Friday, March 01, 2013

The Next Pope - Maybe the Last?

During the last conclave eight years ago some liberal media seemed to suggest that an African cardinal may stand a strong change, since it is in Africa that the Church is growing quickly. 

Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson (75) is in the running – currently the bookies favourite (odds 5/2). Although some bookmakers have made Nigeria's Cardinal Francis Arinze the favourite to succeed Pope Benedict – and thus become the first African pope since the death of Pope Gelasius in 496 – Arinze is now 79 and retired and he may well be too old, Turkson is very active and was a constant companion for Benedict – he travelled to the UK on the Pope’s visit in 2010.

There are other, members of the College of Cardinals who are seen as pababili – electable Cardinals (though in theory, any Catholic can be elected by the College of Cardinals to the office of the papacy). These include: Oscar Maradiaga, 71, Honduras; Odilo Scherer, 64, German ethnicity, but now Archbishop of São Paulo, Brazil; Philippe Barbarin, 63, Moroccan-Born and currently Archbishop of Lyon in France; Jorge Urosa, 71, Venezuela; Lluis Sistach, 76, Spain; and Jose Policarpo, 75, Portugal.

But the three attracting most attention after Cardinal Turkson  are none of these. They are: Archbishop Angelo Scola (Italy),  Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (Italy) and Cardinal Marc Ouellet (Canada). Both of these Italians have questionable track records in their recent incarnations as executive players in the Vatican. Ouellet could emerge as the candidate no one fears or bears real grudges. The betting puts the Canadian at 8/1 – behind Turkson, Sola and Bertone.

It is unlikely that a Cardinal from Latin America would be elected for three reasons. First, they are distant from the day to day politics of the Vatican. Second, voting would likely be split between them – there are four candidates from the Americas and it is rare that they are aligned on issues or could align around a single candidate. Third, it is more probable that, as has been the tradition for some time, the next Pope like all of the last century, will be a European.

There is some talk of the next Pope being the “last Pope”. In 1139 St. Malachy set out from Ireland on a harrowing pilgrimage to Rome. On sighting the Eternal City he fell to the ground and began murmuring cryptic Latin phrases, each signifying the future destiny of the popes. For four hundred years the manuscript capturing his comments was locked in the labyrinth of the Vatican. On its rediscovery in 1595 it was rejected by the Church authorities as fraudulent but the content of the prophecies remains remarkably and chillingly accurate: to this day 90 percent have come true.

St. Malachy prophesied an end to the Roman Catholic Church and predicted the fates of the popes until Judgment Day. According to this prophecy, only one pope remains after Benedict on the doomsday list. We will see.

Meanwhile, you can place your bets at This online betting site has Cardinal Turkson (Ghana as the favourite (5/2) and Cardinal Scola of Venice (11/4) closely followed by Cardinal Bertone (4/1) as the front runners.. For those looking for a wild bet, Bono is 1000/1 as is the former co-star of comedy TV series, Father Ted, Father Dougal McGuire (played by Ardal O’Hanlon). Madonna is ineligible.


oldroyd said...

Liberals in Poland are hoping that the next Pope will be a black African as this will keep up the momentum of challenge to the diehard prejudices that are still widespread in their homogeneous, minority-averse Catholic-dominated society. Only recently were an openly gay man and a trans-gendered woman elected to sit in parliament as members of a radical new party and this has caused much consternation in conservative quarters. Lech Walesa has made his homophobic sentiments into a world-wide news item. If a black person takes the Papal throne that their beloved John Paul II occupied, then many Polish compatriots of Walesa will be forced to question their anti-liberal prejudices that also apply to race as well as sexual orientation.

Canadapt said... ... Gotta love that ... Cheers!