I’ll never forget my American Problems’ class in Elkhorn (Wisc) high school during the 1970-71 academic year. As an American Field Service scholar, learning what was going on in the U.S. and in the world through the New York Times’ pages and taking exams every week on the subject using the test published by the paper was something new and very atractive for a 17 year old who had spent most of his youth as an intern in a seminary of St. Vicent of Paul located in Villafranca del Bierzo, Leon province (Spain).
Only years later, when I started teaching in the UCM campus, that experience and my 3 years (1972, 73 and 74) as educator in the Lafuente Chaos college of Guadalajara for sons (many of them orphans) of doctors, while I was studying Journalism in Madrid, I realized its impact in my teaching vocation and attitude towards students.
From time to time, in my general course on international relations -the equivalent of Theory and Management of International Affairs-, I came back to the New York Times Learning Network section and asked my students to read attentively the news and answer the questionaires.
Two good examples for students interested in the election of a new Pope by the Catholic Church are the lessons published on March 12th, updated the following day: Change Agent: Examining How and Why the Pope Can Make a Global Difference and Selection of New Pope Cloaked in Secrecy and Tradition.
In “A Strict Adherence to Ritual and Secrecy in Election of Pope,” Daniel J. Wakin writes about the intricate traditions involved in selecting a new pope.
After reading the recommended articles, the students should be able to answer the following questions and open a discussion in classs on them:
WHAT is the papal conclave?
WHAT does the first round of voting accomplish?
HOW many votes does a cardinal need to become the next pope?
WHO is Benedict XVI?
WHO gets to vote in the selection of a new pope?
WHO took an oath of secrecy on Monday in the Pauline Chapel in the Apostolic Palace?
WHERE does voting take place?
WHY are cellphone jamming devices used during the conclave?
WHY do scrutinizers “pierce each ballot with a needle and thread”?
WHEN does the outside world first learn that a new pope has been selected?
Related: Our 6 Qs “Pope Benedict XVI Announces He Will Resign” and our lesson “Talking About the Roman Catholic Church and the Sex Abuse News.”
A look at the voting process to elect the next pope.
The CSMonitor’s analysis, signed by Robert Marquand, used as tthe basis for a test and other practical activities in class, starts with this 3 paragraphs:
The church leader that believing Roman Catholics call the “successor” of the apostle Peter and “the vicar of Christ” will go by the name of Pope Francis and is the first non-European pope in modern times, and the first from a developing country.
The much-awaited choice is something of a surprise, as the new pope was not foreshadowed prominently on the short lists of various experts, though the 76-year old was said to be the runner-up to retiring Pope Benedict in the 2005 conclave… (read more)