The candidates to be the next Pope
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.”
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.
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.