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.

  12 Responses to “Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Papabile 2011 — Another Data Point”

  1. Small correction: Bertone turned 76 last December, therefore he was 73-74 in 2008 and would not have been rendered unpapable by his age then.

    Question: has there been a pope who was a member of a religious order since Pius VII (Benedictine) 200 years ago? If not, then the order voting block is certainly not nearly as solid as you seem to imply.

  2. Hi Anura,

    Another point was that Cardinal Ratzinger was dean of the College of Cardinals from 2002 onwards, three years prior to the commencement of the pontificate, which surly would have given an opportunity for the cardinals to know him better in addition to his 27 years as a cardinal

  3. Welcome back. Must be a shock to the system to be back in the Arctic after a few weeks in Ceylon.
    Did you get to meet the cardinal.
    Yesterday my father got back from the Antarctica! He had gone on a 19 day cruise — among other things to celebrate his 82nd birthday.
    For his 83rd I am suggesting he goes to San Marino.

  4. OK, OK, OK.
    I was being lax, FORGETTING that most of you have never read the ORIGINAL 2008 papabili posts or bothered to even check out the book.
    My 2008 papabili list was published in DECEMBER 2008, for 2009, with ages as of cardinal’s birthdays in 2009. So Bertone was 75 on his 2009 birthday. That is why I didn’t include him, 75 being the cut-off I used in 2008. I will fix that.

    What do YOU know about Third Order affiliations? Look it up. If you are lucky you will find one or more of my posts. Oh, it is in Appendix B of the book too. That will answer your question about religious orders.

    More later. Off for dinner and a movie on TV. Cheers.

  5. I see where the discrepancy came from, besides you using 2009 ages for your 2008 book. Figure 24 (from your book) states Bertone was born on December 2nd 1933, while Wikipedia insists he was born on December 2nd 1934. I wonder which one is wrong. Catholic Hierarchy website also has him born in 1934, so I guess he’s a year younger and will stay “fresh” a year longer than you thought. ūüôā

  6. My mistake, I am sure. Not sure where I got the 1933 date. But, that would indicate why I was an year off. Thanks. I now know that it is 1934. THANKS.

  7. My mistake, I am sure. Not sure where I got the 1933 date. But, that would indicate why I was an year off. Thanks. I now know that it is 1934. THANKS.

    No problem. Glad to help.

    What do YOU know about Third Order affiliations?

    But Bertone is a full member of Salesians of Don Bosco (not the chocolate syrup!), is he not? So let’s compare apples with apples. My point was that order members rarely get the white hat, which might count against Bertone becoming pope should sede vacante occur within a few years.

  8. Hi Anura,

    Greetings ūüôā

    I wouldn’t bank on Cardinal Bertone. He doesn’t know much English, and his controversial remarks linking clerical pedophilia to homosexuality doesn’t sit very well with public opinion and the media. I heard of him because of his intention to promote a Vatican soccer team.

    PS: My No 1 pick, Cardinal Maradia, is also a Salesian. ūüėČ

  9. Sean,
    Greetings. Thanks.
    Sean, I think you mean the piano-playing (as with Benedict XVI), want-to-be-a-pilot (which could be UNIQUE), Hondurian, Oscar Andr√©s Rodr√≠guez Maradiaga, SDB. I wouldn’t quarrel with you too much … since he was #7 in my The Next Pope Book.
    He is in the new again. Saying he is getting death threats. Check it out.
    That Cardinal Bertone doesn’t speak English, or doesn’t speak much of it, was already highlighted by Father Anthony.
    We need to be CAREFUL that we don’t end up doing a form of anthropomorphism when it comes to US and Cardinal Electors.
    What WE may like or want might not necessarily be the same as what the electors would like and in the end … it is JUST what 80 of them, in common, would like that matters.
    In that context, English, I think, may be a red herring. As long as he can speak Italian … that is all that matters.
    Not sure how many of the past popes, prior to John Paul II pope English.
    Same applies to the sex scandal. Not what WE think. How did it sit with the ELECTORS? Was that a line that the ELECTORS were comfortable with. I think they might have been. Gets them off the hook.
    Do you know?
    If there were to be a conclave in 2011, I do not think Maradiaga will make. He is quite controversial too. Made some unflattering remarks about the US media coverage of the sex scandal.
    BUT, here is an ABSOLUTE KICKER … and the possible WILD CARD.
    He is an award winning, certified clinical psychologist cum psychotherapist. [This latter skill must be in high demand during conclaves and consistories.]
    I have known, quite well, two psychologist. One was the best manager I ever had and the other was … [smile, smile]
    One thing I learned from these two … WOW … TRAINED psychologist really do know how to get the best from people. So, yes, Maradiaga could do some mind magic on his peers. He might be doing it already.
    It would be a RIOT to have a trained, proficient psychologist as pope.
    I would like that. Would make me smile even more than I do now … and I smile probably 98% of the time I am awake.

  10. I meant Maradiaga, oops, typo.

    Hahaha, a psychologist Pope would be interesting! He seems like a charismatic character. But it certainly did not do much in the 2005 conclave for him. He laughed at the idea when someone put it to him upfront. His favourite word seems to be ‘Solidarity’.

    If he knows how to draw crowds into churches, as his personality may suggest, he would make a fine Pope.

    2nd Wild Card: He is NOT a Curialist. I don’t see anything apart from he being President of Caritas International. Ref. to your previous post on the next Pope having ‘clean hands’.

    Maradiaga is also a surname of European origin, presumably Spanish.

    I just found out that the papability of a Latin American is not a recent development. Cardinal Aloisio Lorscheider of Brazil was papabile in the two 1978 conclaves.

  11. Hey, I have been PUSHING for a Latin American pope since 2008.
    I think that is the BEST HOPE for the Church.
    But, also think about Ouellet … he has MANY things going for him.
    1/ He is from the Americas.
    2/ He has extensive Latin American connections and has spent a lot of time in Latin America … so he would get Latin American votes.
    3/ He can be a compromise candidate … Americas but not Latin American or US.
    4/ Was pastoral.
    5/ Conservative and as such will continue to the JP II, B XVI franchise.
    6/ In his new job he gets LOT of visibility and gets to COLLECT ‘IOUs’ from countries. [Think about it. He puts forward the names.]

    Right now I am torn between Ouellet and Bertone as to which one is #1 papabile. They are my #1 & #2. Then probably Scola … then a Latin American. Do NOT think it will be Maradiaga. He is slipping in my list. Was always political, but he has got even MORE SO since the ‘coup.’ That might concern the other electors. But, I could, as ever, be wrong.

    Thanks. Cheers.

  12. Anura,
    Maradiaga has a few things going for him. At 68, he is still of “middle-age” in cardinal terms, he is from Latin America, etc. Which leaves him being a Salesians. The question of religious orders and papacy has not been resolved yet. I also asked, concerning a Jesuit papabile, about whether there ever had been a Jesuit pope. You didn’t reply to that – do you know the answer?

    Also, wikipedia says he is considered a moderate, but on the specific issues it mentions (communion for those who are pro-choice, use of surrogate mothers, condoms, sex-abuse crisis including a bizarre conspiracy theory regarding Jewish control of media) he falls on the conservative side. What exactly makes him moderate?

    I think English is significant, it being lingua franca of the modern world. A supreme pontiff who lacks English skills is at a serious disadvantage when communicating with his flock. The thing is, the 120 electors know all these things that might not affect them personally but affects the Church at large and will let that influence their decision. Same goes for sex-abuse scandals – if a candidate is so toxic that it will hurt the Church the electors will steer away from him even though they really think he’d be a good choice in other aspects. The Church might not be a democracy, but the faithful can still vote with their feet – and their wallets!

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