Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Likely Candidates for Pope

February 14th, 2013, Promulgated by Dr. K

While various media outlets are having fun campaigning for a pope that best suits their politics, here is a list I compiled of realistic candidates to be named as Pope Benedict XVI’s successor. The voting cardinals and Holy Spirit will have the final say, but it’s highly probable that one of these men will be our next pope. This list is sorted alphabetically and all men are cardinals. Toward the end of the post I’ve included potential candidates that would interest those desiring orthodoxy and tradition vs. progressive ‘reform’.


Francis Arinze [80, Nigeria] – Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

Why he might: Former head of a prominent Vatican post, Cardinal-Bishop of Velletri-Segni (position previously held by Pope Benedict XVI), was considered a likely candidate in 2005

Why he might not: Age, no longer a voting member of the College, there hasn’t been an African pope in centuries and might be the first black pope. It’s likely his consideration for the papacy has passed


Angelo Bagnasco [70, Italy] – Archbishop of Genoa, President of the Italian Episcopal Conference

Why he might: Powerful position in the largest voting block of Cardinals (held this position twice), intellectual, gift for languages, unafraid to defend the faith in public

Why he might not: Threats were made by pro-homosexual groups that could be a cause for concern among voting cardinals, may have enemies in Italian secular politics who could exert influence

Tarcisio Bertone

Tarcisio Bertone [78, Italy] – Secretary of State, Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church

Why he might: Head of a prominent Vatican post

Why he might not: Allegedly has several enemies at the Vatican, involved in the “Vatileaks” scandal


Raymond Burke [65, USA] – Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura

Why he might: Head of a prominent Vatican post, expert on Canon Law, becoming a growing force in Rome.

Why he might not: Only been a Cardinal for a couple years, would be first North American pope


Antonio Cañizares Llovera [68, Spain] – Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

Why he might: Head of a prominent Vatican post

Why he might not: Might need to win over the Italian voting block should a European pope be the choice of the voting cardinals.


Marc Ouellet [68, Canada] – Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops

Why he might: Head of a prominent Vatican post, worked closely with Pope Benedict in selecting episcopal appointments, similar theological views to Pope Benedict

Why he might not: It’s possible he wouldn’t accept the papacy were it offered to him, would be first North American pope


Mauro Piacenza [69, Italy] – Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy

Why he might: Head of a prominent Vatican post, would be a good candidate to handle discussions with the SSPX

Why he might not: No reason comes to mind

cardinal re

Giovanni Battista Re [79, Italy] – Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops

Why he might: Former head of a prominent Vatican post, long-time service in the Curia

Why he might not: Age, supporter of greater power for bishops and less for Rome (a position often promoted by progressive bishops like Bp. Clark)


Christoph Schonborn [68, Austria] – Archbishop of Vienna, President of the Austrian Bishops Conference

Why he might: Former pupil of Pope Benedict, was a candidate in 2005

Why he might not: Has taken suspect positions on sexuality, evolution, and priestly celibacy; poor administrative track record including weak response to the dissenting “Austrian Priests Initiative.” Also, this.


Angelo Scola [71, Italy] – Archbishop of Milan

Why he might: Influential in the development of the “New Evangelization”, served at Institute for Marriage and Family

Why he might not: Involvement with Comunione e Liberazione may concern some voters

Those interested in orthodoxy and tradition might hope for:

1. Raymond Burke

2. Mauro Piacenza

3. Albert Malcolm Ranjith

4. Antonio Cañizares Llovera

5. George Pell

Those interested in progressive positions might hope for:

1. Roger Mahony

2. Luis Tagle

3. Oscar Maradiaga

4. Joao Braz de Aviz

5. Christoph Schonborn (though the secular media claims he is “conservative”)



14 Responses to “Likely Candidates for Pope”

  1. avatar Scott W. says:

    *Cue self-righteous blather about how naughty it is to talk about the papabille in 3…2…1…

    And just to fan the flames, here’s where people are putting their money:

  2. avatar Scott W. says:

    Oops Ben beat me to it. Arr!

  3. avatar CPT Tom says:

    I’ll give you three more…I’d call interesting to good shot. I think youth with experience is going to be the important factors in this conclave:

    His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos
    Orthodox (obviously), The Youngest and Newest: 24 Nov 2012 Age 54, Interesting Background/Origins
    Major Archbishop and Catholicos of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, took his Doctorate in Ecumenical Theology from Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome in 1997. Spent six years spent six years as Apostolic Visitor for Syro-Malankarites residing in North America and Europe. Is currently a Member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. He’s the most likely to build bridges with the eastern Orthodox.

    His Eminence Willem Jacobus Eijk
    Cardinal-Archbishop of Utrecht
    Other posts Cardinal-Priest of San Callisto

    Orthodox: To the point Wealthy Dutch leading families tried to buy off the Papal Nuncio to get rid of him! (the Pope made him a Cardinal instead), anyone the progressives don’t like that much is probably a good man. Member of the Congregation of Clergy, And, reasonably Young (59)

    His Eminence Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabandige Don
    Cardinal-Archbishop of Colombo

    Most likely of the three and my favorite*
    Very Traditional, Reasonably young (65), Vatican Experienced: (Former Sec of Divine Worship & Sacraments). Known as a staunch supporter of the Tridentine Mass, is on record that he would get rid of communion in the hand, and prefers communion kneeling and on the tongue as the only form allowed.
    Other posts Cardinal-Priest of S. Lorenzo in Lucina

  4. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Not Cardinal Llovera – PLEASE! Elsewhere on this site I’ve documented the abuse of the Sanctuary space at St. Januarius and of many of those parishioners in the progress.

    There is one section I’ve waited too long a time to write — Part XIII — which I must soon post! Basically, it will document the appeal to Rome, an appeal which went to two dicasteries — to Cardinal Piacenza (see candidate list above) as Prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy, and Cardinal Llovera as Prefect for the Congregation for for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (DW&DS). Obviously, issues were involved in both areas of responsibility and, by submitting to both, they decide among themselves who will handle it. Petitioning parishioners quickly received a return letter from the Congregation for the Clergy, which also copied the Congregation for DW&DS, acknowledging the latter as responsible for a decision, and transferring the paperwork to DW&DS.

    In spite of the repeated mailings, through the diplomatic pouch and by fax, fully in accordance with all the process and timing required to Cardinal Llovera, they never received a single acknowlegement (let alone a decision!) from him, his office, or anyone in his Congregation. It was as if the correspondence went into a bottomless hole! Thus, Cardinal Llovera did not even follow the process and procedures of his own congregation.

    It would have been bad enough for the petitioning parishioners to have received a letter saying “No!” but to send nothing kept alive the hope of something. My impression is that the wheels don’t just grind exceedingly slowly in DW&DS under Cardinal Llovera, but they must be totally gummed up and not grind at all. What use is Canon Law if even a Cardinal ignores his own procedures and responsibility? My conclusion is that if Cardinal Llovera were elected pope, we’d seen even more of a slowdown in the flock being able to deal with Rome. Disgraceful!

    I will renew my pledge to get the detail of Part XIII completed asap, but the great job by Dr. K above invites promptly adding this additional caution to the discussion.

  5. avatar Scott W. says:

    Diane has always been reliable. Thus, I move Cdl. Llovera be scratched from the orthodox hopeful list.

    What’s the word on Cdl. Turkson? I seem to have read where he had said something hinky about contraception, but that may just have been a media spin much like when they warped the Holy Father’s meaning when he talked about condoms.

  6. avatar Dr. K says:

    Piacenza at 33-1 is an interesting bet.

  7. avatar Giovanni says:

    It’s very interesting… where does Cardinal Turkson fall?

    We should keep in mind that the one who “goes in Pope, comes out a cardinal.”

  8. avatar Interstate Catholic says:

    Cardinal Turkson broke the cardinal rule when he gave an interview in which he stated he was “ready to serve.” Probably out of the running.

  9. avatar Giovanni says:

    Does anyone know who the priest is in the video interview of Cardinal Peter Turkson? He says he’s from Rochester.

  10. avatar Giovanni says:

    Sorry… while watching it said… Fr. Thomas Rosica.

  11. avatar Choir says:

    Giovanni – Yes, Father Rosica is from Rochester. He’s a Basilian priest stationed in Toronto, working for Salt and Light TV. His Mom is still living, I think. He’s from St. Ambrose parish. I just spoke with him last year while he was in Rochester.

  12. avatar JLo says:

    Never saw such an article as that by a cardinal… an “If I’m elected” thing. Campaigning. Turned me off completely. +JMJ

  13. avatar JLo says:

    I meant “ON a cardinal”…. he was interviewed, not the writer. Sorry.

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