Highlights from the week online

A new rule to make the conclave work

The college of Cardinals has become more international, said George Weigel at First Things – and that has obvious advantages. “A wider representation of countries and ecclesial experiences should, in theory, allow for a broader-gauged reflection on the Catholic reality in different parts of the world, both in the Roman offices, in whose work the cardinals participate, and in a papal conclave.”

The trouble is that the cardinals don’t know each other. “They’ve not had the opportunity to learn each other’s concerns and views, beyond what they read in the media.” And that creates problems for a conclave: the cardinals will have to “rely on the world press for information about men they really should know from personal experience”.

Weigel suggested a solution. Conclaves currently start voting as soon as they meet. But the rules could be changed so that a three-day “pause” precedes voting. “Wouldn’t such a pause for common prayer, reflection, and fraternity, with no outside interference, help facilitate the kind of prudent decision-making the Church always hopes for in a papal election?”

An archaeological find which ISIS missed

Fox News carried a report from former ISIS-held territory in northern Syria. “For years,” wrote Hollie McKay, the Islamist warriors who occupied Manbij “paid little attention to the tip of an old gate on an empty mound of land where they dumped trash”.

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