When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Enjoy unlimited access to quality journalism.

Limited time offer

Get your 30-day free trial!
CLARIN

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.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Ideas

How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

American and Southwest Airlines have been refusing to allow Cubans on board flights if they've been blacklisted by the government in Havana.

How U.S. Airlines Are Doing Cuba's Dirty Work On American Soil

Boarding a plane in Camaguey, Cuba

Santiago Villa

On Sunday, American Airlines refused to let Cuban writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez board a Miami flight bound for Havana. It was at least the third time this year that a U.S. airline refused to let Cubans on board to return to their homeland after Havana circulated a government "blacklist" of critics of the regime. Clearly undemocratic and possibly illegal under U.S. law, the airlines want to make sure to cash in on a lucrative travel route, writes Colombian journalist Santiago Villa:

-OpEd-

Imagine for a moment that you left your home country years ago because you couldn't properly pursue your chosen career there. It wasn't easy, of course: Your profession is not just singularly demanding, but even at the top of the game you might not be assured a stable or sufficient income, and you've had to take on second jobs, working in bars and restaurants.

This chosen vocation is that of a writer or journalist, or perhaps an artist, which has kept you tied to your homeland, often the subject of your work, even if you don't live there anymore.

Since leaving, you've been back home several times, though not so much for work. Because if you did, you would be followed in cars and receive phone calls to let you know you are being watched.

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest