Electing a pope: The top candidates
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Who Will Be the Next Pope?
These candidates have possibilties

By John L. Allen Jr.
Rome

Prognostication is a notoriously hazardous business, and the trash heaps of church history are littered with the carcasses of journalists who have tried to predict the next pope. Almost no one, for example, correctly anticipated that the archbishop of Kraków, Karol Wojtyla, would emerge from the second conclave of 1978 as Pope John Paul II.

In that spirit, the intent here is not to "predict" who will become the next pope, which is a futile exercise. Instead, the aim is to identify cardinals whose backgrounds, accomplishments, and personalities guarantee they will at least get a serious look as possible papal material. Doing so will illustrate the criteria cardinals typically employ in trying to size up who among their peers might be able to step into the "Shoes of the Fisherman."

Will the next pope be one of these men? Perhaps. But all are certainly under consideration, and that by itself makes them worth a look.

Ennio Antonelli, 68, Italy
The archbishop of Florence, Antonelli might be the ideal candidate for people attracted to the memory of John Paul I: a smiling, humble, pastoral Italian completely extraneous to the world of Vatican power and intrigue. Antontelli was the bishop of Gubbio, in Umbria, and then the archbishop of Perugia before becoming secretary of the Italian bishops' conference in 1995. He is a patron of the arts and was the driving force behind a well-received adult catechism. He has a reputation for terrific relations with his people, and lukewarm relations with the Roman curia. He is generally seen as a moderate, with a strong interest in social justice and peace issues. His lack of interest in cracking heads over doctrinal issues became clear during Italian political campaigns in the 1990s, when some people wanted church leaders to condemn Catholic politicians who are divorced. Antonelli took the view that personal morality belongs to the private sphere, and that in terms of politics, the church should be more concerned with a politician's voting record.

Francis Arinze, 72, Nigeria
Top Candidates
(alphabetical order)
Ennio Antonelli, Italy
Francis Arinze, Nigeria
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Argentina
Dario Castrillón Hoyos, Colombia
Godfried Danneels, Belgium
Julius Darmaatmadja, Indonesia
Ivan Dias, India
Claudio Hummes, Brazil
Lubomyr Husar, Ukraine
Walter Kasper, Germany
Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, Dominican Republic
Wilfrid Fox Napier, South Africa
Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, Cuba
Marc Ouellet, Canada
Giovanni Battista Re, Italy
Norberto Rivera Carrera, Mexico
Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, Honduras
Christoph Schönborn, Austria
Angelo Scola, Italy
Dionigi Tettamanzi, Italy

Charming and witty with a self-deprecating sense of humor, Arinze has long been considered the leading African papabile. He was made a bishop at just 33. He grew up a member of the Ibo tribe in Nigeria and converted to Catholicism at age 9. In 1984 John Paul II appointed him head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, where he earned a reputation as one of the Catholic church's primary interlocutors with Islam. In 2002, he became the head of the Congregation for Divine Worship, giving him lead responsibility for liturgical practice. While he earned high marks for diligence and openness in both positions, he did not carve out a reputation as an original thinker. On matters of faith and morals, Arinze is quite conservative.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 68, Argentina
Bergoglio, a Jesuit, was a trained chemist before deciding to become a priest. He is seen as an accomplished intellectual, having studied theology in Germany. His leading role during the Argentinean economic crisis in 2002 has burnished his reputation as a voice of conscience, and has also made him a potent symbol of the costs globalization can impose on the Third World. Within the Jesuits, Bergoglio's reputation is mixed. He was appointed provincial in Buenos Aires in 1973, and at a time when many Latin American Jesuits were moving into the social apostolate, he insisted on a more traditional, spiritual approach. Bergoglio is today close to the Comunione e Liberazione movement. He comes across as traditional theologically, but open and compassionate.

Dario Castrillón Hoyos, 75, Colombia
Currently head of the Vatican office for clergy, Castrillón Hoyos served as secretary general of CELAM, the Latin American bishops' conference, from 1983 to 1991, giving him a wide network of contacts across the continent. As a pastor in Colombia, Castrillón Hoyos earned high marks for defense of the poor, including his willingness to challenge the country's notorious drug barons. He is traditional doctrinally. He was a fierce opponent of liberation theology, an effort among progressive Latin American Catholics to place the church on the side of progressive social movements. Castrillón has been elegized by one of the 20th century's foremost novelists, Colombian Gabriel García Márquez, who described him as "this rustic man with the profile of an eagle." Castrillón alienated some Americans during the sexual abuse crisis of 2002. It fell to him to present the pope's first public statement on the crisis during a March news conference, and he came off as defensive and combative, broadly hinting that the situation was an "American problem."

Godfried Danneels, 71, Belgium
A former professor of liturgy at the Catholic University of Louvain, Danneels has a reputation as both an intellectual and a pastor. In 1999, he turned the pessimistic tide that had dominated the early going at the Synod on Europe by insisting there is much of value in contemporary Western culture. At a special consistory in 2001, Danneels said bluntly that the church must become more collegial. He also ran the best-organized media operation, holding a series of news conferences for different language groups at the Belgian College. He is open to appointing women to run curial agencies. Yet Danneels is no radical. In early 2000, he did not hesitate to suspend Fr. Rudi Borremans, a Belgian priest who announced he was homosexual and then concelebrated a Mass in violation of Danneels' orders. One question mark about Danneels is his health - in late 1997, he had a serious heart attack.

Julius Darmaatmadja, 70, Indonesia
Another Jesuit, Darmaatmadja enjoys a reputation as a humble, spiritual man. He served as Jesuit provincial of Indonesia before being named a bishop, and since has become the president of the Indonesia bishops' conference. As the primary spokesperson for the Catholic church in the world's largest Muslim nation, Darmaatmadja is a key point of reference for the global Christian-Muslim dialogue. He has rejected the identification of Islam with terrorism, called upon Christians to forgive Islamic radicals behind church bombings in 2000, and was an outspoken critic of the U.S.-led war in Iraq. For these reasons, he has wide credibility in the Islamic community. While Darmaatmadja enjoys respect for sincerity, integrity, and pastoral instinct, some question whether he has the charisma and force of personality necessary to play on the world stage in the way popes are called upon to do.

Ivan Dias, 69, India
Top Candidates
(alphabetical order)
Ennio Antonelli, Italy
Francis Arinze, Nigeria
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Argentina
Dario Castrillón Hoyos, Colombia
Godfried Danneels, Belgium
Julius Darmaatmadja, Indonesia
Ivan Dias, India
Claudio Hummes, Brazil
Lubomyr Husar, Ukraine
Walter Kasper, Germany
Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, Dominican Republic
Wilfrid Fox Napier, South Africa
Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, Cuba
Marc Ouellet, Canada
Giovanni Battista Re, Italy
Norberto Rivera Carrera, Mexico
Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, Honduras
Christoph Schönborn, Austria
Angelo Scola, Italy
Dionigi Tettamanzi, Italy

A creature of the Vatican's diplomatic service, Dias served from 1965 to 1973 as the secretary of nunciatures in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Indonesia, Madagascar, La Reunion Island, Comore Island and Mauritius. Then he worked in Rome in the Secretariat of State until 1982, when he became pro-nuncio in Ghana, Togo and Benin. In 1987 he became nuncio in Korea, and then in 1991 nuncio in Albania. In 1997, he was made archbishop of Bombay. He is multilingual, polished in public, and has a keen mind for both theological debate and political analysis. Dias is traditional and conservative in outlook, which separates him from the mainstream of the Indian episcopacy and theological community, known for its embrace of religious pluralism and a progressive stance on social questions.

Claudio Hummes, 70, Brazil
Hummes is a member of the Franciscan order, like the legendary Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns whom he replaced in São Paolo. Like Arns, Hummes was born in southern Brazil of German parents. As a young bishop, he had a reputation as a progressive, opposing Brazil's military regime and backing workers' strikes. Hummes also allowed famous Brazilian leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to make political speeches during Masses. Under John Paul II, Hummes moved to the right, adopting a more traditional theological stance and distancing himself from political action. In July 2000, when a Brazilian priest suggested that condoms could be justified to fight AIDS, Hummes threatened disciplinary action. Yet he defends the Movimento dos Sem Terra (landless movement), arguing that people should be encouraged to organize themselves to defend their rights. He reminds government leaders that the church defends private property, but "with social responsibility." Hummes thus could strike electors as the right mix of doctrinal caution and social engagement.

Lubomyr Husar, 72, Ukraine
Husar was born in Ukraine in 1933, and fled with his parents to the United States in 1944. He was secretly consecrated a bishop in April 1977 in Castelgandolfo by Cardinal Josyf Slipy, his predecessor as head of the Ukranian Greek Catholic church, but the act was not recognized by Paul VI's Vatican, anxious not to upset the Russian Orthodox church or the Soviets. In 2001, Husar was elected archbishop of the 6 million Ukranian Greek Catholics. He is a moderate, easily the most articulate and theologically engaged of the Eastern Catholic prelates. He is amiable and humble, and speaks English and Italian with ease. He holds a U.S. passport, though most electors might exempt him from the taboo against a "superpower pope" since he is actually Ukrainian. It would be difficult for many electors to choose another Eastern European after Wojtyla. Yet there is much in Husar's background they might find attractive: As an Eastern patriarch he feels in his bones the argument for the independence of local churches; he is pastorally gifted and politically sophisticated; and he is a warm, smiling, slightly chubby prelate who could remind the world of John XXIII. Husar performed brilliantly during John Paul's June 23-27, 2001, trip to Ukraine, and that opportunity to introduce himself to the world's media did not hurt.

Walter Kasper, 72, Germany
Born in Germany in 1933, Kasper studied at Tübingen, the "big leagues" of the European theological universe. In 1983 he taught as a visiting professor at the Catholic University of America in Washington. He is a gifted theologian, with a moderate outlook. In 1993, as a diocesan bishop in Rottenburg-Stuttgart, he joined then-Bishop Karl Lehmann of Mainz and another German prelate in issuing a pastoral letter encouraging divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to return to the sacraments. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger rejected the letter. Kasper served on the official Catholic-Lutheran dialogue since 1994, and in 1999 he came to Rome to take over as secretary of the ecumenical affairs office. There he continued to joust with Ratzinger, publicly criticizing a document in which Ratzinger reasserted the superiority of Catholicism over other religions and Christian churches. He has also repeatedly voiced a desire for decentralization and reform of the curia.

Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, 68, Dominican Republic
López Rodríguez organized a meeting of the Latin American bishops held in Santo Domingo in 1992, which was a showcase for his very traditional views, described as "temporalist and pyramidal" by veteran Vatican observer Giancarlo Zizola. Yet López Rodríguez has been willing to confront government and military officials on behalf of his people. In 1998, when a hurricane struck the Dominican Republic, he went public with charges that the army was siphoning off portions of donated relief supplies. In another combination of social vision and doctrinal conservatism, López Rodríguez proposed a global Marshall Plan with aid flowing from north to south at the 1997 Synod on America, but condemned efforts to force Latin Americans into contraception, sterilization and abortion in return for economic aid. He has integralist leanings; he has insisted that the parliament in the Dominican Republic approve a law instituting the Catholic feast of the Annunciation, March 25, as a national holiday.

Wilfrid Fox Napier, 64, South Africa
Top Candidates
(alphabetical order)
Ennio Antonelli, Italy
Francis Arinze, Nigeria
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Argentina
Dario Castrillón Hoyos, Colombia
Godfried Danneels, Belgium
Julius Darmaatmadja, Indonesia
Ivan Dias, India
Claudio Hummes, Brazil
Lubomyr Husar, Ukraine
Walter Kasper, Germany
Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, Dominican Republic
Wilfrid Fox Napier, South Africa
Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, Cuba
Marc Ouellet, Canada
Giovanni Battista Re, Italy
Norberto Rivera Carrera, Mexico
Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, Honduras
Christoph Schönborn, Austria
Angelo Scola, Italy
Dionigi Tettamanzi, Italy

A black South African, Napier would symbolize the church's transition to the Third World. He is well trained theologically, having studied at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. His humble Franciscan spirituality is appealing, as is his advocacy of social justice. He grew up on a South African farm with seven brothers and sisters under the country's apartheid regime. In 1988, Napier opposed a papal visit to South Africa on the grounds that it would legitimize the white-dominated government. "Some 80 percent of the 2 million Catholics in South Africa have black skin," he said, "and they suffer terrible repression by the very security forces that, during an eventual visit, would have to escort the pope." Local observers note, however, that Napier was not among the vanguard of the anti-apartheid movement. Inside the church, Napier has spoken strongly on collegiality. At the extraordinary consistory in May 2001, he criticized a Vatican attempt to re-take control of liturgical decisions from local bishops. Yet he is also seen as safe on doctrinal questions, and has been a vigorous opponent of abortion.

Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, 68, Cuba
Ortega, the archbishop of Havana since 1981, has earned respect for his cautious defiance of Cuba's communist regime. He is seen as a deft conciliator between the notoriously divided Cuban exile community and Cubans who stayed behind after the communist revolution. He spent 1967 in one of Castro's labor camps during a period of national history Cuban Catholics call "the silencing of God." On most church questions he hews very closely to the Vatican line; he has said that he feels "very close to the pontificate of John Paul II." Like John Paul, Ortega y Alamino has urged his nation not to construct a post-communist future on the basis of hyper-capitalist principles. In 1998, he warned of the insidious influence in Cuba of a "species of American subculture that invades everything: It is a fashion, a conception of life."

Marc Ouellet, 60, Canada
As archbishop of Quebec City, Ouellet represents Francophone Canada. The former secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Ouellet is well regarded in Rome and across much of the international Catholic hierarchy. He is associated with the Communio school, a theological journal founded by moderate-to-conservatives disappointed with some of the excesses that followed the Second Vatican Council, and is a devotee of Swiss Catholic theologican Hans Urs von Balthasar, a darling of the Catholic right. In some ways he is a traditionalist, and has advocated a return to Eucharistic adoration and Gregorian chant, suggesting that Quebec's 1960s "Quiet Revolution" marked too radical a change. Yet people who have worked with Ouellet describe him as friendly, humble and flexible, and a man not so captive to his own intellectual system as to make him incapable of listening to others. He is fluent in English, French, Italian and German.

Giovanni Battista Re, 71, Italy
Re served for 11 years as sostituto, the official in the Secretariat of State responsible for the day-to-day management of church affairs. The job has often been a springboard to higher office; Giovanni Battista Montini, for example, was the sostituto under Pius XII before becoming Paul VI. Re has not shrunk from the role of curial enforcer. When an Italian priest took part in a pro-gay rally in Rome in July 2000, Re phoned his bishop to demand disciplinary action. He also refused permission for Bishop M.P.M. Muskens of Holland to hold a diocesan synod, fearing that the liberal prelate might let things get out of hand. Yet Re is generally considered a moderate, and has given signals of support for decentralization. When Scotland's late Cardinal Thomas Winning needed support in 2001 for an appeal against the Congregation for Worship and its attempts to take control away from bishops' conferences on liturgical issues, he got a sympathetic ear from Re. He is a legendary hard worker, often returning calls from his office late on Sunday nights, and has an encyclopedic grasp of the inner workings of the Vatican. If the cardinals are looking for an "insider" who could reform the curia, Re could be their man.

Norberto Rivera Carrera, 62, Mexico
Like many other Latin American churchmen, Rivera Carrera is a strong advocate of social justice. His criticism of globalization and political corruption so annoyed Mexico's Salinas government that it threatened to adopt a law forbidding priests from commenting on politics. Rivera Carerra is strong willed and knows how to handle himself in a fight. For example, he won a 1996 showdown with a famous abbot who ran the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who had publicly questioned the historical truth of Mary's appearance to Juan Diego. Although the abbot had been appointed for life by John XXIII, Rivera Carrera succeeded in forcing him to resign. The cardinal is a conservative on virtually all church matters. In 1990, as bishop of Tehuac, he closed a seminary that he charged was teaching "Marxist" theology. He is also close to the Legionaries of Christ, one of the new right-wing movements in the life of the church that sprung up after the Second Vatican Council.

Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, 62, Honduras
Top Candidates
(alphabetical order)
Ennio Antonelli, Italy
Francis Arinze, Nigeria
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Argentina
Dario Castrillón Hoyos, Colombia
Godfried Danneels, Belgium
Julius Darmaatmadja, Indonesia
Ivan Dias, India
Claudio Hummes, Brazil
Lubomyr Husar, Ukraine
Walter Kasper, Germany
Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, Dominican Republic
Wilfrid Fox Napier, South Africa
Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, Cuba
Marc Ouellet, Canada
Giovanni Battista Re, Italy
Norberto Rivera Carrera, Mexico
Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, Honduras
Christoph Schönborn, Austria
Angelo Scola, Italy
Dionigi Tettamanzi, Italy

Rodríguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, is widely seen as a rising star in the Latin American church. He served as president of CELAM, the federation of Latin American bishops' conferences, until 1999. A Salesian, he speaks near-perfect Italian and English (along with passable French, Portuguese, German, Latin and Greek), plays the piano, and has taken pilot training. He is ferocious on social justice issues. He was part of a small group that met German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in Cologne to hand over the Jubilee 2000 petition for debt relief. "Neoliberal capitalism carries injustice and inequality in its genetic code," he said in 1995. However some say his rhetoric is not matched by a command of policy details. His theological training came in the post-Vatican II period. He studied at the Alfonsian Academy in Rome where he took classes from the legendary liberal moral theologian Bernard Häring, whom Rodriguez calls an "idol." He has a reputation for being unusually open on ecumenical questions for a Latin American bishop, many of whom have little experience in religiously pluralistic settings. Rodriguez has a warm smile and a ready sense of humor.

Christoph Schönborn, 60, Austria
Schönborn enjoyed a brief period after his appointment as cardinal of Vienna in 1998 when he appeared on every list of papabili. A Dominican, he studied theology under Joseph Ratzinger in Regensburg, Germany, in the 1970s, and later taught at the prestigious Swiss University of Friborg. He served as general editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Schönborn comes from an aristocratic background - some 19 members of his family have over the centuries been archbishops, bishops or priests. As cardinal, he won high marks in his first few months in Austria, where the church had been rocked by a sexual misconduct scandal involving his predecessor. As time went on, however, Schönborn committed a series of administrative missteps. These gaffes, combined with Schönborn's youth and his reputation as rigid in his theological views, tarnished his reputation, though he remains popular abroad.

Angelo Scola, 63, Italy
The patriarch of Venice, Scola is the first adherent of the Comunione e Liberazione movement to become a cardinal. Scola did his theological work at the prestigious University of Fribourg in Switzerland, and is a disciple of the Vatican II penitenti - men who were part of the reform-minded majority at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), but who later developed reservations. Scola was influenced in this regard by Henri de Lubac and Hans urs von Balthasar. He has published book-length interviews with both men. From 1986 to 1991, Scola was a consultor for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. His field is theological anthropology, and in 1982 he was appointed to the faculty at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, created to defend the pope's hard line on issues such as divorce, artificial contraception, cloning, homosexuality and abortion. Scola's views are unyielding, but he is no fanatic. Theologians in Rome found him to be open, flexible, and capable of transcending ideology to form his own judgments. On a personal level, he is gracious and approachable. Venice produced three 20th-century popes - Pius X, John XXIII and John Paul I - so, many eyes will be on Scola in the conclave.

Dionigi Tettamanzi, 71, Italy
The cardinal of Genoa, Tettamanzi has a roly-poly, affable bearing reminiscent of John XXIII. He is moderate-to-conservative on theological issues. A moral theologian, he is rumored to have worked on John Paul's encyclical Evangelium Vitae. He is close to the conservative Catholic organization Opus Dei. In 1998, on the group's 70th anniversary, Tettamanzi published an article praising founder José Maria Escrivá de Balaguer as comparable to Ss. Benedict and Francis of Assisi in terms of launching new movements within the church. Tettamanzi burnished his credentials with traditionalists by writing letters in support of indulgences and church teaching on the Devil. At the same time, he added luster to his standing with social justice activists by his performance during the G-8 Summit in Genoa in July 2001. He embraced much of the anti-globalization protest, delivering a rousing address at a meeting of thousands of young Catholics in which he insisted that "a single African child sick with AIDS counts more than the entire universe." Tettamanzi is perhaps the only papabile to have corporate sponsorship: in 2000, Microsoft put out his new volume on bioethics online and on CD.

 
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