posted on Mar, 31 2005 @ 01:26 PM
Well, to be honest, it largely depends on who is elected. We can be reasonably certain that whomever is elected is going to be conservative in their
views, as the current pope appointed all but five of the voting cardinals (that leaves 129 to 5). However, the new pope is also quite likely to be
non-white, as the majority demographics have shifted to Adrica, Asia, and Latin America. Let's look at the top contenders:
Francis Arinze of Nigeria - He's old. He's black. He's extremely conservative, and has no love of homosexuals. However, the black catholic
movement is still quite young, and the demographic may prove less important than re-centralizing Europe. As the World's first Black Pope, my guess is
that he would want to make some big events in order to leave an impression, but not rock the boat, so as to ensure the future possibility of
additional non-white Popes. I suppose, if elected the new Pope, he would probably start a crusade against gays, and bring a lot of humanitarian
efforts to third world countries. So... a blend of intolerance with charity.
Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras - He's Latino, hates the media, is a big supporter of decentralization of the Church, and of
cancelling Third World Debt. Though over 60, he might still be considered too young for the job. I would expect that if he were the new pope, that
there would be enormous political pressure to cancel third world debt, to donate to the World Bank, but I wouldn't expect the Church to become any
less centralized than it already is. Catholocism is, by its very nature, a very hierarchal religion. Not being very media friendly, however, he may be
skipped over to avoid giving the press one more reason to give the Vatican a bad name.
Jean-Marie Lustiger - French, Jewish, and over 75. While those might be assets in any other setting, for consideration as the Pope, this counts
as three strikes. There's very little political advantage to electing a French Pope at the moment, and electing a Jew to the post of Pope could be
one of the biggest disgraces to both religions since the dragging of "civilized" Pocahontas around Europe in the Colonial days. Additionally, his
age, around 80, will be a big problem, as the required retirement age for voting Cardinals is 75. So if an exception is made, and he's given the
pointy hat, you can be sure it was a very certain, precise political move on their part.
Lubomyr Husar of the Ukraine - Dual citizenship, he's also an American. This can be both his biggest asset and biggest liability. Were the
superpower of the countries, and the superpower of religions to be tied together... well, I leave that up to you to imagine. Additionally, this would
bridge the gap between east and west catholicism.
Dionigi Tettamanzi of Italy - Though he represents only the minority number of Catholics now (Italy has less than 5%), this is probably the
safest bet, house-odds. If he's elected, I wouldn't expect anything particularly new and exciting. Perhaps more returns towards tradition and a
favoring of the Opus Dei movement.
Christoph Schönborn of Austria - Truth be told, this guy is my favorite, and I hope he wins. He seems to be the smartest of the bunch, but at
just barely over 60, he's kind of a whipper-snapper in the eyes of the voting cardinals. Of all the candidates, I would expect him to make the
biggest waves, and possibly do the most good the Church has seen in centuries.
Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino of Cuba - Another Latino, and communist sympathizer. Not much to say about him, except possibly that if he is
elected, we can expect there to be a lot of friction between the Vatican and the U.S. because of the latent conflict in ideologies.
Godfried Danneels of Belgium - The only Liberal Papal candidate with any real chance, in much the same way that Nader is the only Independant
candidate to run for U.S. President with a chance. But the boy has wit and smarts. He's Mr. Popular, but sometimes Mr. Popular isn't enough to win
the race, and wit isn't enough to lead a religion. If he's elected, I'd expect a bit more tolerance from within the church, but otherwise, too much
political pressure to make many waves.