Pope Francis looks rather tired and aged on his visit to Geneva. It is no surprise he talks of his resignation.
Moreover, in recent statements on several occasions he backtracked reformist views and took more classical or even conservative position. Perhaps this
is the end of his liberal reform. As well as his pontificate. He prepares to quit and to leave the disputed questions to his successor. To remain in
history with the image he has chosen to be remembered with. This is his honourable right of course. No person on this earth can continue forever.
Will the cardinal-electors seek the person who will assure a Francis-2 term, or they will go after some different option? One may say it is logical to
have continuation. However the transition Benedict-Francis showed that might not be the case. Francis was elected to do reforms, and the reforms were
blocked on local level to a great extend. And here I do not mean the debated family issues, I mean the everyday running of the Church in your own
diocese. What changed? Are we happy with what we see, or we want a REAL CHANGE?
Let see the list of cardinal electors:
Africa 15 13.2%
North America 22 19.3%
South America 12 19.3%
Asia 14 12.3%
Europe 47 41.2%
Oceania 4 3.5%
US has 10 cardinal electors, Canada has 3. The other 9 cardinals listed under North America are actually from Latin America.
For a pope to be elected are needed the votes of 2/3 of the cardinals electors (those under 80).
However, if the election is protracted (something that didn't happen in the last two ultra-fast conclaves) then the majority required is reduced to
simple (over 50%).
Calculation shows that North America and Europe hold votes beyond simple majority, and with some help from outside could reach 2/3 without much
Much more important is how the liberal/conservative camps are set.
Africa is predominantly conservative. An African pope? For me that is the least likely scenario. Although the conservative Catholics in the West (a
vocal minority at the core of the parish life in every country and city) may want to see cardinal Sarah elected pope, it is not a realistic
expectation. They'd rather put their expectations on more realistic candidates as I go thru later in my review. Today's college of cardinals would not
choose someone who tells them what is right to do from a position of Impeccability and superiority, as they could do in 16th century. It just doesn't
work that way today.
From the US cardinals many are moderate-to-conservative, however the new appointments are rather liberal and vocal(card. Cupich and Tobin). Let
remember that cardinal Dolan of New York played the role of PR with his daily press-conferences during the pre-conclave discussions, while no other
cardinals were willing to talk in public, setting the tone when everyone else was silent. US pope is not expected due to the US being the world power,
however the US cardinals may well define the frames of who will be elected next. Card. Ouelett of Montreal effectively determined the election of
Bergoglio in 2013 by his withdrawal.
Europe as a whole is rather liberal. A European pope again after so many centuries of Italians and Europeans? Or may be the goal is to seeking
relations with the Russian Orthodox Church, the second biggest Christian Church? A Byzantine-rite cardinal would be rather an obstacle in the dialogue
with Moscow. I couldn't see also a French, German, Polish pope again, certainly not Italian, due to a combination of historic and psychological
reasons on the old continent.
Latin America seems to go in the middle in the standoff between conservatives and liberals. That may explain why Bergoglio was elected in 2013 as a
compromise, after Ouellet of Montreal granted him his votes (what a practice). Is it possible a new compromise candidate from South America?
Cardinal Maradiaga (75) of Honduras is considered radical reformer although not liberal in the meaning the West puts in that word
He is one of my favourites, if it means anything. He erected in Honduras a replica
of the cross in Medjugorje, the popular Catholic shrine in Bosnia where millions believe Virgin Mary appears today.
If we are going to talk of supernatural manifestation promoted by the Catholic church, card. Schoenborn of Vienna has invited the Medjugorje seer Ivan
several times in Vienna cathedral to have his vision sessions in public, followed by a Holy mass served by the cardinal himself. (However Schoenborn
is rather liberal otherwise). Many professed their belief in Fatima, with allegedly cardinal Bertone saying in 2013 that if elected pope he would
reveal the real secret? The papal nuncio in the UN hold a conference dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Fatima apparitions.
The supernatural moment should not be underestimated in an institution that holds its foundation on Jesus Christ and the descending of the Holy
Spirit upon the Apostles. Although in a secularised world we may think the politics and the various interests of power decide everything, it might be
just "enough is enough"for the common Catholic believer who was told OTHERWISE in his formation years on Sunday school and Holy Mass...
Anyway. Let continue with the review of the continents.
Asia has 14 cardinals and growing communities of believers. However, the only predominantly Catholic country is the Philippines. It is unlikely, imo,
to have a pope from a country that is predominantly Buddhist. For a Philippine pope there are only two candidates, cardinal Quevedo being 79, that
means in practical terms to be elected cardinal Tagle. Many electors would not endorse the personal characteristic of Tagle who is charismatic indeed
but in his own country's cultural style.
Is it possible a surprise move as cardinal John Tong Hon of Hong Kong, 78, with the view of a future conversion of 1.4 bln China? Indeed, John Paul II
was elected from a Communist country, but Poland predominantly Catholic with centuries history has very little in common with Hong Kong...
Another option is the cardinals to choose for the next pope a non-cardinal. That is allowed and happened in the long history. He might be a bishop,
priest, deacon, or even lay non-consecrated man. The only condition is that man to be able to be consecrated as bishop (certain circumstances could
prevent that). The motivation for that could be, a man not from the system to be allowed to reform the system that proved it cannot reform itself.
More realistically, for a non-cardinal pope we may look among the several thousand bishops. Many of them may escape the public view but some of them
have remarkable qualities. Such as archbishop Krieger of Sao Salvador da Bahia and Primate of Brazil, who is still not elevated to cardinal.
Let remember the conclaves in the past have taken months, even years. Today we live in a much more informed society, in which the Church princes take
only days of the actual conclave and weeks of pre-conclave deliberations to elect the successor of Peter. Soon that topic will become N1 eclipsing
many others. As it happened in 2005 and 2013. Because, to lead the 1.2 bln Catholics means to a great extend to lead the Christendom and to be the
moral voice of the world, whether we like that fact or not.
edit on 23-6-2018 by 2012newstart because: (no reason given)