I’m not Catholic, but for some reason find the Papacy interesting. So, as the Pope’s failing health and anticipation of his death and succession of a new Pope feed the 24 hour news cycle for another couple of turns, I find an article in the New Zealand Herald entitled How to Pick a New Pope.
120 Cardinals are sequestered in the Sistine Chapel beginning no earlier than 15 days and no later than 20 days after the Papacy becomes vacant either through death or resignation. Two ballots are taken each morning and two ballots each night. A Pope must be selected by a vote of 2/3 + 1 — 81 of the 120 votes. Elaborate tallying procedures are described.
According to the article, top contenders to succeed John Paul II are:
Dionigi Tettamanzi, 71, Italy – the Archbishop of Milan, is the frontrunner. Tettamanzi is a pastor and an intellectual and as someone close to John Paul II, insiders say he he represents continuity, but with new ideas. Tettamanzi can count on the support of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, who heads the bishops’ congregation, and Camillo Ruini, head of the Italian Church. He’s also close to Opus Dei, the ultraconservative Catholic group.
Francis Arinze 73, Nigeria – Archbishop Emeritus of Onitsha, Nigeria, pro-president of the secretariat for Non-Christians. In 2002, after serving as the head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, he was named the head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments. Arinze is a conservative who takes a hardline position on abortion and contraception and denounces homosexuality.
Christoph Schonborn, 60, Austria – Archbishop of Vienna. Schonborn is titled aristocracy related to every European royal family. Also a brilliant theologian with sensitivity to the Christian East, orthodoxy and Eastern bloc Catholics.
But his relatively young age and that he comes from the German camp could work against him.
Angelo Scola, 64, Italy – the Patriarch of Venice. A scholar and a moderate, Scola is likely to have the backing of Opus Dei.
Severino Poletto, 72, Italy – the Archbishop of Turin. Poletto was named Bishop of Asti last year. His prospects derive from his spiritual and pastoral qualities and his links to Vatican secretary of state, Angelo Sodano.
The article does mention that Latin Americans make up more than 50% of all Catholics and, therefore, mentions a Honduran and a Brazilian possibility.