(Sure, it was quite the day for the "cultic" model of priesthood -- people in the street forgot it was Halloween, approaching with the request that I hear their confessions, at which they were pointed to the nearest rectory -- but it might just be best to reserve the rig to years in which the archbishop of Philadelphia is elevated to the Sacred College.)
To business, in a shameless rip from TIME, Whispers closed 2005 by naming its first Churchman of the Year. Two, actually -- monumental year that it was, the award was divided, with Don Giussani taking the international honors and then-Archbishop Levada claiming the US prize.
As November and December always tend to become a black hole of everything Christmas -- card-writing, party-hopping, excessive gift-buying, etc. -- it seems optimal to get a head start on the process with the means by which everything good gets done here: reader input.
Given these pages' increase in audience size over the last ten months, this should make for a lot of fun, with a wider range of voices enabling a more comprehensive field of nominees.
Ideally, the honoree(s) is/are tied in with one of the year's major stories or guiding trends. For obvious reasons, last year was easy, but given Regensburg/Liturgy Wars/the Coming of Bertone/various appointments/et al., the field just opens all the more.... And, just so you know, the "churchman" doesn't have to be a cleric, nor a man -- the primary criterion, however, is ad intra resonance.
I might already have a name or two in mind, but the year's far from over -- and the readership has far greater a wisdom than its author. So feel free to send nominees my way, with 50-100 words as to why your choice deserves the nod.
Many thanks in advance; the designee(s) will be announced toward December's end.