The "papabili"

Source: FSSPX News


As is the case at the time of every conclave, the journalists give themselves up to the little game of prognostics on the future pope. This exercise is unavoidable, but vain. So here is the list of the names of papabili most often quoted, however, we will bear in mind the proverb: "who enters the conclave as pope, leaves it as cardinal".

 In the Roman Curia:

Joseph Ratzinger, 77 years old, Head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1981. He was often considered as being too old, but faced with the difficulty of succeeding to John Paul II, the hypothesis of a pope of transition is gaining more and more suffrages.

Giovanni Battista Re, 71 years old, Head of the Congregation for Bishops. His functions enable him to have the upper hand on the relationship with the 4500 bishops in the whole world and on their appointment.

Francis Arinze, 72 years old, Head of the Congregation for Divine Worship, he is Nigerian and was born in an animist family of the Ibo tribe. He converted to Catholicism. His name has kept coming back on the lists of papabili for the past ten years.


In Italy:

Angelo Scola, 63 years old, patriarch of Venice. In his youth, he was very close to the two men who inspired the thinking of Karol Wojtyla, Henri de Lubac and  Hans Urs von Balthasar, and he took part in the creation of the review Communio. He entered the Pontifical University of the Lateran in 1982 as professor of anthropology, and he was rector from 1995 to 2002. He was also very close to the Italian movement Communion and Liberation.

Dionigi Tettamanzi, 71, archbishop of Milan. Rather sweet and jovial, he gave tokens to the conservatives as well as to the progressivists. He took part in the redaction of the encyclicals Evangelium vitæ and Veritatis splendor. He is said to be close to the Opus Dei. In July 2001, on the occasion of the summit of the G8 in Genoa, town of which he was then archbishop, he denounced the harm globalization can cause to human beings of the South of the planet: "The rights of the poor are not poor rights. They have as many rights as the strong and the rich".


Outside of Italy, especially in South America, the continent with the greatest number of Catholidl/fichiers/Emaradiaga.jpg" alt="" width="133" height="134" align="left" border="0">Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga, 62 years old, archbishop of Tegucigalpa (Honduras). A Salesian, formerly teacher of physics, chemistry and music, he was one of the artisans of the worldwide campaign for the alleviation of the debt of poor countries. He had expressed the wish that John Paul II would resign for health reason.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 68 years old, archbishop of Buenos Aires (Argentina). A Jesuit, he was born in a family of Italian origin. He has the reputation of being an ascetic, living frugally and making use of common transportation. During the economic crisis in Argentina, he was the advocate of the victims of recession.

Claudio Hummes, 70 years old, archbishop of Sao Paulo (Brazil). A Franciscan, close to the charismatic movement, he is one of the few Latino-American cardinals who show an interest for ecumenism which he studied in the past at Bossey in Switzerland. He might take up the dream of reconciliation of the preceding pontificate.

Christoph Schönborn, 60 years old, archbishop of Vienna, one of the authors of the "Catechism of the Catholic Church". A Dominican, he was much appreciated by John Paul II. He is an artisan of the  rapprochement with the Eastern churches, a convinced European, he is open to ecumenical dialog. He speaks fluently several languages.


Vaticanists established probabilities for such or such a cardinal to be elected pope according to certain criteria absolutely foreign to the realm of faith and morals, as for instance the fact of speaking several languages or of being in good health. According to Le Monde of April 13, "rumors are already spreading about the real or imaginary illnesses of such ‘candidate’… (Thus) the Roman circles hostile to Cardinal Ratzinger recall that at the beginning of the 80’s he had a cerebral accident, and made a fall during a visit in Bressanone (Northern Italy)".

As to foreign languages, after John Paul II one cannot imagine a pope who is not a polyglot. This is not in favor of Cardinal Tettamanzi who speaks only Italian. On the other hand, Cardinal Scola speaks five foreign languages and Cardinal Maradiaga speaks Spanish, French, English and Italian. We must bear in mind that Cardinal Sarto, the future pope Saint Pius X, was told he could not be pope since he did not speak French…