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.
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.
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.