Before then, however, let's stop and and take one last look backwards in time. This is from the excellent 1983 book Pontiff, by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts. I think it's out of print now, but if you run across it in a library or used book store it's well worth a read. It's 1978, and John Paul has just been elected pope. Lambert Greenan, the editor of the English edition of L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, has just received a phone call from John Cardinal Cody, the archbishop of Chicago. Cody, who had been invited to dine with Greenan at the end of the conclave, is calling to express his regrets - the new Holy Father has invited all the cardinals to eat and pray with him. "Very Polish," Cody says. The story continues:
"Also very Irish, Eminence." [Greenan says]
"Polish. Irish. Same thing where I come from," growls Cody. "Okay. You ask me again. Understand?"
A sudden thought strikes Greenan. The Chicago cardinal has a large number of Poles in his archdiocese. It's worth a try.
"Eminence, what's the new pope like?"
"You've met him of course?"
"Sure. Lots of times. A great man. Let me tell you a few things. . . ."
For the next twenty minutes Greenan listens to one cardinal's very personal view of the new pontiff. The editor will decide that what he hears is too privileged ever to reveal."
The riveting call ends on a high note.
"Lambert, you listen to me. This is going to be the greatest pope ever. You get that? Ever."
Without waiting to say good-bye Cody rings off.
Cardinal Cody may have had his faults, but as a prophet he did a pretty good job, didn't he?