Of course, this question is on the minds of everyone. Who will the 266th Pope be? Here are who I think may have a chance. The last 7 Popes have an average age of 67. They won’t go with someone as young as Pope John Paul II (58) nor someone as old as Pope Benedict XVI (78). So let’s see who are around the 67-ish age bracket.
I also think that going out of Europe is a stretch. So we will see someone from around the continent again. Of course, I would go for someone young-ish and where the faith is so vibrant – and we never know how the Holy Spirit will touch the Cardinals in the Conclave – but here are the Papabile:
1. Fernando Cardinal Filoni of Italy: He is Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. He used to be the Apostolic Nuncio here in the Philippines (as well as Iraq and Jordan). Gives him insight into Asia, as well as the Middle East. Though he is a “new” Cardinal, only in 2012.
2. Stanislaw Cardinal Rylko of Poland: He is President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, which comprises 99% of the Church. And he is from Poland, which is important as we all expect Blessed Pope John Paul II’s elevation into Sainthood soon.
3. Mauro Cardinal Piacenza of Italy: He is the President of two Pontifical Commissions: Cultural Heritage of the Church AND Sacred Archeology, which speaks of the past. But he is also the Prefect for the Congregation of the Clergy, which takes care of the Clergy, who are voting.
4. Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone of Italy: A Salesian! Can’t go wrong with them 🙂 I think this man has Pope Benedict XVI’s blessing. He is the Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Secretary for the Secretariat of State; and is the Camerlengo of the Apostolic Chamber. Though he has had his share of news, it comes with the job 😉
(5). An interesting “outsider” would be Marc Cardinal Ouellet of Canada. He is the Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops, President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. His Episcopal Lineage includes Blessed Pope John Paul II. He may be the “dark horse”, so to speak.
But wouldn’t it be cool to have Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle of the Philippines be Pope?