by Anura Guruge
Cardinal Angelo Scola has been on my papabili slate, since I started maintaining that slate in 2009. He started off at #5 in 2009. He was regularly mentioned in this blog in 2010 and this year. On my latest slate, for the 2011 edition of ‘The Next Pope,’ he is at #4.
Today’s announcement that he is being transferred from Venice to Milan only enhances his stature and some are even calling it the pope’s anointment of him as his successor (though pope’s are not supposed to explicitly designate their successors).
For those that are not that familiar with the hierarchy of the Italian Church, this transfer from being the Patriarch of Venice to the Archbishop of Milan may have appeared as a ‘demotion.’ Quite the contrary. It is a promotion and the highest promotion possible within Italy — hence the talk of the pope giving him his blessings.
[In case you were thinking, Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, now 77, was talked about as a papabile in 2005. Then age wise he was on that cusp and now he is too old -- even by my standards, and as some of you know I am betting on an older pope.]
Milan is the largest see in Italy. It is thus considered the senior most see, next to Rome. The Archbishop of Milan automatically becomes the speaker of the Bishops Conference of Italy. So this is an influential post — not that Scola, a friend and collaborator of this pope going back to the early 1970s when they were co-founders of the influential Communio Theological Catholic Review, needs any publicity among the cardinal electors. His credentials have always been solid.
Most people know that popes Pius X (#258), John XXIII (#262) and John Paul I (#264) were from Venice — the only three popes from there.
But, Milan has had two popes two: Pius XI (#260) and Paul VI (#263).
That said, Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada and the curia remains my top pick for 2011.
The chances of there being a conclave in the next two years, i.e., 2011 and 2012, is extremely slim. Though people tell me that the pope looks tired, I am still betting on him overtaking Leo XIII’s (#257) 93 years. BUT, if there were to be a conclave prior to 2013, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, rather than Scola, is my Italian pick.
So that is my latest on papabili.
Thank you. Cheers, Anura