by Anura Guruge
This post is to provide an update following Father Peter’s as ever insightful comments leading up to that of January 19, 2011.
You may also want, at a minimum, to refer to the papabili related posts on Jan. 11, 2011 (Bertone), Jan. 06, 2011 (Father Anthony), Jan. 04, 2011 (current thinking), Dec. 6, 2010 (over 75), Dec. 7, 2010 (over 75 ‘stars’), and Nov. 20, 2010 (not American).
Right now, my overall favorite, the one that I always end up coming back to, is Canadian curialist Cardinal Ouellet. I identified and picked Cardinal Ouellet in December 2008, prior to his high profile curial posting last June. My only reservation as to do with his age — given that I am, in papabili 2011, only looking at a 9 to 12 month horizon [i.e., Jan/Feb. 2012 ONLY]. He is young. If elected pope in 2011 he could reign, with aplomb for some of the time, for 20 years.
At a time when there is considerable consensus that we do not have any stand-out front-runners, Ouellet is an incredible compromise candidate for 2011 (bar for his youth). He is ‘conservative,’ and has had a close philosophical relationship with the current pope going back, at least, a couple of decades. But, from what I understand, he is not considered to be a zealot á la the ‘Little’ or ‘Tanned’ Ratzingers. So, he is mellow conservative.
He is from the Americas, without being American, with significant Latin American experience and connections. He also belongs to a religious order. Now he is a curialist. As the bishop-maker for the world he is in a position, where whether he likes it or not, or whether he wants it or not, he is going to garner IOUs from grateful countries and their cardinals — for putting forward the appropriate, ‘conservative’ candidates for bishoprics. He also has a reputation as an intellectual. Moreover, he has tried not to get embroiled in controversies or to seek media attention.
Other than Ouellet, I try to look at different scenarios — always acutely aware that the cardinal electors are likely to have likes, biases, requirements and prejudices that are very different to those of the lay constituents. Consequently, whether Cardinal Bertone is fluent in English may not matter as much to non English speaking cardinal electors as it does to laity from English speaking countries. Similarly, the whole thorny issue of ‘conservatism.’ If you are a conservative at heart, as at least 70% of the cardinal electors are, the ‘conservative’ credentials of a candidate may not bother you as much as it will bother a lay moderate. So, the best I can do is look at different scenarios and pick papabili for each of those and then see what kind of support they can get.
A key scenario I work on is what I call the ‘continuing the John Paul II (#265) franchise’ — basically the move to slowly but surely roll back as many of the innovations of Vatican II as possible. [Akin to the new GOP dominated US House of Representatives repealing the Obamacare laws that were signed last year.] Benedict XVI was elected to maintain this franchise and particularly when it comes to the Latin Mass he has not let the conservatives down. The BIG question is whether, after 31-32 years of operating in this ‘roll back Vatican II’ mode, SOME of the electors want a change of agenda.
So here are some of the scenarios that I look at:
1/ Continuation of the John Paul II — Benedict XVI franchise.
2/ Change of agenda, however small, from the John Paul II — Benedict XVI franchise.
3/ Latin American pope.
4/ Popular pope … a pope that smiles and can make people smile.
5/ Pastoral pope.
6/ Italian pope — for the sake of having an Italian pope.
Cardinal Bertone is my favorite for the continuation of the John Paul II — Benedict XVI franchise scenario. As a relatively popular Secretary of State, he can rely on an impressive cross-section of votes: viz. Italian, curial, religious orders, conservative and European. Plus, he will get the SOCCER VOTE — and that should not be underestimated given how popular soccer is in South America, Africa and Europe.
Cardinal Ouellet will get a cross-section of votes from: USA, Latin America, curial, Commonwealth [South Africa, India, UK, Australia, Sri Lanka], religious orders, conservative etc.
Cardinal Scola is my favorite for both the Italian and pastoral popes though I also toy with Antonelli and Amato.
Cardinal Ravisi is my Italian (and possibly curial) pick.
When it comes to Latin America my current pick is Ouellet! But, failing that Cardinal Sandri.
This is not an exact science. I try to use as much second degree logic as I can muster, always acutely aware that it is extremely unlikely that cardinal electors think anywhere close to how I think. And, thank God for that!
So … have your say. Thanks.