As spiritual leader of the largest Catholic city in the world, Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer has an important position, that makes the Latin American one of the favorites for the Papal Office.
The Cardinal of the largest Catholic city in the world, is traded not only in Latin American media, but also in the Italian “Repubblica” as “Papabile”: The name Odilo Pedro Scherer (63), since 2007 Archbishop of Sao Paulo, is found in all favorites lists as potential top candidate of the Conclave.
The eloquent Cardinal from Brazil is regarded as very well networked and has strong backing in the Vatican. He belongs to the conservative wing of the Brazilian Church, but from a European perspective, he could probably pass as a moderate conservative.
Odilo Pedro Scherer was born on September 21, 1949, in the State of Rio Grande do Sul as one of eleven children. His ancestors migrated in the 1880s from the Saarland (Germany) to Brazil. The dignity of being a Cardinal was virtually predestined: His uncle Alfredo Vicente, who died in 1996, was the Archbishop of Porto Alegre and also Cardinal.
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi is President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and considered an intellectual like Benedict XVI. The 70 year-old Bible expert has also a reputation as an expert on media and youth culture.
Ravasi has published vast numbers of books on Bible topics and writes for Italian newspapers. Since 2007, the internationally renowned Biblical scholar heads the Pontifical Council of culture. Through his Office and also with his initiative “Court of the Gentiles” he tries to push the conversation between Church and contemporary art, culture and, in the tradition of Cardinal Konig – Agnostics and Atheists. However, he lacks the pastoral experience. This résumé might limit his chances, in case the voting Cardinals should decide they want an experienced priest as new Pope, and not again a Professor.
Ravasi was born in 1942 in the Lombardy. He was ordained a priest in 1966. The appointment as an Archbishop was connected with his appointment as the President of the Culture Council, and became Cardinal in November 2010. Prior to his appointment at the Vatican, Ravasi was prefect of the Milan Ambrosiana library. Benedict XVI. entrusted him with the management of the two Pontifical Commissions for the cultural assets and the Christian archeology.
He was regarded a low profile pastor, but as chairman of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Bagnasco developed a pro-active role as strict preserver of the “non-negotiable values”.
The family, based on the marriage solely between a man and a woman. is part of these “non-negotiable” principles. It is strange, when the way towards a developed Europe requires the denial of human values, said Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, in January 2013.
With his attitudes, the 70-year-old Cardinal attracted a lot of attention in recent years, while Vatican experts assume, that he only was appointed chairman of the powerful Italian Bishops’ Conference in March 2007, due to his lack of profile. Supposedly he get roped into the power struggle between his predecessor, Cardinal Camillo Ruini and the Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone. At one level, the contest was between moderates, who wanted Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan, and conservatives, who wanted someone like Cardinal Angelo Scola (then of Venice, now in Milan) or perhaps Cardinal Carlo Caffarra of Bologna. The bottom line is that Bagnasco was thrust into the spotlight largely because he profiled as someone who wouldn’t do much with it. Over the last six years, however, something unexpected happened: He grew into the role.
New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan is a conservative with lots of humor. He could become the first American Pope. The U.S. magazine “Time” named him one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”
“I can not remember a single moment when I did not want to be a priest,” Dolan once said. The 63-year-old is the Archbishop of New York since 2009, became chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference in 2010, and was appointed Cardinal in 2012. Of all American Cardinals he is said to have the best chance of becoming the next Pope.
In the view of the Vatican, the strongly-built, down-to-earth and dynamic Bishop of Irish descent, seemed to be the right man to jump-start the religious life of the “Big Apple” with its more than 2.5 million Catholics in 2009. Because of the special status of New York as a trendsetting, media and commercial capital, John Paul II. once named the New York Archbishop as the “Bishop of the capital of the world”. Among the Bishops, Dolan is considered a moderate conservative. His humor and his enthusiasm impressed the Vatican, which often lacks both. The Cardinals are however sceptical about a Pope from a “superpower”, also for some his pally appearance might be too “American”.
As head of the Congregation of Bishops, Marc Ouellet (68) is kind of a staff manager at the Vatican. Pope to be “would be a nightmare,” Ouellet was once quoted. However, his chances are not bad at all.
Ouellet is a cosmopolitan who speaks also German, Portuguese, and Spanish in addition to French and English. Although the former Ratzinger students is well networked within the Curia, the widespread secularism in his home province of Quebec could speak against him as the new Pope.
In theological questions, he appears strict and conservative. Among other things he spoke out publicly against abortion and gay marriage. His supporters believe he would make a modest Pope and a deeply faithful defender of the Catholic identity. For his critics, as a Ratzinger student, he is to similar to Benedict XVI.
Ouellet was born in 1944, in Amos (Quebec), in a French-speaking family with eight children. He studied theology in Montreal, was ordained a priest in 1968 and became in 1972 the Sulpician Order. In Innsbruck, he continued his studies. On March 3 2001, Pope John Paul II. appointed the Canadian, Secretary of the Ecumenical Council at the Vatican. A year later he was appointed Archbishop of Quebec, and Cardinal in 2003. 2010, Ouellet became Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops and President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
Tarcisio Bertone (78) comes into the spotlight this week, as head of the “Camera Apostolica” (Apostolic Chamber). As in 2005, he is still considered “papabile”.
Bertone was Benedict XVI.’s “Head of Government” and is certainly not exempt from criticism within the Vatican. As Secretary of State, the Cardinal was kind of a right-hand of the Pope. Bertone is regarded as down-to-earth and open-minded. Since 2007 he is the Camerlengo (Cardinal Chamberlain).
Tarcisio Bertone, born on December 2, 1934, grew up with seven brothers and joined the order of the Salesians of Don Bosco at the age of 16. After his ordination in 1960, he earned his doctorate in Canon law and taught for several years at the Pontifical Salesian University as well as at the Lateran University.
He was one of the revisers of the new code of Canon law, published in 1983. In 1991 John Paul II. appointed him Archbishop of the small Piedmontese Archdiocese of Vercelli, but just four years later he moved to the Congregation of the Faith in Rome. There he was the secretary of prefect Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was appointed Archbishop of Genua in December 2002, and is a Cardinal since 2003.
Cardinal Angelo Scola from Milan presides over the largest diocese in Europe. He is regarded as a brilliant theologian and acknowledged expert on Islam.
Scola, Archbishop of Milan, and apparently spearhead of the mighty Italian faction in the Conclave, is considered to be one of the hottest candidates for the succession of Benedict XVI. In the past years and decades he has made a name for himself especially in the dialogue with Islam, but also as a brilliant conservative theologian.
Born on November 7 1941, in Malgrate (Province of Lecco – Lombardy), Scola was ordained a priest in 1970. He studied philosophy at the Catholic University in Milan and theology in Fribourg (Switzerland), and taught Theological Anthropology at the Pontifical Lateran University since 1982. In 1991, he received the episcopal consecration. Seven years, from 1995 to 2002, he headed the Lateran University and the Pontifical Institute for Marriage and Family Studies.
In 2002, Scola was appointed Patriarch of Venice, in October 2003 John Paul II. elevated him to Cardinal. Benedict XVI. finally appointed him Archbishop of Milan in 2011, with about five million Catholics, the largest Diocese in Europe.