Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Who Will Be the Next Pope?

The title is slightly different, but this is part two of our series on the papacy. In our last blog entry we looked at the process for selecting a new pope (you'll see this process playing out on live 24-hour newscasts in the coming days). But just who is under consideration? Who are the likely candidates?

There are currently two favorites being touted among the RC apologetic crowd:

1. Francis Arinze: Arinze is a 72 year-old cardinal from Nigeria, and son of a tribal chief. Being from that part of the world, he is active in promoting catholic-muslim and catholic-hindu relationships. Such a selection, of course, would extend the legacy of John Paul II, and would further the cause of universalism in the Roman church. Sorry traditionalists.

2. Dionigi Tettamanzi: Tettamanzi, age 70, is a cardinal from Italy. He is active in matters of human sexuality and bioethic. This choice will likely appeal to traditionalist and conservative Roman Catholics since they are fond of using issues of sexuality and "culture of life" to "prove" why the Roman church is the true church.

But there are several other candidates on the short list as well. Here are some of them:

3. Angelo Scola, 63, also from Italy, and like Tettamanzi is also big on culture-of-life issues, but not as much of a shoo-in as Tettamanzi. Also, he's a bit on the young side, and just achieved cardinal status in 2003. He is also interested in bringing the Roman church up to date with contemporary culture. Could be bad news for traditionalists and cryptic-traditionalist conservatives.

4. Claudio Hummes, 70, from Brazil. A moderate Franciscan who represents Latin America's choice of candidates.

5. Christoph Schonborn, 60, from Austria. A Dominican whose chances may be marred both by the sex scandal that occurred in the church in that part of the world, and his age. He may be considered a bit too young to be the head of the Roman church.

6. Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, 62, from Honduras. Although he, too, is from Latin America, he's not as popular as Hummes; not to mention that he, too, may be too young. On the positive side, he would finally be able to shorten his name.

7. Godfried Danneels, 71, from Belgium. This is the favorite of moderates (liberals) and the worst nightmare of conservatives and traditionalists (actually, it may be a Godsend to traditionalists who will finally have the proof they need to show their conservative brethren that the seat of Peter truly is vacant). Danneels is described as a blunt, plain speaker (what a refreshing change that would be!), and a loner who is does not possess a warm personality.

8. Jean-Marie Lustiger, 78, from Paris. Danneels and Lustiger do not like each other very much. So, if one gets in, the other may become Protestant just to spite the new pope's authority. Lustiger is also Jewish convert to Roman Catholicism. This would likely destroy catholic-muslim relationships carved out by JP II (Radio Islam is already speculating about this).

Tomorrow's Blog: Analysis of key factors for choosing the next pope.