Saturday, March 02, 2013

The General Preparation

Before we get any deeper into things, a quick Advance Note from behind the scenes.

As a word of warning in this early stage, it bears reminding that the coming fortnight won't so much be a steady stream of stuff. 

Much more likely, it'll shape up as a series of fits and starts – put another way, a lot of "hurry up and wait."

Ravenous as every last one of us might be right now, hopefully this "nature of the beast" won't be news to most. Wherever it is, though, when the task at hand is reporting a reality coming together in real-time and amid revolutionized circumstances as opposed to the flood of "fairytales," commentary, aged chatter and conspiracy theories floating about – of which you can find no shortage, elsewhere – a rocky road to print for our purposes is inevitably going to be the case.

In a nutshell, folks – at least, if you're game to be serious about what's now upon us – just never fail to keep in mind that the moment ahead is a marathon, not a sprint: that not every supposed "development" is White Smoke... that you won't have to listen hard out there for every last elector (even Bertone) to be touted somehow, somewhere as The Next Pope over these next days... and that acting like each blip on the radar is The Be-All And End-All Of The Church will only result in one thing – driving yourself crazy, for nothing.

As the veterans 'round here know, these pages have never played that game... and, well, that's not going to change now. Still, in the hope of bringing something credible to serve the quieter moments, you've already got two "cheat sheets" right here in front of you.

First, as always, Page Three – whether via Twitter or down the right sidebar here – will maintain the standard quick-draw mix of immediate updates, fly-overs of links and the various movements of buzz floating around in the moment. 

Most of all, though, if you're curious about the latest name being used to fill the dead-space out in the ether or whoever else, well, we've already got 'em covered in-depth: up in the top left corner of this page is a search-bar which'll pull up all references to any term(s) from the Whispers Archives – all 7,500 pieces spanning this entire pontificate, and featuring this sede vacante's cast of characters in full. So just type in whatever you might be curious about and have a ball. 

*   *   *
Lastly, at least on the logistical front, a world of thanks to everyone who's helped over these last monumental days to start making what's always the steepest mountain of this work – keeping the bills paid and the shop afloat – a good bit easier to climb at this stage of things.

Hopefully those of you who've lent a hand will be getting some sort of Transition Brief over the week to come. For now, though, please understand that things are so upended – to be fully honest out-and-out frantic – that, much as this scribe would want to, I simply can't promise it just yet. 

Regardless, as the days to come promise to be as expensive as they'll be eventful, unless this scribe's suddenly "off the hook" when it comes to my job, then neither is this readership on your part in making it happen....

Please God, the content here has held up somewhat sanely amid many emotions of these last 19 days – prima di tutto, the sense of a very deep shock that hasn't exactly worn off just yet. Whatever the case, it still seems no exaggeration to say that everything's changed now, even the nature of the papacy itself. 

The rest is truly up in the air now, and only from this point will a rough impression of indicators begin to emerge.

That said, even the Conclave ain't the most fun these pages will have over these weeks: just like last time, that'll come afterward, when the rest of the world fades from the scene, a new Pope starts up... and for the 266th time since a fisherman from Galilee, the church built upon Peter begins to chart a new and different course. 


As we've got a ways to go before getting there, though, over and above all else in these days, church, let us pray, for so much more than can be succinctly said....

And now, back at it.