I cannot begin to imagine the physical, spiritual and mental pressures on a Pope. CEO of 1.2 billion souls, Successor to St Peter, Consultee to the Holy Spirit, Bishop of Rome, Head of State - the mind boggles.
My simple view is that this is a likelihood within the next 5 years or so. He has shown that he is not afraid to address radical change and I do not think that he will shrink from this decision provided that he has identified and secured a suitable successor. With Benedict's ability, this should not be a problem; the only question is, to whom will he turn?
A quick scouring of the betting odds shows an interesting, if a little haphazard set of runners and odds.
|At 79 Cardinal Arinze may not be a contender|
If I was a betting man (and I'm not) I would be tempted to base a bet on three contenders who go some way to fulfilling what may prove to be a tempting criteria.
Here are my tips for the post based on the fact that I am discounting an Italian Pope as, having broken with tradition in 1978, the Cardinals may not wish to return to that track. I am also guessing that a candidate in their mid to late sixties is going to receive greater consideration and I am ruling out France, The Netherlands, Germany and Eastern Europe as being the base from which the successor may be chosen. Too much politicking from those countries maybe.
My guess is that the next Pope will be a man of the Americas or, possibly, Spain. That ticks, or so I believe, a number of boxes.
Here are my favourites in descending order:-
Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke - born 30th June 1948. Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura.Conservative well respected and in the process of fast tracking his Rome experience. American citizen.
Current odds are: 20-1
Cardinal Antonio Llovera - born 10th October 1945. Spanish. Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Has been a Cardinal for the past 5 years and has been dubbed "Little Ratzinger". Will have appeal to South American Catholics.
Current odds: 33-1
|My tip for the top - Cardinal Ouellet|
Current odds: 20-1
Do you have a view as to the Cardinal most likely to succeed Pope Benedict? If you are a betting man or woman you may be interested in Paddy Powers listing of Bono at odds of 1000-1. Aherm......I might give that a miss!