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...a sweatshop of moxie

Friday, February 25, 2005


My mother says I'm a morbid person sometimes, and I warn you, I'm having a morbid moment.

First, a personal disclosure. I'm a Roman Catholic. Happy, untroubled, deeply enthusiastic Roman Catholic at that.

Not for me those self-tortured thoughts of wrong-doing by my Church, no sir. I love the panoply and history of this 2000 year Reich, and then some. What can I say -- I was born a deeply hierarchical person.

So last year I had a morbid thought (there I go again, mum) -- one that I confess, I've been having since the millenium changeover.

Who would succeed my beloved Polish-born Pope, Karol Józef Wojtyła, dit John Paul II?

To this end I took out a few books from the public library so when the sad, and hopefully not near day arrives, and we Catholics are shepherdless bleeting sheep in the religious wilderness (passes hankie around), I am not caught unawares by the Papal Conclave. I hate when that happens.

As you all know, especially you Dan Brown freaks, a Papal Conclave is called by the Pope's Camerlengo (or Chamberlain) to gather all the cardinals who will be electing the new Pontiff. This process begins within 15 days of the Pope's death (20 for all to arrive, after that the Sistine Chapel, where they will be selecting the new Pope, is sealed).

Man, I hope the Cardinal of Indonesia can get there on time! I heard roads were rough in his area.

But what everyone wants to know is WHO? Who would be the next Pope for the XXIst century?

Fortunately, an Irish bookie has started the ball rolling by posting the odds of various Cardinals around. You see, ma, I'm not the only morbid one around! I'm not even making money off of the speculation (although I do have a PayPal account available for any generous readers).

Habemus Papa!

Here, then, are the Papabili and their odds:

  • - Dionigi Tettamanzi, 70, Archbishop of Milan, 5 to 2 odds. Comment: Hmm, Archbishop? I thought only Cardinals could elect a Pope. Where's my "Angels & Demons"?
  • - Francis Arinze, 74, Nigerian Cardinal, 3 to 1. Comment: Crafty choice. Are world-wide Catholics ready for a black Pontiff? Why not indeed. Bit old though.
  • - Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, 68, Cuban Cardinal, 11 to 2. Comment: Yuck. In bed with Castro. Next.
  • - Ennio Antonelli, 68, Cardinal of Florence
  • - Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, 62, Honduran Cardinal, both at 6 to 1. Comment: The Honduran looks good. I'm betting the next Pope will be Latin American or Iberian. He's the right age too.
  • - Joseph Ratzinger, 77, Cardinal from Germany
  • - Claudio Hummes, 70, Brazilian Cardinal, both at 8 to 1 odds. Comment: Ratzinger is said to have all the charm of bon vivant, so that's out, and Hummes is very popular in São Paulo. Too old though.
  • - Giacomo Biffi, 76, Cardinal of Bologna, 10 to 1. Comment: Come on, 76? Where's the bang for your buck?
  • - Christoph Schoenborn, 60, Cardinal of Vienna
  • - Angelo Scola, 63, Cardinal of Venice
  • - Jean-Marie Lustiger, 78, French Cardinal, 12 to 1 odds all. Comment: YES! Nice choices, except for the Frenchie. Don't forget that John XXIII was Cardinal of Venice before ascending to the Papacy. The two youngest of the papabili. But another European? Hmm. Latin America is bleeding Catholics! We need help here.
  • - Angelo Sodano, 77, Vatican Cardinal and the Secretary of State (Number 2 guy)
  • - Ivan Dias, 68, Cardinal of India, 16 to 1 both. Comment: No one elects Powers-Behind-the-Thrones or Popes who cook a mean curry.
  • - Diamuid Martin, 59, Cardinal of Dublin, didn't get but 66 to 1 odds from his compatriot. Comment: Tough crowd.
Intriguing, isn't it? Well, as we mull over the choices, I'm off to say a rosary for Il Papa. I may be morbid, but I am no bookie.


  • Vic, you are crazy, funny but crazy ;)

    By Blogger Jorge, at Fri Feb 25, 11:20:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I forgot, I'm putting money on Madariaga.

    By Blogger Jorge, at Fri Feb 25, 11:35:00 pm GMT-5  

  • My money's on 'none of the above'.

    Lustiger would be amusing, though -- first Pope in millenia who's a Jew. ;)

    By Blogger JSU, at Sat Feb 26, 01:13:00 am GMT-5  

  • I'm leaning towards one of the older candidates. They may not want another Pope to dominate the church for that length of time.

    So Vicky, where is the yahoo league?;)

    By Blogger Renato, at Sat Feb 26, 11:40:00 am GMT-5  

  • Hola Jorge! Didn't know you part of the Blogosphere fraternity.

    And only foreigners are crazy. _I_ am eccentric!


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Feb 26, 01:48:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Interesting ideas you lads have had:

    Jorge agrees with me it might be a Latin American this time around, and probably the age is right.

    JSU thinks the bookie hasn't got an "in" to the workings of the would-be Popemakers, and that none of the Irish bookie choices will get it. And if we get a French Pope, we'd just have to change his name to the "Freedom Pope", so that's out.

    Whilst Renato has the most thoughtful suggestion, and one that is actually beginning to make sense to me, is that the Church may want an older chap to holder the Papal staff for a while, whilst they a better candidate comes along.

    After all, the best thing to come out of Pope Pius XXII's long, controversial reign was Pope John XXXIII's short even more controversial one.

    I don't want Vatican III though.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Feb 26, 01:53:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Please join:


    RSS Conclave-R-Us

    ID: 2006
    PW: rss

    See you there!

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Feb 26, 01:55:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Is Maradiaga related to "Primi"?

    By Blogger Jim, at Sun Feb 27, 01:34:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Like you, I'm a Catholic. And there are events in the church that happen in the oddest fashion and you can only ascribe them to chance or the hand of God. The current Pope, as an example. When he was chosen, it was kind of an afterthought, a "let's try this, what?" You recall the Pope before him lasted less than a year. As if God were saying, "No, try again, people." So they trot out this Polish fellow. I'm sure they were muttering, "Hope we don't have to do this again for a while. We'll be looking pretty silly if two of them die on us."

    Instead, amazing things happened. And, most of all, John Paul opened the gates for non-Italian Popes. I think the next batch will be from countries that toe the line in intensity and orthodoxy. That leaves out Western Europe and the USA. I predict Latin America.

    Dale Andersen

    By Blogger Playwrighter, at Sun Feb 27, 01:56:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Bien sûr the Archbishop of Milan is also a cardinal, and traditionally one of the most influential as well... for me Tettamanzi is the biggest favourite - theologically he's conservative like the current pope, and politically he has always been very outspoken about the negative effects of globalization (like f.e. during the G8 summit in Genoa, the bishop of which he was at the time).

    Personally I don't think it's going to be a South American... not yet, at least.
    But since the votes are shared about half-half between Europe and the rest of the world, and about half-half between the Iberian and the Italian "blocs" we could be in for a surprise.

    Still, my money would be on Tettamanzi.


    Schönborn? Nah, much too occupied with the current mess the Austrian church is in.

    By Anonymous Divis, at Wed Mar 02, 03:28:00 pm GMT-5  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Mar 03, 12:17:00 am GMT-5  

  • I was going to ask that, Jim!

    Primi being that Maradiaga fellow who was Honduras manager pre-WC 2002, no? The only who looked like Shrek right?

    Only not quite as green, obviously.

    Honduras really gave the US a hard time in the Hex. Thank goodness that's over with.

    Go Maradiaga! Although I wonder what Costa Rica has to offer, papabili-wise. ;)


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Mar 03, 12:18:00 am GMT-5  

  • Dale, in fact, I think John Paul I last less than a month! Or was it 100 days?

    Anyway, I was too young to remember (3 or so) but I do recall he was called by the people, the Smiling Pope.

    You can plainly see why they had to off him.


    (I keed! I keed!)

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Mar 03, 12:22:00 am GMT-5  

  • Hey Werner! I haven't seen you around IRC lately, so I'm glad you could join my blog-party. ;)

    And yes, I understand about Tettamanzi being the odds-on favourite, Cardinal-Archbishop of Milan, etc. etc., but are we really ready for a Pope whose family name has the word "tit" in it?

    I'm not at all sure.

    And what mess is the Austrian RC Church in?? Don't tell me they've been naughty with choristers too?


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Mar 03, 12:24:00 am GMT-5  

  • Erm yes, the "tit" thing is a drawback... maybe that's the reason all popes choose a new name? :)

    But then you can't have the French cardinal, because you don't want to have a pope whose name means "funnier" in German do you?

    As for the Austrian church... well unfortunately there's been the usual, a groping cardinal, very unfortunate discoveries made on the PCs in some priest seminaries and above all an ultra-conservative bishop in the middle of all this turmoil who seems to have invented the "holier-than-thou" attitude...

    well the less said the better.


    By Anonymous divis, at Thu Mar 03, 07:20:00 am GMT-5  

  • That could be one reason, Werner, although why anyone would like to change his name to "Pope Linus" is beyond me -- perhaps his original name was Schlomo.

    As for Lustiger, hehe, yes it sounds comical in German, literally. In English, it sounds like a bathroom cleaner.

    "Can you hand me some Lustiger for the toilet bowl?"

    As for the priestly PCs, all I can say is something I told my mother some time ago -- that the majority of straight priests left their vocations years ago, and look what we're left with now...

    Mind you, all the priests of my own acquaintance have by great good fortune, been some of the finest men I have known.

    And I'm sure there are still a few who will make a decent Pope.

    Here's hoping anyway. :)

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Mar 03, 05:48:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Of course, the child molestation rate is still lower among priests than among the general population... Or public schoolteachers, IIRC.

    For what it's worth.

    By Blogger JSU, at Fri Mar 04, 04:48:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Oh yes, JSU, I wasn't "dumping" on priests at all. I am in the majority today in the US for saying I love the many priests I have known, and moreover, I respect them for their sacrifices.

    But for what it's worth too, I have to point out that public school teachers, camp counsellors and the like are not religious representatives with the moral imperative that carries.

    BTW, the same scandals you have in the US with priests, we have in the UK with vicars, as I told Jim last week...it's just that the US media seem to think it's a "Catholic" thing.

    It's not...alas.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Mar 04, 07:12:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Majority = minority. ;)

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Mar 04, 07:13:00 pm GMT-5  

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