After a very warmly audience with the clergy of the Pope’s Diocese of Rome who madly cheered him, Pope Benedict XVI will join all Vatican officials in the Lent retreat for their spiritual exercices which will last half a week. then he will fly to his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo where he will stay until the end of the conclave which will meet to elect his successor.
This will also give a chance to the Vatican administration to clean up the pontifical appartments and get them ready for the new Pope who is expected to be elected by Palm Sunday (23.03.2013). The conclave is indeed likely to last some days. French Cardinal Barbarin, the Primate of Lyon, alluded to this likelihood when he pointed out on TV that there are only 118 electors to determine the best person among the many excellent candidates who are springing out. Okay, let’s wait and see the final outcome of this very tight race!
Of course after the new Pope has been elected Benedict XVI will settle within the Vatican City State in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery and lead there a quasi-monastic life of prayer and recollection. He will only get in contact with his successor just on request. His will be a life strongly axed on spiritual enrichment and good moral example. As a tired old man, he won’t be a burden to the new Pope.
All cardinals from all over the world are expected soon in Rome. They will all reside in the large spacious St Martha’s Residence, built by Pope John Paul II to specially cater for conclave matters. It is from there that the voting cardinals will be driven in special service buses to the Sixtine Chapel for the two voting sessions one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Each session will have two polls, in all four polls per day until a winner emerges with two-thirds of the vote plus one extra vote. If voting goes on for days and days without producing a winner, then the cardinals will just simply surface a winner with a mere simple majority. The exercice will be extra secretive. The non voting cardinals won’t know anything going on in the conclave. They will just discover the name of the winner when it will be announced to the crowds assembled in St Peter’s Square.
More about the possible successors. A French newspapers, France Ouest, has reported that there is now a lot of clamour for an African Pope! This is no longer a surprise in opinion since even Cardinal Ratzinger before he became Pope had hinted on this possibility! And at present the African Church is considered the real first power, within Catholicism, in dynamism, vocations, and heroism in trying to exist as a real force within a multitude of difficulties! To thank the courageous African clergy, the humble faithful and the untiring missionaries, it is felt an election of a black Pope will be commendable! And that this warmth was now needed in other regions where the Church appears weak.
Now the curent lineup of the papabili stands as follows:
1- Europe :
Cardinal Angelo Scola (71) of Milan (Italy), a very intelligent theologian, able administrator, proponent of the Christian-
Islamic dialogue, and a very close friend of Pope Benedict XVI, and probably the Pope’s bet.
2- The Americas
a- Cardinal Marc Quellet. (69) of Canada, the actual President of the Congregation for Bishops. Efficient and polyglot.
b- Honduras’s Cardinal Oscar Rodrigues Maradiaga ( 70 ), President of the charitable Caritas Internationalis. He has been bishop for 36 years. Very popular in Latin America because of his effort for social justice, human rights, etc
Philippine Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle (55), brilliant, dynamic and popular with the youth and a media expert. Extremely very popular all over Asia.
a- Cardinal Turkson (69), a Ghanaian head of the justice and Peace Commision at the Vatican. He is the most popularly mentioned prelate in the press. He’s close to Benedict XVI’s theological thinking. he is a very fluent literate polyglot.
And he is in favour of reforming the global financial world in order to benefit every individual being. And he is admired
for efficiency and very warmly ways.
b- Nigerian John Olurunfemi Onaiyekan ( 69), a very brilliant churchman, polyglot, and champion of Nigeria’s effort to
promote co-operation between Christians and Moslems. An academic legend whose seminary academic records still
stand unbeaten, almost 40 years after he left seminary!!!. He has worked on many commissions in the Vatican. And he
was once head of the famous All Africa and Malagasy Episcopal conference.
c- Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze (80) who can be elected in spite of age. He has a lot of experience in Church matters
and he’s known to be a person who is very frank and open. And he has the quality of proposing the right people for a
given responsibility. He’s in addition loved for his very good humour.
There are many other African cardinals who have once been cited. Most are prelates elevated by Pope Benedict XVI who always loved promoting to key positions those African clerics who were wonderful in their countries.One of these is DRC’s Cardinal Laurent Pasinya Monsengwo (74), a quasi genius prelate very popularly loved all over Congo and in many parts of Africa, and very popular too in Italy and Belgium!
Whoever will be elected will be elected will receive massive world support!
Dr G.H. Kkolokolo ( Paris / France)