Apr 202010

Given the ongoing outcry as to what the current pope, Benedict XVI (#266), may have known of the worldwide clergy sex scandal when he was the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (once the infamous Inquisition) from 1981-2005, the chances are that the next pope will be a Vatican outsider; i.e., not a high ranking curialist.

The jargon used to describe the allegiance and temperament of U.S. politicians as Beltway insiders or outsiders [the Beltway being a circular highway that girds Washington, D.C.], can also be used to characterize cardinals, papabili and popes – though in this case they are Vatican insiders or outsiders.

Cardinal Ratzinger was very much a Vatican insider. He headed up a key Holy See Congregation [i.e., a part of the Church bureaucracy] for 24 years. In marked contrast, John Paul II (#265), John Paul I (#264) and even John XXIII (#262) (despite his long service as a Vatican diplomat) were outsiders.

Here is the first point of reference. Of the nine popes elected since 1903 only two were curialist when elected, viz. Pius XII (#261) and Benedict XVI (#266). Both will be remembered for the controversies that plagued their pontificates – and in each case some of the controversies had roots going back to their days as curialist. In the case of Pius XII it was the concordats he had signed with Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia etc. which ‘influenced’ his attitude as to how he should deal with these countries. Paul VI (#263) had been a prominent curialist for 17 years, but he lost his insider status 11 years prior to becoming pope.

In my papabili list I only have one curialist, Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, the President of the Council of the Family. He was one of my ‘token’ Italians – and I made that clear in my book ‘The Next Pope.’ The Council of the Family, by its sheer nature, would have been involved, in some way, with this current sad scandal. So the electors will, quite rightly, be leery of electing someone associated with that Council. As with Benedict XVI it would be too easy to start unearthing potentially incriminating evidence.

So that is my take. The current events strengthen the chances of the papabili who are not Vatican insiders. In this context I also think that actual physical distance will play a role. Latin America, in every sense, will come across as having been distant from Rome. This may even apply to Canada.

  19 Responses to “The Next Pope Will Have To Be A Vatican Outsider”

  1. First off, I just want to say great website! I’m definitely going to purchase your book.

    I completely agree that the next Pope will probably be an “outsider”, but of course, this makes picking the papabili a more hazardous task than usual. I can foresee a lot of similarity to the enclave that selected John Paul II – a divided one that selects an unexpected outsider as a compromise choice. While Cardinal König was the “Popemaker” in 1978, I can see Cardinal Re fulfilling that task in the next enclave – he will probably be the pivotal voice that will swing the tide. So who will Re suggest?

    I think he will suggest someone with an impressive biography, who has overcome tremendous adversity and prevailed against the face of evil in much the same way that John Paul II prevailed against the Nazis and Communists in Poland. He will choose someone with a soild record of diplomacy and reconciliation who can reach out across all faiths – someone who is an unfailing champion for human rights. A man of action – a man for the times. I think he will choose Cardinal Puljic, Archbishop of Vrhbosna (Sarajevo). Puljic meets all of the criterea I have laid out above, he’s relatively young (64), but still has extensive experience, having been a Cardinal since 1994. As a sidenote, when he received his episcopal consecration as Archbishop from John Paul II, one of his co-consecrators was the then-Archbishop Re.

    Who knows? With the ascension of a Bosnian Pope, maybe Medjugorje will come to be seen in a whole new light?

  2. Glenn,
    Thank you for the kind words. Hope you buy the book. If you do … PLEASE do leave a review. It would be good IF more people read the book.
    You make some very cogent remarks about Cardinals Re and Puljic. Hhhmmm. Very thought provoking. But, we have had a Pope from Poland and from Germany. I still have a hankering that this might be the turn for the Western Hemisphere — sans USA (for obvious reasons). Canada or Latin America.
    You are indeed a scholar on these matters, judging from your research of episcopal consecration.
    Glenn, did you ever read this post about the POPESin the Episcopal Lineage of Papabili & ‘Recent’ Popes: http://papam.wordpress.com/2009/02/28/popes-in-the-episcopal-lineage-of-papabili-recent-popes/
    Thank you.
    Please stay in touch.
    All the best.

  3. Hi Anura,
    As a Canadian, I wouldn’t mind seeing Cardinal Ouellet become Pope myself. I think it would be a great thing for the Church to have a Non-European Pope – Cardinal Arinze was my own pick before the last enclave. That being said, I think if I were a Cardinal surrounded by the solemnity of the enclave, all geographical considerations would swiftly go out the window. I’d pick the best man for the job – regardless of where he hailed from.

    Think about the legacy John Paul II and someday Benedict XVI will leave behind – a willingness to reach out and establish interfaith dialogue. Cardinal Puljic embodies that legacy. He has a distinguished record from his humanitarian role in the Bosnian conflict. He’s the man to pick up that torch and bear it into the future.

    Aside from that consideration, Cardinal Puljic sits in the “sweet spot” in the College of Cardinals – all of the Cardinals with more seniority are older, and all of the Cardinals who are younger have less seniority. He’s the man in the middle – the perfect pick to break an enclave deadlock. If Cardinal Re – who’s probably the best political mind within the College – champions his Papacy, he’d be a hard man to beat.

  4. Thank YOU, Glenn.
    Very insightful comments. Not much I can add. You say it all. PLEASE stay in touch.
    All the best.

  5. I am curious, though, Anura… in your Papabili list, do you assign a numerical score for each Cardinal based upon various factors? I’d be interested in where Cardinal Puljic ranked for you when you were putting together your list.

  6. Glenn,
    When I compiled the 2009 papabili list I did not rank and weigh each and every under 75 cardinal elector. http://popes-and-papacy.com/papabili.htm
    What I did instead Glenn, was to come up with a short-list based on 10 criteria … that I spell out in detail in the book … e.g., first-time papabili, not German or Polish, non-European etc.
    I am SORRY to say Cardinal Puljic was not on my short-list. SORRY. I am looking at his bio right now. He hasn’t had much exposure in Rome. So he is probably not that well known to Latin American, African and Asian electors.
    Does he SPEAK Italian?
    Glenn, IF I had to pick, I will still go with Ouellet, Napier, Barbarin over Puljic.
    I do stress this in the book. The next pope, like his predecessors need to be fluent in Italian. The pope is, first and foremost, the Bishop of ROME.
    Do you know where Puljic stands on Italian?
    Many thanks Glenn. Keep the comments and questions coming.
    IF you don’t hear from me for a few days don’t panic. I have some medical issues that need attention. Writing the last book appears to have done a job on my heart.
    All the best. THANK YOU.

  7. Anura,
    Sorry to hear about your medical issues – I hope it’s nothing serious and that you’re feeling better soon.

    I’ve been reading over your Episcopal Lineage link – another interesting read! To be honest with you, I never really paid that much attention to Lineage, but now I can see how it is an all-important tool in trying to decipher the factional nature of Vatican politics. Admittedly, I’m relatively new to this, but from researching the Lineage of the present Cardinals eligible to vote, I can see the outlines of how Benedict XVI was able to come out on top of the last enclave – The Clement XIII Lineage is by far the pre-dominant one today:

    Clement XIII (3): 39 Cardinals
    John Paul II (5): 18 Cardinals
    Pius IX (4): 14 Cardinals
    Pius X (4): 10 Cardinals
    Paul VI (7): 10 Cardinals
    Pius XII (6): 8 Cardinals
    Gregory XVI (4): 3 Cardinals
    John XXIII (4): 1 Cardinal
    None (0): 5 Cardinals

    Given that make-up, is it not reasonable to assume that the next Cardinal will probably have the same Clement XIII Lineage as Benedict XVI? To my thinking, this probably shows why Cardinal Ratzinger was so easily elected while Cardinal Arinze (Gregory XVI Lineage) received hardly any support in the last enclave.

  8. Glenn,
    Thank you for your concern about my health. So far, so good. More tests next Wednesday. Maybe that adage, that I mention in my book: ‘the pope invariably outlives those that speculate about his successor,’ is true! I have various, pains, nothing debilitating … other than that I feel fine. Just came back from my nearly daily 2 mile jog, with 6 pounds of wrist weights over some seriously hilly terrain. I will keep you posted.
    Glenn, I am DELIGHTED that you were inspired by the lineage work. That is GREAT.
    Glenn, did you go and hand-check the lineages of all the cardinals; e.g., 18 with those of JP II etc.? Did you? Wow. I haven’t gone there in years, but does the Branson site have this data?
    Glenn, three things … please.
    1. IF you have more data on this, similar to what I have on http://papam.wordpress.com/2009/02/28/popes-in-the-episcopal-lineage-of-papabili-recent-popes/ I would LOVE to publish it … giving YOU the credit. Notice that in the original post I acknowledge the person that did most of the research. Would do the same for you.

    2. I am NOT sure that lineage plays much of a role in Vatican politics. I could be wrong. I think YOU probably now now more about the lineages of the cardinals than they know! Yes, they will know there own. Not sure that they ever bother to look at those of ALL the others.

    3. In Feb. 2009, when I did my original post, ‘we’ agreed that lineage probably was NOT an indicator of papabili standing. Please look at my chart of the recent popes and their lineage.

    Do you know anything about the precedence of Cardinal Bishops within the College?

    I unearthed an unholy mess yesterday afternoon.
    There is a 1731 ruling on the precedence of Cardinal Bishops that EVERYONE has overlooked. [I do, however, have it in my book.]

    I will write about this later today. Suffice to say that even the BEST Cardinals sites on the Web now have huge, huge ERRORS!

    Must run (not jogging … but family errands). Please consider my request.
    Thank you.

  9. Hi Anura,
    Glad to hear you’re doing well – can’t be all bad if you’re jogging two miles a day!

    I found a lot of the lineage information from the Catholic Hierarchy Website – http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/scardc3.html – there’s a wealth of information there on Cardinals past and present.

    I agree that lineage probably isn’t a “hard and fast” rule into how a particular elector will vote, but I can’t help but think that it must give some guidance into a particular Cardinal’s belief system… I envision it as a kind of “mentor-protege” relationship handed down through the generations – there will be some tendencies that persevere. Were it otherwise, why would a Bishop choose (or be chosen for) one lineage over another?

    Take the Leo XII/John Paul II lineage, for example – they tend to be zelanti… spiritually conservative but temporally liberal and activist. Or the Pius X/Paul VI lineages who tend to be reformers. The Gregory XVI lineage seems to produce hard-right conservative ultramontanes. I realize that I’m probably over-simplifying the ideological makeup of the Church and turning the Cardinals into stereotypes here, but I think there are insights to be obtained by studying the lineages.

    I’m researching the lineages of the electors in the 1978 enclaves right now to compare it with the 2005 enclave to see what differences existed.

  10. Glenn,
    Thank you for your kind words on my health.
    I also use the Catholic Hierarchy Web site — but not that often any more. Thank you for reminding me of it.
    I am so glad that you are doing some sterling research into lineage and papabili. Well done. I am so happy.
    I am doing some work re. Cardinal Bishops. I still can’t get a straight answer as to whether the 1731 precedence rule got changed.
    But along with an email notifying me of your comment, I got one from Sri Lanka that an email of mine has been given to Archbishop Ranjit. He is a family friend. I’ve also got the Holy See Permanent Mission to the UN, in NYC, looking into it.
    Glenn, whenever you have data to share PLEASE do send it in. Your comments are automatically and immediately published — without me having to approve.
    Thank you. All the best.

  11. I met Cardinal Maradiaga in Panama when he was the speaker for the Pastoral Week for Clergy, Religious and Laity of the Archdiocese of Panama in 2003. I was very impressed, except for one comment he made. He said that the sexual abuse crisis was nothing more than an attempt to discredit the church and its social teachings. I doubt he would say that now, but I believe at that time he said some very similiar statements at various times and in various places. Those statements may come to haunt him when the time comes for the selection of the next Pope.

  12. Hi,
    Yes, you are right. I think he first started making statements like that in 2002. But, he has also done a lot of good and is well liked. That is the reason that he is #7 on my list. Any thoughts about Cardinal Scherer?
    Thank you for sharing.
    All the best.

  13. Good morning Anura,
    I agree with your comments on the issue about the next Pope. I think that given the present situation in our society as well as issues that affect the Church in my opinion the next Pope should be an outsider because an outsider knows the details and real issues that happened and that affects the Church especially the local Churches. It does not mean however that insiders have little or tend to get few info but when it comes to reaching the people in a pastoral sense an outsider qualifies in this aspect. God bless.


  14. Dear Jun,
    Thank YOU for your comments and observations.
    Jun, others can’t see IT, but I get to see your YAHOO email (plus I also got the email you sent to me outside of this submitted comment).
    I would even ‘buy’ the first part … IF you hadn’t added the ‘smile’.
    Yes, I happen to know that this was the affectionate ‘nickname’ the Romans gave to John Paul I. So you have a YAHOO email with John Paul I’s ‘nickname’ with SMILE added to it.
    Is that it? I am not sure that that is appropriate.
    There was another contributor to this blog that used a famous name, that of a 15th century Dominican monk from Florence. I asked him to please use a different email. He complied.
    So, could you also PLEASE use a different email in future. If not, I can never be sure whether you are being serious or not. SORRY.

  15. Hi Simon,
    I thought I’d let you know that I’ve got your book on order – can’t wait to get a chance to read it over.

    I’ve also been doing some research on Papal Conclaves going back to 1758 (I’m up to 1830 now), and the lineages of the electors – it seems to me that there is a lot of insight to be gained here and I’m hoping to write a paper on the subject when I’m done. So far I’ve identified 10 distinct lineages (if there is any validity to the principle of Apolistic Succession, there should be 12), which I’ve grouped according to Temporal and Ecclesiastical Outlooks (liberal, moderate, or conservative), to give a 3×3 matrix (Ecclesiastic on the x-axis, Temporal on the y-axis, with the centre square divided in half (centre-left and centre-right). The results so far have proven to be interesting – for instance, no Pope I’ve studied (all of them since Benedict XIV) has succeeded a Pope with the same ideological profile/lineage, thus giving creedance to the whole fat Pope-thin Pope adage.

    Hopefully I’ll have some more information to post here soon.

    Take care,

  16. Hi Glenn,
    Hey who the heck is ‘Simon’?
    Are YOU calling me ‘Simon’ because you think I am Simple … as in Simple Simon?
    OK. Maybe I am simple. Within the range of things I have been called ‘simple’ is actually quite a compliment.
    Thank YOU.

  17. *LOL* Did I actually call you Simon? Sorry about that, Anura… that’s what happens when I write multi-task on too little sleep. I still can’t believe I did that. Now I’m wondering who I called Anura.

  18. Glenn,
    No problem. I am cool. Look below. It is there. It starts: ‘Hi Simon’
    I know all about multi-tasking when tired and the stuff you end up doing. I have sent e-mails to the wrong e-mail addresses!
    Plus, with my name … I am used to being called all sorts of stuff … including ‘garage’
    Stay in touch. Get some rest. That coming from me. <>

  19. Glenn,
    I am SO HAPPY to hear about your diligent work on lineage. BRAVO. I am so glad I got you interested in that.
    What are you main sources for researching the conclaves, Catholic-Hierarchy and Salvador. They will give you the names of those that attended … and the former the lineage too. Researching conclaves is so much fun. Hope you got my book by now. I did the last nine conclaves in considerable depth.
    PLEASE share your findings with us. I will publish them here, unedited … with everything attributed to you … without hesitation.
    Thanks you.

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