Jan 282011

by Anura Guruge

Yesterday, January 26, 2011, French cardinal priest, Bernard Panafieu turned 80 and thus ceased to be an elector. With this birthday, the College, that had been one-above the 120 cardinal elector limit since the November 20, 2010 consistory, was back to being within limits.

Why the pope only exceeded the 120 limit by one will now be an abiding mystery. Cardinal Vidal turns 80 on February 6. Two others will turn 80 by February 19, 2011. So, why not have named three more over the limit. Exceeding the limit by one, was neither ‘neither here nor there.’ It appeared timorous. Shaky. John Paul II (#265) had already shown how it could be done with panache. In 2001 he exceeded the 120 by 8, and then in 2003, he went above the limit by 15! And, in 2003, it was not as if he was in the best possible health.

So now the drop in the electors below the 120 mark begins, starting on February 6. To be fair, this is OK. We have never had a conclave with 120 electors. The most we have ever had, and that was at the last conclave, was 115.

In September to December 2010 there were enough posts here about this issue and even a full list of the aging of this College.

For now, I will just leave you with this chart — given that we are unlikely to have another cardinal creating consistory to top up the numbers till at least March 2012.

Drop in the cardinal electors in the College of Cardinals per Anura Guruge

Jan 262011

My Papabili List as of January 2011 — Sean T.

I based it on the assumption of this article, that the next Pope maybe ‘Non-Curial, with Clean Hands’.  I also based a few candidates on the assumption they may be age 75+ at the next conclave. This List takes into account the November 20, 2010 Consistory.

Oscar Maradiaga

Oscar Maradiaga

To the best of my knowledge, none of them are Curialists (or Prefects/Presidents of Curial Departments). Out of 10, 3 were created Cardinals by John Paul II while the other 7 are made cardinals by Pope Benedict XVI. The list gives the ages of the Cardinals (as of 2011) and country of origin/ethnicity.

  1. Oscar Maradiaga, 69, Honduras
  2. Odilo Scherer, 62, German ethnicity, Brazil
  3. Philippe Barbarin, 61, Moroccan-Born, France
  4. Angelo Bagnasco, 68, Italy. Archbishop of Genoa
  5. Jorge Urosa, 69, Venezuela
  6. Lluis Sistach, 74, Spain
  7. John Njue, 67, Kenya

    Lluís Martínez Sistach

  8. Raul Chiriboga, 77, Ecuador
  9. Stanislaw Dziwisz, 72, Poland
  10. Jose Policarpo, 75, Portugal

1), 3) & 10) are made Cardinals by Pope JPII and the others BXVI, so for the other 7, it will be the 1st time they will be in a conclave. Policarpo is last on my list because of recent remarks about Catholic women marrying Muslim men, which are rather controversial. So far, other Cardinals (apart from Maradiaga) are ‘clean’ and don’t have ill remarks, as far as I know.

2) an interesting part of Scherer is he is a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation, a very new Vatican body created by BXVI. It is tasked with re-evangelising traditionally Catholic countries that are experiencing secularisation (such as the traditional European countries). For a Brazilian Cardinal with German roots to be in this Council is rather interesting. Of the 10 Papabili, he is the only Cardinal who is a member of this Council. If he becomes Pope, he will be the 1st Latin American Pope overseeing a declining European flock, and will try to stem the decline. When Pope Benedict was elected, he may have been a last-ditch defense against secularism in Europe. Cardinal Scherer will be best positioned since he is white, of European ancestry, and from the Global South of Latin America.
4), my only Italian choice, is someone nobody will see as papabile. But his background is interesting. He was made priest by Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, and consecrated bishop by Dionigi Tettamanzi. The Diocese of Genoa is interesting, because it has not produced a Pope before (unlike more famous ones like Venice or Milan).

6) will be 75 soon. He will be involved in World Youth Day this year. Again, he has never participated in a consistory, and his name is obscure. My Spanish choice for Pope.

8) is a Cardinal who is 75+ in age. He will make a ‘Transitional Pope’, or someone like Benedict when elected (though it seems Benedict is not ‘Transitional’ nowadays. I feel bad calling someone ‘Transitional’ but there has to be a better word).

10) – we have not had a Portuguese Pope for a very long time, and like mentioned in other sources he may be someone who bridges the Latin American and European blocs.

And here are the reasons why I bypassed these candidates that are mentioned in your blog:
* Many of the Italian Cardinals appointed at Nov 2010 are now Curialists.
* Leonardo Sandri (Prefect of Oriental Churches), Antonio Llovera (Prefect of Divine Worship/Sacraments), Marc Ouellet (Prefect of Cong. of Bishops), Gianfranco Ravisi (Curialist) and Peter Turkson (President of Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace) are all insiders in the Vatican, so I did not include them.

Of course, it does not mean they may not be considered. In 2005 we have a Curialist (Ratzinger, with 20+ years experience) up against a non-Curialist (Bergoglio). The future conclave may be the same showdown. Although the elections of John Paul I and John Paul II, both non-Curialists, and Paul VI, who used to be a Curialist but not in the 11 years before his election, make me think this time it will likely be a non-Curialist who will become Pope.

Please read the comments against the original post as well as those at this related papabili post.

Jan 222011

<< click to visit >>

by Anura Guruge

Since the the origin of the word relates to my country of birth, ‘Serendipity,’ is something I always pay particular attention to. So, this morning when I stumbled upon this site, thanks to Google (of course), I knew, at once, Serendipity.

There is only one word that comes to mind (at least this early in the morning for me. Yes, it is nearly 11am, but that is still early for me): AMAZING.

Piotreck Photos — the Benedict XVI gallery.

The November 20, 2010 post consistory pictures … BUT, I do not see MY man! He, like me, should stand out, in any crowd.

There is a lot, so you have to wade through but you will not be disappointed.

He is from Poland, now living in Italy. Very talented.


Jan 222011

by Anura Guruge

Cardinal Paolo Sardi, no longer Vice-Camerlengo, by Anura Guruge

Cardinal Paolo Sardi, no longer Vice-Camerlengo

The day after Italian Paolo Sardi was named as a presumptive cardinal, i.e., on October 21, 2010, I pointed out that the Vice-Camerlengo, by tradition, is not a cardinal and that the new cardinal will have to be relieved of this title.

Here is the October 21 post with all the details. The key reason for the Vice-Camerlengo not being a cardinal (or at least a cardinal elector) is that one of his duties is to guard the ‘sealed’ door to the conclave — from the outside.

The new Vice-Camerlengo, 75-year, Spainish, Titular Archbishop Santos Abril y Castelló

The new Vice-Camerlengo, 75-year, Spainish, Titular Archbishop Santos Abril y Castelló

I (and others) had expected that he would resign his post as soon as he was created. Well, that didn’t happen, but today it was announced that Cardinal Sardi is no longer the Vice-Camerlengo, and that 75-year old, Spanish Santos Abril y Castelló, titular archbishop of Tamada (Algeria), a long-time apostolic nuncio (most recently to Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina but since retired), will be the new Vice-Camerlengo. Though it was not stated in the Vatican announcement, it is conceivable that the Archbishop could continue to be an ad hoc nuncio as well, if there is need. Curiously, the Vatican stated that he was being appointed for a 3 year term. Typically such term-limits are never disclosed. This might have to do with the Archbishop’s age — though a Vice-Camerlengo, since he will not be participating any conclaves (by definition), could continue to serve past 80.

Cardinal Sardi, a second-tier papabile, will continue as the Patron of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta.

All the best.

Jan 202011

by Anura Guruge

This post is to provide an update following Father Peter’s as ever insightful comments leading up to that of January 19, 2011.

You may also want, at a minimum, to refer to the papabili related posts on Jan. 11, 2011 (Bertone), Jan. 06, 2011 (Father Anthony), Jan. 04, 2011 (current thinking), Dec. 6, 2010 (over 75), Dec. 7, 2010 (over 75 ‘stars’), and Nov. 20, 2010 (not American).

My current favorite, Cardinal Ouellet, the ideal compromise candidate -- Anura Guruge

My current favorite, Cardinal Ouellet, the ideal compromise candidate -- Anura Guruge

Right now, my overall favorite, the one that I always end up coming back to, is Canadian curialist Cardinal Ouellet. I identified and picked Cardinal Ouellet in December 2008, prior to his high profile curial posting last June. My only reservation as to do with his age — given that I am, in papabili 2011, only looking at a 9 to 12 month horizon [i.e., Jan/Feb. 2012 ONLY]. He is young. If elected pope in 2011 he could reign, with aplomb for some of the time, for 20 years.

At a time when there is considerable consensus that we do not have any stand-out front-runners, Ouellet is an incredible compromise candidate for 2011 (bar for his youth). He is ‘conservative,’ and has had a close philosophical relationship with the current pope going back, at least, a couple of decades. But, from what I understand, he is not considered to be a zealot á la the ‘Little’ or ‘Tanned’ Ratzingers. So, he is mellow conservative.

He is from the Americas, without being American, with significant Latin American experience and connections. He also belongs to a religious order. Now he is a curialist. As the bishop-maker for the world he is in a position, where whether he likes it or not, or whether he wants it or not, he is going to garner IOUs from grateful countries and their cardinals — for putting forward the appropriate, ‘conservative’ candidates for bishoprics. He also has a reputation as an intellectual. Moreover, he has tried not to get embroiled in controversies or to seek media attention.

Other than Ouellet, I try to look at different scenarios — always acutely aware that the cardinal electors are likely to have likes, biases, requirements and prejudices that are very different to those of the lay constituents. Consequently, whether Cardinal Bertone is fluent in English may not matter as much to non English speaking cardinal electors as it does to laity from English speaking countries. Similarly, the whole thorny issue of ‘conservatism.’ If you are a conservative at heart, as at least 70% of the cardinal electors are, the ‘conservative’ credentials of a candidate may not bother you as much as it will bother a lay moderate. So, the best I can do is look at different scenarios and pick papabili for each of those and then see what kind of support they can get.

A key scenario I work on is what I call the ‘continuing the John Paul II (#265) franchise’ — basically the move to slowly but surely roll back as many of the innovations of Vatican II as possible. [Akin to the new GOP dominated US House of Representatives repealing the Obamacare laws that were signed last year.] Benedict XVI was elected to maintain this franchise and particularly when it comes to the Latin Mass he has not let the conservatives down. The BIG question is whether, after 31-32 years of operating in this ‘roll back Vatican II’ mode, SOME of the electors want a change of agenda.

Cardinal Bertone, no better to continue the John Paul II franchise -- Anura Guruge

Cardinal Bertone, no better to continue the John Paul II franchise -- Anura Guruge

So here are some of the scenarios that I look at:
1/ Continuation of the John Paul II — Benedict XVI franchise.
2/ Change of agenda, however small, from the John Paul II — Benedict XVI franchise.
3/ Latin American pope.
4/ Popular pope … a pope that smiles and can make people smile.
5/ Pastoral pope.
6/ Italian pope — for the sake of having an Italian pope.

Cardinal Bertone is my favorite for the continuation of the John Paul II — Benedict XVI franchise scenario. As a relatively popular Secretary of State, he can rely on an impressive cross-section of votes: viz. Italian, curial, religious orders, conservative and European. Plus, he will get the SOCCER VOTE — and that should not be underestimated given how popular soccer is in South America, Africa and Europe.

Cardinal Ouellet will get a cross-section of votes from: USA, Latin America, curial, Commonwealth [South Africa, India, UK, Australia, Sri Lanka], religious orders, conservative etc.

Cardinal Scola is my favorite for both the Italian and pastoral popes though I also toy with Antonelli and Amato.

Cardinal Ravisi is my Italian (and possibly curial) pick.

When it comes to Latin America my current pick is Ouellet! But, failing that Cardinal Sandri.

This is not an exact science. I try to use as much second degree logic as I can muster, always acutely aware that it is extremely unlikely that cardinal electors think anywhere close to how I think. And, thank God for that!

So … have your say. Thanks.

Jan 162011

by Anura Guruge

former Anglican bishops being ordained Catholic priests

Click for YouTube video on former Anglican bishops being ordained Catholic priests

This was the Personal Ordinariate, within the confines of England and Wales, that was set up in Nov. 4, 2009, via Pope Benedict XVI’s (#266) Anglicanorum coetibus, Apostolic Constitution, to enable Anglicans, both clergy and laity, to easily transfer across to the Catholic Church — while retaining a degree of autonomy as to their prior practices. Check this article.

Today, in Westminster Cathedral, London, three former Anglican bishops were ordained to this new Personal Ordinariate, which, by papal decree, will be known as the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham [a UK name for the Virgin Mary]. As one of the contributors to this blog pointed out earlier today, the three former bishops being ordained today were accompanied to the Cathedral by their wives. Given that they are married, per ancient customs (which also apply in the case of the Oriental Rites Church), married priests, in this Ordinariate, cannot become bishops (though, I am not sure what the status would be if they became widowed).

Since there didn’t seem to be much coverage of this landmark event in the US media, I decided that I should do something to rectify that.

Here are some articles that you should read:

1/ Catholic Herald UK — main story

2/ Catholic Herald UK — Holy See press statement

3/ Catholic Herald UK — Cardinal Levad’s message

4/ Catholic online

5/The BBC

6/ RTE News from Italy

Let me know what YOU think. Thanks. All the best.

Jan 152011

by Anura Guruge

On January 14, 2011 the Vatican announced that Venerable John Paul (#265) will be beatified on May 1, 2011, the Sunday after Easter, day of the Divine Mercy, at the Vatican, the Pope Benedict XVI (#266) presiding over the ceremonies (though, per this pope, papal participation in the beatification rites is now optional). This ‘fast-tracked’ beatification [i.e., the prescribed 5-year ‘wait-time’ waived by the pope] will be the fastest known beatification, ever, beating that of Mother Teresa [who was also ‘fast-tracked’] by 15 days!

John Paul II becomes the 11th pope who will be referred to as ‘BLESSED, with 78 popes (and one anti-pope, Hippolytus of Rome [217-235]) having been SAINTED.

Given the Santo Subito! (Saint Immediately!) cries at his funerals, there are millions who are ecstatic at this news. It will also do wonders for the Vatican coffers and the Italian economy, pilgrims and tourist alike known for their unbridled generosity at beatifications — with this pope’s, indubitable, popularity likely to add a whole new positive dimension to the potential largess. However, some, quite rightly, are already questioning the merits of this turbo-charged beatification schedule, with the timing apparently artfully calculated to make it the shortest. [More on this right through this post.] The key problem here is that rather than truly honoring a landmark pope, there now appears to be a touch of ‘nepotism’ — the entire beatification process conducted under the auspices of John Paul II’s acknowledged acolyte.

On Aug. 02, 2010, I posted the time-line for St. Pius X (#258) canonization to serve as a baseline for other canonization schedules — St. Pius X, on May 29, 1954, being the last pope, to date, to be canonized. I updated this chart to reflect John Paul II’s beatification. This chart shows how the ‘fast-track’ beatification time frames for John Paul and Mother Teresa are at odds with all the others.

Pius X canonization time-line, compared to those of others including John Paul II, by Anura Guruge

Pius X canonization time-line, compared to those of others including John Paul II, by Anura Guruge

I then went and looked at the beatification times for all 11 popes.

All eleven Blessed popes with their beatification dates (when avaialble) by Anura Guruge

All eleven Blessed popes with their beatification dates (when avaialble) by Anura Guruge

The data on that chart definitely made me pause for thought. 37 years for Bl. John XXIII (#262) and 122 years for Bl. Pius IX (#256) — average of 345 for the most recent 7 popes … and then 6 years for John Paul II. Here is another data point. John Paul II’s is the only beatification of a pope that occurred entirely within the reign of one pope — his successor. [Yes, Mother Teresa’s beatification occurred, entirely, during the reign of John Paul II, but the the good Mother and the pope didn’t have the same relationship that existed between John Paul II and Benedict XVI).

I did more calculations. [Please, go ahead and check my sums.]

I calculated the beatification times for 131 people beatified by John Paul II (per dates available on this list) … and one of those happens to be Mother Teresa. The average beatification time was 97.5 years. After the good Mother, the next fastest, at 24 years, was María Maravillas de Jesús Pidal (1891-1974), a Spanish nun.

I then calculated the beatification times for this list of 193 people, again including the good Mother from Calcutta. That came to 213 years! On this list, next to Mother Teresa, is Matthew Carrieri, 15th century Dominican friar, at 12 years — but that beatification was in 1482.

Again, I will confess, my perspective, primarily, is always in terms of a papal historian. From that perspective, I ‘worry’ that this unseemingly quick, ‘fast-tracked’ beatification, done entirely under the jurisdiction of his closest collaborator, would be seen in the future as devaluing the honor. I could be wrong. But, others in the media, are already making such claims. See LINK-1, LINK-2 & LINK-3 (scroll down in each case and read the comments). What also seems incongruous, is that these are two popes supposedly known for being traditional and loathe to deviate what is said to be ‘tried and tested.’ Then, they deviate, off the charts, in this instance.

The miracle attributed to the pope is also ironic and again already generating comment. He is said to have cured the French nun, Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre of Parkinson’s — an illness that inflicted the pope. During his long tenure there must have been other miracles — and another needs to be documented if he is to be canonized, as will surely be the case. It might have looked better if another miracle had been used. But, c’est la vie.

Matthew Carrieri
Jan 112011

by Anura Guruge

The next pope is also likely to be over 75, possibly even a non-elector. December 6, 2010 post.
Some very alluring 75+ potential papabili. December 7, 2010 post.
Next pope is extremely unlikely to be an American. November 20, 2010 post.
Papal election dynamics — the unsaid & even subliminal factors. November 1, 2010 post.

Papabili 2011 (the next pope 2011) — current thinking. January 4, 2011 post.
Papabili 2011 (possible next pope 2011) by Father Anthony. January 6, 2011 post. Refer to Cardinal Bertone note at end.

Late last night I was researching Pope Benedict XVI’s (#266) July 16-17, 2009 accident, in which he broke his right wrist, when I stumbled upon this Angelus address by the pope — on the Sunday following the accident, in the Alpine township of Romano Canavese [Piedmont, Italy], the birth place of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the pope’s Secretary of State and Camerlengo.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, papabile 2011 per Next Pope expert Anura Guruge

The start of thep pope's Sunday, July 19, 2009 Angelus

Cardinal Bertone, on page 72, 'The Next Pope' by Anura Guruge

Cardinal Bertone, on page 72, 'The Next Pope' by Anura Guruge

What struck me, immediately, was the highlighted phrase — ‘my most important collaborator‘.
The Secretary of State, though #2 at the Vatican, does not necessarily have to be the pope’s most important collaborator. In the case of John Paul II (#265), there was never any question that his most important collaborator was Cardinal Ratzinger (the now pope) — though he was never the Secretary of State or the Camerlengo.
That the pope used this terminology is important because the one group that closely studies every word uttered by the pope is the College of Cardinals. At this Angelus the pope made sure that the other cardinals understood the relationship between him and Cardinal Bertone.
In December 2008, when I was compiling my 2009 papabili list (for ‘The Next Pope‘ book), I had a 75 year cut-off for candidates, cardinals having to be less than 75 on their 2009 birthday. Cardinal Bertone did not make my 2008/2009 papabili list because he turned 75 on his 2009 birthday. In 2011, still one year younger than the 78 at which Benedict was elected, Bertone, to me looks, very papabile. See December 6, 2010 post listed above.
A few days ago, on January 7, Father Anthony, as a footnote to his January 6, 2011 post, stated why he thinks that Bertone is not a viable candidate. Though I invariably trust, honor and respect Father Anthony’s experience, expertise and insights in such matters, something inside me keeps on telling me that Bertone is a papabile and a strong papabile at that. Then I saw these words. BINGO. Today, via e-mail, I ‘chatted’ with another European (non-UK) Catholic father who readily admits to being a cardinal watcher. He thinks that Bertone is papabile, because there are so few obvious, stand-out candidates. That is the basis of my thinking too.
The current pope, despite being 78, was elected, very quickly because:
1/ He was known to be John Paul II’s closest and most trusted collaborator — and as such would continue the franchise.
2/ Cardinal Ratzinger having been a cardinal for 27 years knew all of the cardinal electors and the cardinal electors all knew him.

If there were to be a conclave in 2011 (though this is very unlikely), Cardinal Bertone would be in the same shoes that Cardinal Ratzinger was in 2005. That has to count for something.

Cardinal Bertone also happens to be Salesian. There are 20 other electors who belong to religious orders, 4 of them Salesian. Bertone, most likely, will get many of these votes. Though the 25 Italian votes will initially be split, he could towards the end bank of many of these — there currently being 25. So, just from these two groups he could command 40 votes. That is 1/2 of the 80 he needs. When you start counting the votes in this manner … it is not too hard to cobble together 80 votes for him.
So …. I am bullish on Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Jan 102011
 interview with Cardinal Burke

Click on image for Gloria.tv interview with Cardinal Burke

I was just sent a link to this interview with U.S. Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature, by an European Catholic priest, a dedicated cardinal watcher with affiliations with Gloria.tv. Among other things the new cardinal talks candidly about abortion, communion in the hand, etc.

I had asked my European friend about Cardinal Bertone’s papability, further to my recent efforts to see if the Secretary of State cum Camerlengo is an obvious choice. Please refer to notes at the bottom of this January 6, 2011 posting.

Like me he believes that Cardinal Bertone is papabile, but only because there aren’t that many obvious, stand-out candidates. That is really also my thinking.

But, he, an European, surprised me by stating that he thinks that Cardinal Burke might be an even better candidate! Wow. That is the first time I have heard an European propose an US cardinal for pope. Please see this November 10, 2010 post. I will do another post on Cardinal Bertone shortly.

Enjoy. Cheers,
Anura Guruge

Jan 072011

by Anura Guruge

The pope, who will turn 84 on April 16, 2011, has five overseas trips scheduled for 2011 — though one is to San Marino, a micro-state, enclave in Italy.
He has already made 18 trips abroad, so these, to Croatia, San Marino, Germany, Spain and Benin, will be his 19, 20, 21, 22 & 23 trips outside of Italy.

Pope Benedict XVI trips outside Italy 2005 to 2011

Croatia and Benin are small countries, with populations smaller than that of large cities such as New York, London, Mexico City, Tokyo or Mumbai. San Marino, with a total population of less than 30,000 souls, is even smaller! Here is how they stack up, at #51, #71 and #160 in terms of their Catholic populations, against the 20 largest Catholic nations:

Catholics in Benin, San Marino and Croatia ... plus 20 most Catholic by Anura Guruge

Cardinal Bishop Bernardin Gantin, Benin's most famous son

Cardinal Bishop Bernardin Gantin, Benin's most famous son

However, Croatia comes in at #21, in terms of the percentage of Catholics within the population. Benin, on the other hand, is quite a ways down the table below Australia and the United States. Benin is probably best known for two things: its role in 17th century slave trading (some of it in cahoots with Jesuits) and for the rather popular Cardinal Bishop Bernardin Gantin (1922 – 2008), Dean of the College of Cardinals from 1993 to 2002 — the only non-white to hold that prestigious office. San Marino is about as Catholic as you can get. The diocese, officially known as ‘San Marino-Montefeltro,’ is indubitably unique in that it spans two nations — Italy & San Marino, with 85% of the 91 parishes as well as the bishop’s see, in Italy. San Marino is an ‘associated state‘ of Italy, as is Vatican City. Italy is responsible for the defense of San Marino and there are no border controls between Italy and San Marino. Consequently, there are some, as was I to begin with, who do not consider the pope’s trip to San Marino as an ‘overseas’ trip. Here is Gloria TV as an example.

Though Benedict has not previously visited either of these countries, both these countries have been blessed with prior papal visits. John Paul II (#265) visited Croatia three times (1994, 1998 & 2003) , Benin twice (1982 & 1993) and San Marino one (1982).

Trips outside Italy of Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI pre Anura Guruge

Map op Pope Benedict XVI’s trips outside Italy per Wikipedia. Please click on map for the Wikipedia article:

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