The can­di­dates to be the next Pope

The Church of England - - ENGLAND - By Am­ber Cur­tis

As 1.2 bil­lion Ro­man Catholics be­gan their prepa­ra­tion for the sea­son of Lent, they were greeted with sur­pris­ing news from Vat­i­can City. Pope Bene­dict XVI be­came the first pope to vol­un­tar­ily re­sign in al­most 600 years when he an­nounced he was de­part­ing “for the good of the church” af­ter al­most eight years of ser­vice.

The news com­pletely shocked the world since the 85year old was in good favour. He will of­fi­cially leave the last day of Fe­bru­ary.

The 266th Pope will be cho­sen by about 120 Car­di­nals, all un­der 80 years old. The ac­tual vot­ing will oc­cur be­neath Michelan­gelo’s fresco of the Last Judg­ment. A Pope will be elected if they can reach a two-thirds ma­jor­ity.

Since Pope Bene­dict XVI pleased those he rep­re­sented, many are pre­dict­ing his re­place­ment will be a leader with the same mo­ral agenda.

Af­ter cen­turies of Euro­pean Popes, it has been ru­moured it is fi­nally time for a Pope from a dif­fer­ent part of the world.

While names from around the world have sprung up, many be­lieve the next Pope will be cho­sen from fron­trun­ning Latin Amer­ica.

“It’s time for there to be a Latin Amer­i­can pope, be­cause Latin Amer­ica has the great­est num­ber of Chris­tians,” said the Rev Juan An­gel Lopez, spokesman for the Catholic Church of Hon­duras.

That par­tic­u­lar re­gion rep­re­sents the largest bloc, which has 42 per cent of the Catholic pop­u­la­tion world­wide.

Leonardo San­dri, (69) a Car­di­nal from Ar­gentina and head of the Vat­i­can’s East­ern Churches, shares many of the cur­rent Pope’s feel­ings and seems to be the clos­est to be­ing a front run­ner. His best con­nec­tion was as the spokesper­son for Pope John Paul II. How­ever, many doubt his abil­i­ties due to his lack of ex­pe­ri­ence.

Odilo Scherer, (63) Arch­bishop of Sao Paulo, is also a favourite for the next pope since he has the largest dio­cese in Brazil. He has mod­er­ate views, which would al­low equal­ity in de­ci­sions.

Ital­ians ap­pear pretty con­fi­dent they will have the best bid. An­gelo Scola, (71) the Arch­bishop of Mi­lan, has been known as an “ex­pert” on bioethics. He is also the head of the suc­cess­ful foun­da­tion that pro­motes Mus­lim-Chris­tian re­la­tions.

Since Pope Bene­dict XVI was elected, Christoph Schoen­born, (67) a former pupil to the Pope, has em­u­lated the Pope’s ways and is a promis­ing fu­ture can­di­date. He has been seen by many Catholics as pa­pal ma­te­rial since two decades ago.

Since many Catholics are tr ying to re­turn to their ul­tra­con­ser­va­tive ways, Ghana’s Peter Turk­son (64) shares views that they be­lieve will con­tinue the di­rec­tion of Bene­dict. The head of the Vat­i­can Jus­tice and Peace Bureau, he is ex­tremely con­ser­va­tive on ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity and sup­ports world fi­nan­cial re­form.

Fi­nally, North Amer­ica boasts two con­tenders for its first-ever Pope. The more pop­u­lar choice is Canada’s Marc Ouel­let (68), who is the top staff di­rec­tor as head of the con­gre­ga­tion for Bish­ops. While many pre­dict his chances of win­ning, Ouel­let once stated be­ing cho­sen as Pope “would be a night­mare.”

An­gelo Scola

Ti­mothy Dolan (62) is Amer­ica’s only hope, yet is so fresh to the scene. He be­came the Arch­bishop of New York only four years ago. While he is the youngest can­di­date, his “hu­mour and dy­namism” is widely praised.

Leonardo San­dri

While the op­tions have been hush-hush since the Pope an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion, there is still plenty of time for a con­tender to push through.

Christoph Schoen­born

Odilo Scherer

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