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Papal Prognisticator

Since I keep getting asked, I thought I would provide a little justification for my list of papabile.

Here is an email I just zipped off to a friend:

As far as my papal prognostications, it is a fool's error to speculate. That being said, I just don't know how they come out not picking a Latin American. There are so many good Latin American cardinals, and that is the center of gravity in the Catholic world. My top two possibilities are Claudio Hummes of Sao Paulo and Dario Castrillon Hoyos of Columbia. The former is a pastor who will foster evangelization, speak to economic injustice and stem the tide of Protestantism in Latin America. He is a Franciscan and very friendly with Opus Dei. Hoyos will kill two birds with one stone by being a Latin American, but at the same time a very conservative Vatican player who will clean house and crack down on abuses that were left to run wild under JPII.

If the cardinals are concerned primarily with devolution (which really means nothing more than letting local bishops conferences have free hand with liberal reforms such as ugly liturgies and condoms), then Godfried Danneels of Belgium will win. This would be a significant victory for the northern European and liberal American cardinals. It is possible but less likely.

If the cardinals are unsure of themselves and where the church should go, and feel they need a strong voice to speak to Islam and biotech/culture of death, then they will choose Joseph Ratzinger as both a transitional figure and a man who can clean house while maintaining a credible moral voice in this dark time. Ratzinger will either be pope or will be the "kingmaker."

If the cardinals are really feeling ambitious, they could pick one of my two darkhorse candidates: Wilfred Fox Napier or Ivan Dias of India. Those would be very stunning selections and demonstrate that the Church has very strong self-confidence and seeks to do some heavy evangelization in Africa and Asia. I'm not sure we are there yet.

Come Holy Spirit!


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