At heart, most Catholics are Protestants, and even in Poland religion has become less important: Does the Vatican still stand a chance in Europe?
Until the 15th century, the Catholic Church practically existed only in Europe. So how to measure today’s faith in the most secularized of all continents, the problem child of the resigning Pope? (To take an extreme example: In an international survey in 2012, almost 60 percent East Germans stated, to have never believed in God, in the U.S. only four percent.)
According to the statistical yearbook of the Vatican, Europe is currently home to nearly a quarter of all Catholics in the world, and its share on the total European population has changed only slightly in recent decades. But what is a “Catholic”?
According to the Statistical Yearbook of the Vatican, Europe is currently home to nearly a quarter of all Catholics in the world, and its share on the total European population has only changed slightly in recent decades. But how to define a “Catholic”?
Baptized equals Catholic?
In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, there is the so-called Church-tax, i.e. a federally registered membership, including the option to leave the Church. Which is reflected in the declining number of members (of which by the way, Protestants are affected equally or even more, despite missing celibacy and woman priests).
Traditionally, British bookmakers offer bets on who will be the new Pope. While the largest British boomaker William Hill sees Cardinal Secretary of State Tarciso Bertone (Italy) in a lead with a quote of 9/4, Irish bookie Paddypower has Curial Cardinal Peter Turkson (Ghana) ahead with 2/1. However, quotes change daily if not hourly!
UPDATE: William Hill is no longer offering bets on the new Pope!
With the General Congregations on the way, there is about 10 Cardinals that can be called most “papabile”. Candidates from Africa have good chances, but also churchmen from the Americas can hope. Or will it be yet again an Italian?
These are some of the favored candidades by British bookmakers:
Archbishop Angelo Scola, 71, Italy
Milan’s Archbishop Angelo Scola got entrusted with the management of the populous archdiocese by Benedict XVI. in 2011. He was a close friend of John Paul II, and after his death a contender for the Pope’s successor. The 71-year-old commented vaguely on Benedict’s resignation: “It will be, as he himself has said, for the good of the Church.” “It’s a decision that fills our soul with pain and regret.”, said the Archbishop.
As the Roman “Fatto Quotidiano” reported, Angelo Scola was one of Joseph Ratzinger’s students in Freiburg (Germany) and later in Milan taught no less than Silvio Berlusconi, as well as his political companion now convicted of mafia links Marcello dell’ Utri. His friendship with the founder of the world wide active, in Italy very influential Catholic movement “Communione e Liberazione” (“Community and Liberation”), Don Giussani, has caused concerne within the Church. “Communion and Liberation” is close to Berlusconi’s PdL party and is suspected of bribe payments in connection with the Vatileaks affair. Last year, Scola distanced himself from the movement.
The Vatican Philatelic and Numismatic Office has announced that stamps will be issued after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI., during the time were there is no Pope. The series with the note “Sede vacante 2013” will include four stamps with an identical motif and be valid only until the inauguration of the new Pope.
The stamps with a value of 70 cents for Italy, 85 cents for Europe and the Mediterranean, two euros for Africa, Asia and the United States and 2.5 euros for Australia will be issued at the Vatican post offices and in the Vatican pilgrimage Office in St. Peter’s square. A high collector’s value is expected. Continue reading →