican
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