Nov 022010

by Anura Guruge

Please read the prior to related posts. Not to have created this chart would have been a shame since I had all the data at this point.

Anura Guruge growth in the College of Cardinals relative to Catholics worldwide

  13 Responses to “Growth Of The College of Cardinals Relative To That Of Catholics Worldwide”

  1. Hello Anura,

    I am a long time reader of your Blogs but this is my first comment. I have been reading and analysing all of the new cardinals’ backgrounds as a hobby. I may even submit my own list of Papabile one day but I am very much an amateur.

    My question relates to one of the new cardinals who has not received much attention on this site yet: Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya from the Congo.

    I accept it is very unlikely we will have an African Pope, especially with the new bloc of Italian cardinals but it seems that this man would be an excellent choice. He is under 75 and still will be in the next 2-3 years.

    The Economist cites him as papabile:

    He has an excellent background, working in a region with many challenges that is, nonetheless, a growth area for Catholicism. He is the current co-head of Pax Christi, played an enormous role in bringing peace to his country and has experience in governing various factions, given his temporary roles in leading the country.

    “With the Vatican’s blessing, in the 1990s he took an active role in mediating his country’s political crisis and trying to guide the nation to a new democratic constitution. In 1991, he was elected president of the Sovereign National Conference; from 1992 to 1994 he served as president of the High Council of the Republic; and in1994-1995 he served as speaker of the country’s transitional parliament.”


    With his Bible scholarship background, experience in governing, work in a growth area and focus on justice and peace which has spawned genuine results, he seems like the ideal candidate. It seems a pity that his nationality and, possibly, lack of relationships with curial factions will hold him back.

    What do you think of this candidate, Anura and other readers of this site? I would dearly love your opinions.

  2. Whilst I am at it, I would like to ask questions about two other cardinals I have pondered a great deal. To me, they are the dark horses amongst the papabili.

    The first is Cardinal Schonborn. I know he has been discussed a great deal on this blog but I still cannot really gain a handle on him. Obviously traditionalists are deeply concerned about the “clown mass” allegations but, in addition to that are the Medjugorje visit and his opening of the can of worms with regard to evolution versus so-called intelligent design.

    On the other hand, he is a traditionalist from an aristocratic background and vocally condemned Sodano’s remarks. Does this show courage or a propensity to open his mouth without thinking? Whilst I agree with his condemnation of Sodano, his track record suggests the opposite. Maybe he has the support of a faction behind him which has emboldened him to make the comments. If so, Sodano’s faction must also still be powerful, given the swift reprimand he received and the apology he issued. Sodano, though, is old and not an elector. Presumably many members of his faction are of the same age.

    Likewise, Schonborn seems close to Ratzinger, being part of the “kitchen cabinet” whilst Schonborn himself hinted that Ratzinger and Sodano were parts of opposing factions over the handling of child abuse in the past.

    Other than that, despite his conservatism, he has been somewhat critical of the reintegration of the SSPX and open to the issue of condoms to prevent AIDS. He therefore would represent a slight softening of the line if he were to succeed Ratzinger and Wojtyla.

    Ultimately, then, what do we think of Schonborn? Is he a very clever politician aligning himself to be the next Pope or is he opinionated and unthinking, inadvertently undermining his chances ever to be Pontiff? I cannot figure him out.

    The other cardinal who seems to be something of a dark horse is Antonelli. An outside chance of being Papabile in 2005, his position does not seem to have changed much but with more Italian cardinals, might he be a compromise candidate?

    He is cited as being reminiscent of the Smiling Pope, John Paul I, which would contrast with the introspective Ratzinger. He is considered a moderate with a strong interest in peace and justice issues, with less focus on personal morality which would also contrast with the last two pontiffs and signal a change of emphasis that may be particularly attractive given events in the western world since September 2001.

    Apparently he does not have good relations with the Curia but if there is a desire for an Italian Pope, he may be in contention if some cardinals have reserves about promoting someone from the inner circle. His distance from the Curia may also be an advantage if he is seen as less associated with the alleged systematic cover-up of child abuse.

    The fact that he is more of a pastoral figure may also appeal to those less inclined for another academic theologian or canon law expert.

    Age will be a factor now, though, as he is close to 75, so again it will also depend on if the cardinals want a transitional figure or a long-term Pope for stability.

    His distance from curia, humility and lack of interest in politics will also mean he does not have the support of a faction. This is good from a Christian point of view but lessens his chances of becoming leader.

    Any thoughts on this dark horse? I feel he is unlikely but has the potential to be a JP1/John XXIII were he elected, if he could reign in the politicking of the cardinals.

  3. Just one final thing I forgot to mention before: three of the new cardinals, Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya (as discussed in my message above), Ravasi and Patabendige Don all studied under Carlo Martini.

    Do you think this will make them less attractive to conservative voters, fearing that Martini’s liberal trends have influenced them?

  4. LOL – Shane Warne? I don’t follow cricket but thankfully he seems to be quiet nowadays.

    I had missed that discussion by Father Peter about Schonborn to which you referred so I just went back and found it. Yes, interesting comments about how Schonborn pays lip-service to ecumenism with the Orthodox to further his own agenda. It is a tragedy that Christianity is still divided and that most cardinals cannot reach out to have denominations and accept them as partners and sister churches.

    Even Walter Kasper, who worked on dialogue with the Anglicans, recently revealed his true nature in his gaffes before the UK visit and then there is the case of the new German cardinal, Reinhold Marx, who severely punished a priest for sharing the eucharist with non-Catholic Christians. Fortunately, I know of some quiet, grass-roots priests here in Australia who are prepared to share the eucharist with Protestants. Genuine ecumenism is being kept alive at that level.

    Anyway, to end on a happier note, most of the lists people are publishing tend to agree that Ouellet and Scola are the two leading contenders. What attributes do these men both possess that make most of us regard them as leading papabili? I have of course researched them and both seem quite moderate, so are we expecting a slight backdown from the rigidity of the Wojtyla/Ratzinger eras? What else do they possess that makes them stand out? Is Ouellet’s nationality a factor that will help or hinder him?

    Thanks – sorry I am overloading this thread with so many questions. Would love to hear a variety of answers and opinions on all the cardinals I have discussed in this post and the ones above!

  5. Just finished posting that when I saw this breaking news:

    We might not see Leonard made cardinal for a while after this….

  6. David,
    As I write this I am watching the election results come in in the US 2010 mid-term elections. It is not pretty.
    I am also chatting on e-mail with an artist, married to an old union boss, who knows her way around US politics.
    What we are seeing here is a referendum on Obama, and though he really screwed up on health care, that is not the fundamental, visceral reason why there is such an anti-Obama sentiment right now. What I can’t figure is how did WE manage to elect him — and I count myself, as one those that worked as if possessed, to make sure he did win. I still remember the celebrations.
    In my book I had Fox Napier of SA as my #4 papabili.
    Cardinals are world savvy. They do watch satellite news. They talk. They would have heard what the US cardinals have said about what has happened at home since Obama, ironically, took up residence in the White House.
    But, I have totally changed my tune. The next pope will not be from Africa. Yes, we could get an African pope before 2125 … but it will not be the next.
    Just read an e-mail from a father with many Roman friends. Earlier he had been a Turkson fan. But, he too has come around to my thinking.
    Today he shared something v. pertinent. He said that he was told by a Roman ‘cleric’ prior to the 2005 conclave that Arinze had no chance. As you know Arinze went in as the #1 pick of the bookies. The stories are he got ‘no’ votes.
    As my ‘buddy’ (I don’t know him personally) Mutti would confirm, skin color still plays a role in the world stage whatever your ‘game’ is.
    I am sorry. I am a chartered, cynic’s cynic and a die-in-the-wool pragmatist. Next pope will not be from Africa … but I always, admit, that I may be wrong.
    Thanks & Cheers. I see SL is in Oz right now. Will we see another INCIDENT?

  7. Like most of the world, I had hopes for Obama but I am very sorry to say he lost me and many Australians with his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. That was disgusting.

    I am glad for the sake of all US citizens that you now have the Safety net of government health care though. It may not be perfect but it is much, much better than what you had before.

    I recently read “Death of a Pope” by Piers Paul Read. It is an interesting novel, attempting to explore all aspects of the major challenges currently facing the Catholic Church through a series of character vignettes. I think Anura, you would enjoy it very, very much. In the end, the only character who is redeemed is the humble, elderly priest who has toiled all his life for the church at the grassroots. Other characters, both liberal and conservative, religious and secular are all shown to be very flawed. Anyway, intertwined with the fictional characters are discussions of the real papabili from the 2005 conclave and it more or less contends that Arinze lacked the intellectual horsepower to become Pope.

    The book also notes that the South Americans just aren’t visible on the world stage so they had no chance either.

    Yes, I agree with your way of thinking. Sad about Pasinya not being in the running as he has those attributes but I agree it is unlikely. If I were a gambler I would say it will go to an Italian.

  8. Did you mean 2125…or 2025?

    (What of “The Pope Must Die(t)”,if we are looking to outlandish conclave-fictions?I have Malachi Martin’s “The Final Conclave”,which begins with real events of the 1970s and then tells of a fictional conclave with only fictional characters reaching a ridiculous conclusion).

  9. Can you PLEASE explain why Obama’s Nobel prize acceptance speech was disgusting?
    Since I do not know WHO you are, and YOU are making a point of using an alias e-mail and shoving in my face as ‘’ I am going to HOLD OFF on all your comments UNTIL I hear what was so disgusting about Obama’s speech.
    Your second comment, “all US citizens that you now have the Safety net of government health care though”, indicates that maybe the Oz news media probably is having trouble interpreting US English.

  10. I definitely MEANT 2125 … I definitely wanted to make sure that it would NOT be in YOUR lifetime. I have not read Martin’s “The Final Conclave”. I did read his ‘Vatican’. That had some good bits. I TRIED to read Greeley’s “White Smoke” recently. Just couldn’t stomach it. The gratuitous sex was too much to take and coming FROM ME that is quite a statement. It was as if he was going out of the way to say ‘look I supposed to be a priest BUT I can talk about sex better than most of you.’ So, I stopped reading it. That is even rarer for me. That is probably the 4th book in my life that I didn’t finish reading ONCE I started. (I tell my wife off all the time because she will readily discard a book after a few days). I, however, just bought his ‘The Making of the Pope 2005’. Since I refer to his 1978 equivalent so often that I broke the binding (and it is a hardback) I am hoping he won’t disappoint me … but I do know that much changed with him between 1978 and 2005. In 1978 he still, at least, pretended to be a bona fide priest. But, right now I am reading ‘Measuring the Universe’ — and it is slow going. I only seem to be able to read 2-3 pages a night.

  11. Louis, thanks for that book. Yes, “Death of a Pope” was outlandish in terms of plot but it gave a fairer portrayal of the church than most books in this genre. As I said, the character vignettes were the strength of it. The “plot” was more just a vehicle to explore all of the challenges facing the church.

    Anura, I value my online privacy so I prefer not to disclose any details. However, my name is David and I do live in Australia. It is your blog so if you do not wish to publish any more of my messages, that is entirely your decision.

    I can appreciate you would have been emotional last night about the Democrats’ heavy losses. Nevertheless, I stand by my comments about the Nobel address. They served as nothing more than an excuse and attempt at justifying American militarism. His derision of the anti-war movement was based on erroneous information and, furthermore he is continuing an anti-Christian course in staying in Iraq, the invasion of which was explicitly condemned by the late JP2. I am not an American and I do not vote in USA elections so internal affairs like your health care system are none of my business but, as the world’s only superpower, US foreign policy affects us all and we have seen the tragic affects of aggressive imperialism all too clearly throughout the Bush and Obama eras.

    That is all I will say on politics. I am here to discuss papabili.

    Please take this post in a spirit of friendship from one Christian to another.

  12. If you’re looking for fiction of this type with no requirement as to quality,I can even point you to a work available in two drafts,from 2002 at and from 2005 at (“M.C. Siena” is a pseudonym for Daily Catholic publisher Michael Cain and his wife Cindy,who apparently used to have a separate domain/site for the story at
    Over the years they have migrated from conservative admirers of JP II to sedevacantist radtrads.The tale is sometimes shocking in its ignorance of the traditions they essay to defend,but if lurid end-time conclave stories interest you…

  13. Read this and see how many OTHER mistakes you can find. Has some very interesting thoughts about clerical sex abuse.

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