Speculations about “Latino”-Pope

Cardinals from Latin America have in different ways expressed their preferences for a “Latino”-Pope. The Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer is considered the Latin American favorite.

According to the Peruvian Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, the political and geographical background of the candidates will  not tip the scales in the upcoming Papal Election. At the Conclave, these criteria will remain sidelined, said the Archbishop of Lima on Wednesday  in the Peruvian capital. The Cardinals would be guided  in their decision only by the personal attributes of candidates. Since the announced resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, there is also speculations whether Latin Americans or Africans could be his successor.

Even the choice of a non-Cardinal Cipriani considers to be possible: “That would be unusual, but the resignation of the Pope was unusual too. It cannot be ruled out.” When asked whether he himself would be on hand, the Archbishop said: “No. This is too hard and also a special preparation is necessary to do so.” Many persons were better prepared than he is. Cipriani is the only representative of the Peruvian Church in the forthcoming Conclave.

However, if Venezuelan Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino had to decide, then the successor of Benedict XVI. would come from Central or South America. “Hopefully this time we can bring this joy to Latin America, but we leave it to God, who will lead the hearts and minds of the Cardinals to decide,” the 70-year-old archbishop of Caracas, saidon Wednesday in his episcopal city.

The Mexican Cardinal Jose Francisco Robles Ortega (63) calls for “a more open and globalized vision” of the Catholic Church by the future Pope. Topics such as the rejection to same-sex marriage, abortion, and women in the priesthood are however “non-negotiable”,  the Archbishop of Guadalajara, said at a press conference on Wednesday.

But the Chairman of the Mexican Episcopal Conference, who is participating in a Conclave the first time, does not see chances for a Mexican Pope. I see “no Pope from Mexico,” says Robles. Three Mexican Cardinals will be participating in the Conclave: Besides Ortega also Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera (70) from Mexico City and Juan Sandoval Iniguez (79), the Emeritus Archbishop of Guadalajara.

Scherer most likely

The Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer applies (63) is the most promising asset from a Latin American perspective. The Archbishop of Sao Paulo is traded in the Latin American media from Mexico City to Santiago de Chile liked the area. The family of the graduate theologist descended from German immigrants. He is a nephew of the former Archbishop of Porto Alegre, Cardinal Alfredo Vicente Scherer.

Odilo Scherer was succeeded by Cardinal Claudio Hummes, who in 2005 was one of the promising candidates in the conclave in 2007. Scherer is include to the conservative wing of the Brazilian church. He is well connected and has strong backing in the Vatican. From a European perspective, he is considered a moderate liberal. A Pope from Brazil, would have a special charm during the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.  In July there will also take place the World Youth Day.

“Putsch-Cardinal” and Benedict confidante

Continental competition arises Scherer from Argentina and Honduras. The Argentine Cardinal Leonardo Sandri (69) gained international fame, as he announced the death of Pope John Paul II on April 2, 2005. He is said to be a close confidante of Benedict XVI and his predecessor. Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga (70) had been traded already at the papal elections in 2005 as a possible successor to John Paul II..

The attitude of the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa during the 2009 coup d ‘ état in Honduras, won Rodriguez the nickname “Coup-Cardinal” in left-wing circles in Latin America. He accused the in 2009 brought down President Manuel Zelaya as well as his successors in the office of corruption.

Church critic Barranco chanceless

Joao Braz de Aviz (65), Jorge Bergoglio (77) and Ruben Salazar Gomes (70) are considered underdogs. Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation of the order, and former Archbishop of Brasília is rumored to have an affinity to the Liberation Theology, which has won him a lot of sympathy in Latin America. The Jesuit Bergoglio of Buenos Aires is said to have only made possible the election of Benedict XVI in the 2005 Conclave through his drawback. But his unresolved role during the military dictatorship in Argentina, is considered too great a burden. The Colombian Salazar is the desired candidate of the Andean region. The Archbishop of Bogota, however, has been a Cardinal only for a few months.

For the Mexican churches critic and book author Bernardo Barranco, chances are equal to zero on a Pope from Latin America: “They have no charisma, do not have the necessary cultural background”, he  delivers a damning indictment to the Latin American Cardinals.