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A Pope From Across The World? The Time Is Now

Most say the cardinals must shake up the Church. That gives better chances to electing a cardinal from South America... or North America.

A changing Church? From the archives the Second Vatican Council
A changing Church? From the archives the Second Vatican Council
Julio Algañaraz

VATICAN CITY - No, the conclave will not be long. Many cardinals have said so in private. Such confidence in the timing makes us think that they are quickly advancing towards an agreement regarding the profile, and even the name, of the next pope. Up until now, most were predicting a wide-open assembly of 115 voting cardinals, with no clear favorite, which would tend to lead to a protracted conclave. But now a different hypothesis seems to dominate.

“The Church needs to be shaken up because it is going through a real crisis,” one well-connected priest told Clarín. Though this source sides with the more progressive wing of the hierarchy, he agrees with others that whoever is chosen will again be a clear doctrinal traditionalist.

What is different this time is that many believe that for the first time the pope will be chosen "from the other side of the world,” as one source put it. That is: not from Europe, but from the American continent.

Two of the favorites from the Western hemisphere are Brazil's Odilo Scherer, 63, and Canada's Marc Ouellet, 68. Both fit the profile -- that many cardinals are eyeing -- of younger and conservative in doctrine, but open about social issues.

On a mission

But bishops have also noted the importance of a strong missionary and evangelizing spirit, which both men have had to show back home. In Scherer's Brazil, a country of 200 million inhabitants, 123 million of which are baptized, the percentage of Catholics is falling in the face of growing evangelical Protestant movements.

Ouellet, who heads the Congregation of Bishops, is a French-Canadian from Quebec, the most liberal province in Canada; he also served 11 years in Colombia, as a member of the order of San Sulpicio, and as president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. That could win him support from Latin America's 19 voting cardinals, particularly from colleagues he knows well in Mexico, Colombia and Central America. He also could garner support from some of the 14 North American cardinals.

Apart from the two Americans candidates, there are some other favorites such as the archbishop from Milan, 71-year-old Cardinal Angelo Scola, another conservative disciple of Benedict XVI from the days he was known as Joseph Ratzinger. The Italian block of 28 voting cardinals heading into the conclave continues to be by far the largest of any single nation. Among the Italians there is much talk around Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, who heads the Vatican"s culture office, but lacks pastoral experience in the diocese.

Other Europeans considered potential dark horses include Vienna's Christoph Schönborn and Budapest's Peter Erdo. But more and more, with the last two popes being non-Italian Europeans, it looks like the successor of Peter may indeed finally come... from the other side of the world.

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How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

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Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

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