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, i.e., likely next pope prospects during the calendar year 2011, is meant to be a limited shelf-life list, with a firm expiration date of Dec. 31, 2011, in the very unlikely event that there will be a conclave in 2011.
Actively trying to track papabili for the last four years has taught me many things, but the key among them is that you have to keep the time horizon short in order to be realistic. I have, therefore, decided to do it on a yearly basis, starting with 2011.
Per what I said in my Dec. 6 & 7 posts (see above), tempered by the various helpful comments I received (some, privately via e-mail), my current mindset is that, if there were to be a conclave in 2011, the electors are most likely to opt for a candidate who is in his ’70s’ as opposed to one who his in his ‘mid-60s.’ Increasing longevity, across the board, being the overriding factor — with the current pope and his predecessor both demonstrating that future popes are likely to routinely live beyond the age of 80, easily surpassing the 71.8 year average for the 61 ex-popes since 1400. But, I am convinced that I have to make four (4) exceptions, though two are really on the cusp, viz.:
1. Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, P.S.S. (Salesian) [June 8, 1944, hence 67 in 2011],
**Prefect, Congregation of Bishops
2. Argentinian Cardinal Leonardo Sandri [Nov. 18, 1943, hence 68 in 2011],
**Prefect, Congregation for Oriental Churches
3. Italian Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi [Oct. 18, 1942, hence 69 in 2011],
**President, Pontifical Council for Culture
4. Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola [Nov. 7, 1941, hence 70 in late 2011],
**Patriarch of Venice
I struggled with two other under-70 celebrities: Spanish Cardinal Antonio ‘Little Ratzinger‘ Cañizares Llovera [Oct. 10, 1945] and Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, O.P. [Jan. 22, 1945]. In the end, I decided that at 65 they were both really too young, especially given that they are both ‘radical’ in their own separate ways. I have to think that in each instance there will be at least 40 electors who will balk at the prospect of handing the reins of the Church to either of these for what could be 20 or more years.
Cardinal Ouellet was my #3 pick in 2008, while he was still in Canada, with Cardinal Scola was my #5 pick. Cardinal Ouellet’s star continues to be in the ascend, his 2010 appointment to the curia enhancing his visibility, influence among the curial electors and possibly even indebtedness from national electors for promoting the ‘right’ candidates for bishoprics. There is still a magic and mystique attached to the Patriarch of Venice, with Blessed John XXIII (#262), St. Pius X (#258) & John Paul I (#264) having all being elected pope from that seat.
Since he was named a cardinal in October 2010, Gianfranco Ravasi has been touted as a papabile. He gets Father Anthony’s endorsement and that alone is enough to convince me that I cannot overlook this personable Italian. Darien Clark, in October, highlighted Cardinal Sandri’s credentials. After much consideration, I have to agree that he, rather than my #1 pick from 2008, Cardinal Scherer, is probably the strongest candidate from Latin America — especially given his age. Hence, my justification for the four exceptions.
The Other Criteria Used
I have talked about these other criteria for some months now and, as such, none of them should come as a surprise:
1/ The next pope will not be from Africa, Asia, Oceania or Cuba.
2/ The next pope will not be from Poland or Germany on the basis that the electors will want to ‘spread the wealth.’
3/ The next pope will not be from the U.S.A. See post listed at the head of this post.
4/ I am still torn as to whether retired cardinals, i.e., those with emeritus titles, are papabile. My druthers is that they
***are. But, folks tell me that this is not the case. I find it hard to believe that Claudio Hummes will get the cold shoulder
***because he is retired.