Who Next?

The Church of England - - ENGLAND -

Sur­pris­ingly the press made the same mis­take in draw­ing up their list of po­ten­tial popes as they did in re­port­ing the Can­ter­bury stakes. De­spite the fact that he will be over 70 at the next Lam­beth Con­fer­ence, many news­pa­pers couldn’t re­sist nam­ing Richard Chartres as a po­ten­tial arch­bishop. Des­per­ate for cred­i­ble non-West­ern can­di­dates they are now list­ing Car­di­nal Arinze as a pos­si­ble pope. Arinze was a se­ri­ous can­di­date last time around but he is now aged 80 and will not even be in the con­clave. Af­ter Bene­dict’s res­ig­na­tion, it is un­likely the Car­di­nals will go for some­one who is only five years his ju­nior. Car­di­nal Turk­son from Ghana looks a more cred­i­ble can­di­date at 64 but he may have dam­aged his chances by giv­ing too many press in­ter­views that made him ap­pear to be cam­paign­ing for the post. The pol­i­tics of the con­clave can be quite dirty.

Last time around, some­one leaked the in­for­ma­tion that In­dia’s Car­di­nal Dias suf­fers from di­a­betes. This time the story has gone around that Car­di­nal Ouel­let, a man who looks strong on pa­per with his ex­cel­lent com­mand of lan­guages, close links with Latin Amer­ica, and im­por­tant post in Rome as head of the Con­gre­ga­tion of Bish­ops, is a deadly dull speaker. Many would like to see Car­di­nal Ti­mothy Dolan of New York, a plain speaker and ex­cel­lent com­mu­ni­ca­tor, but crit­ics are draw­ing at­ten­tion to his lim­ited com­mand of for­eign lan­guages.

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