Is Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley The Only ‘Western’ Cardinal With A Beard?

Also read this May 10, 2010 posting on Cardinal O’Malley’s chances of being the next pope.

I really do NOT think the next pope will be from the US. I have made that abundantly clear in my blogs and in “The Next Pope.” I also do not think that the next pope will be from Germany or Poland. But, I am also the first to admit that I could be wrong.

Yes, in time there will be a pope from the US. I just have a hard time believing that it will be within the next decade. A pope from the US will, rightly or wrongly, be seen as imbuing the US with even more political clout and influence. Yes, Barak Obama‘s inspiring presidency as ameliorated the worst of the polarization we had seen in the past. But, I am not sure that the cardinals electors from around the world are still willing to give the US two ‘top tier’ world leaders right now. But, I could be wrong. As for Germany and Poland … the electors may feel that the ‘wealth’ has to be spread around.

In the last couple of days I have received a couple of emails promoting Cardinal O’Malley as a viable papabile.

I have my doubts. But, I also noticed that he sports a BEARD. That was noticeable. Yes, the Eastern Rites Patriarchs all have beards. But, they are supposed to.

Here is an illuminating article from the 1914 Catholic Encyclopedia about beards.

Innocent XII (#243), 1691-1700, was the last pope to have a beard.

That O’Malley proudly sports a beard is incongruous, at least to me. Yes, he is a Capuchin; i.e., a friar in the order of Friars Minor Capuchin. Yes, all of the ten prior cardinals who were Capuchins also had beards. We, however, have 36 cardinals, in total, that belong to religious orders. The others don’t sport beards.

Is he trying to tell US something, and if so, what so.

I used to have a goatee when I was in my early twenties. Since then I have also become one who questions those that don’t shave. I hate shaving. I also hate exercise … but, I run 6 days a week. I shave at least as often. So what is it with O’Malley? He doesn’t look like a runner. Can’t he be bothered to shave? I just did a post comparing John XXIII (#262) to Benedict XVI (#266). I could be wrong. Forget O’Malley is American. Forget that he will invariably be associated with Cardinal Law. Will the electors elect one of the very few among them that does NOT shave? Tell me. Just for the record, no Capuchin has ever been pope. There have, however, been 30 popes from other religious orders.

Anura Guruge


5 thoughts on “Is Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley The Only ‘Western’ Cardinal With A Beard?”

  1. I, too, am a Capuchin Franciscan friar (we are not monks) and I have a beard according to our Capuchin tradition. At one time, wearing the beard was a mandatory part of the Capuchin habit, but is now optional.

    1. Thank YOU, father. Yes, I am familiar with the tradition.
      Recently on my other blog,, we had a spirited discussion re. Eastern Rites prelates with beards — and then Orthodox Priests with beards. It appears beards have become optional across the board, even in the Orthodox church. One of my most frequent contributors to that blog was Father Peter, an Orthodox Archpriest from Vienna who also taught theology at a seminary. I asked him how many of his students had beards. The answer: zero.
      Father, if you have the time and inclinations PLEASE comment and provide feedback on either or both these blogs — though I now do much more postings on the other blog. Near daily. In addition to Fr. Peter, we have at least two other priests that contribute, sometimes with their own posting. Father Anthony a Catholic priest from the UK (which is also where I am from) and Father John from Philly — a HUGE fan of Cardinal O’Malley, who he has met a few times.
      So, good to hear from you.
      You should read this post about Ven. John Paul II’s re-interment:
      All the best.

    2. Father,
      SORRY about the ‘monk.’ YOU have to excuse ME. I am sorry. I fixed it.
      Given that I usually get smacked about the ears as soon as I commit such a faux pas, I am amazed that it has gone 13 months without getting corrected. Sorry.
      All the best.

    1. That was written BEFORE Marx was created — I think.
      I had NOT noticed till now. Thank you. Not sure WHY he has a beard. He is not even a Capachuin.

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