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Monday, February 11, 2013

With Pope Benedict XVI resigning, the Next Pope could be.....

I woke up this morning, as we all did, to the news that the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics Pope Benedict XVI announcing plans to step down as leader of the Catholic Church because he was too elderly and infirm for the job - the first pope to do so in nearly 600 years. The last Pope to resign, Gregory XII, did so in 1415, 10 years into his tenure, in the midst of a leadership crisis in the church known as the Great Western Schism.
Gregory XII

Gregory XII reigned for a decade during a period of political turmoil in the church in which three men, one in Rome, one in Avignon, France, and one in Pisa, Italy, claimed to be pope.Gregory XII - born Angelo Correr in Venice -- was elected by cardinals in Rome in 1405 to succeed Innocent VII, who died suddenly just two years into his reign. During his term, the other claimants were Antipope Benedict XIII of Avignon and Antipope John XXIII of Pisa.

Castel Gandolfo,Italy

The resignation of Benedict XVI after an eight-year tenure will essentially be a retirement at the age of 85, after the pope showed increasingly public signs of fatigue in recent months. His last day as pope will be Feb. 28 at 8pm Rome Time. He will then head to the summer home of all Pope's, Castel Gandolfo,Italy for a time. The Vatican said Pope Benedict would eventually move to a monastery within the Vatican.  In his statement, Pope Benedict said he wished "to devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer."

The move sets the stage for the Vatican to hold a "conclave" to elect a new pope by mid-March, since the traditional mourning time that would follow the death of a pope doesn't have to be observed.

So who will that be? Speculation has been rampant as there are no shortage of so called experts who think they know who the next Pope will. be. Remember a Pope does NOT have to be a Cardinal or even a Priest but Traditionally, one has to be a cardinal to become a pope, "but theoretically any male Catholic (including a layman) may be elected."

Lets see some of the front runners:

My source puts at the top of the list, (for what its worth): 

Cardinal John Olorunfemi  Onaiyekan (Nigeria, 69) Created Cardinal 2012, Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria.  

He is a well known figure at the Vatican as he has participated in a number of Vatican activities and a a good number of the synods of bishop.


 Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz (Brazil, 65) Created Cardinal 2012, current prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

brought fresh air to the Vatican department for religious congregations when he took over in 2011. He supports the preference for the poor in Latin America's liberation theology, but not the excesses of its advocates. 

Cardinal Marc Ouellet (Canada, 68)   Created Cardinal 2003,He is the present prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and concurrently president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

is effectively the Vatican's top staff director as head of the Congregation for Bishops. He once said becoming pope "would be a nightmare." Though well connected within the Curia, the widespread secularism of his native Quebec could work against him.  

 Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi (Italy, 70) Created Cardinal 2010,He currently serves in the Roman Curia as President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

has been Vatican culture minister since 2007 and represents the Church to the worlds of art, science, culture and even to atheists. This profile could hurt him if cardinals decide they need an experienced pastor rather than another professor as pope.

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri (Argentina, 69) Created Cardinal 2007, He is the current Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in the Roman Curia.

 is a "transatlantic" figure born in Buenos Aires to Italian parents. He held the third-highest Vatican post as its chief of staff in 2000-2007. But he has no pastoral experience and his job overseeing eastern churches is not a power position in Rome. 

Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer (Brazilia, 63) He currently serves as Archbishop of São Paulo, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 2007.

ranks as Latin America's strongest candidate. Archbishop of Sao Paolo, largest diocese in the largest Catholic country, he is conservative in his country but would rank as a moderate elsewhere. The rapid growth of Protestant churches in Brazil could count against him.  

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn (Austria, 67)   He currently serves as the Archbishop of Vienna and President of the Austrian Bishops Conference. He was elevated to Cardinal in 1998.

is a former student of Pope Benedict with a pastoral touch the pontiff lacks. The Vienna archbishop has ranked as papal material since editing the Church catechism in the 1990s. But some cautious reform stands and strong dissent by some Austrian priests could hurt him. 

Cardinal Angelo Scola (Italy, 71)He was appointed Archbishop of Milan by Pope Benedict XVI on 28 June 2011.He was elevated to the Cardial in 2003. is archbishop of Milan, a springboard to the papacy, and is many Italians' bet to win. An expert on bioethics, he also knows Islam as head of a foundation to promote Muslim-Christian understanding. His dense oratory could put off cardinals seeking a charismatic communicator.   

Cardinal Luis Tagle (Philippines, 55) Appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales. Tagle is also the Professor of Dogmatic Synthesis at the Graduate School of Theology of San Carlos Seminary, the archdiocesan major seminary of Manila, and an Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at the Loyola School of Theology of the Ateneo de Manila University.

has a charisma often compared to that of the late Pope John Paul. He is also close to Pope Benedict after working with him at the International Theological Commission. While he has many fans, he only became a cardinal in 2012 and conclaves are wary of young candidates.   Cardinal Peter Turkson (Ghana, 64) He is the current president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.He became a Cardinal in the top African candidate. Head of the Vatican justice and peace bureau, he is spokesman for the Church's social conscience and backs world financial reform. He showed a video criticizing Muslims at a recent Vatican synod, raising doubts about how he sees Islam.     Again I am sure many more names will be mentioned as who will sit in The Chair of St. Peter!    As soon as March 1, 2013 the "conclave" of Cardinals will convene.  During the forthcoming Conclave, there will be 117 cardinals who are younger than 80 and thereby eligible to vote. Sixty-seven of these were appointed by Benedict XVI, and 50 by his predecessor John Paul II. About half (61) are European, and 21 are Italian. There will also be 19 Latin Americans, 14 North Americans, 11 Africans, 11 Asians and one cardinal from Oceania among the voters. The cardinals are shut away in the Vatican until they reach agreement - the meaning of the word conclave indicating that they are literally locked up "with a key". A Simple 2/3rds +1 is needed to agree on the next Pope. There would be two votes in the morning and two in the afternoon. They will be locked inside the Sistine Chapel each day for as many days as it takes.

The announcement will first be known with the traditional puff of white smoke signifying that an agreement on the next Pope has been reached.