Odds stacked against an Asian pope

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VATICAN CITY—Catholics in Asia and other parts of the world where the Roman Catholic Church is growing fast would dearly like to see the cardinals choose an Asian pope for the first time in history when they begin meeting on Tuesday to select a successor to Benedict XVI.

They argue that the choice of the new pope should reflect the changing face of the Catholic Church, which is expanding rapidly in Asia, Africa and Latin America yet ageing fast and shrinking in Europe, its one-time stronghold.

Despite the decline in church attendance in the developed world, when the 115 cardinals solemnly walk into the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday to begin selecting a new pope, two thirds will be from Europe and North America.

The odds are stacked against Asia. Not only does it only have just nine representatives among the cardinals eligible to vote, but few move in the inner circles of the Vatican, or have held positions within its apparatus.

Filipino cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle is carrying the hopes of Asia and those of his country’s 80 million Catholics.

The archbishop of Manila, who developed a taste for braised chicken feet while visiting the poor in the megacity’s teeming slums, would be a bold choice as he is just 55—three years younger than Pope John Paul II when he was elected in 1978.

Father Bernardo Cervellera, editor of AsiaNews, a Catholic news agency, said Asia wants to challenge the powerful vested interests in the Vatican.

“The Asian churches want more powers. They say that Vatican diplomacy does not take into account local sensibilities,” he told AFP.

“The important thing about Tagle is that he is inside the Catholic tradition but can adapt it to modern times. That would make him a good successor [to Benedict].”

India supplies five of the nine Asian cardinals in the conclave even though Catholics in India amount to less than two percent of the population in the overwhelmingly Hindu nation.

But with 17 million Catholics in India, only the Philippines has more among Asian nations.

Oswald Gracias, the archbishop of Mumbai, has expressed serious doubts that an Asian will be elected pope but insists that a candidate’s birthplace should not be the determining factor in the cardinals’ thinking.

“For me it’s not important what continent he comes from,” he told the Catholic News Service.

“We want a person who is most suitable for this assignment and most suitable for the very great responsibility, the one to whom the Holy Spirit guides us.”

Sri Lanka’s Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith is considered another long shot. The traditionalist was appointed by Benedict to oversee the Church’s liturgical practices in 2005, having previously served as papal nuncio, or ambassador, to Indonesia and East Timor.

Should the cardinals decide that the time has come for an Asian pope, Ranjith, 65, could find his age and his ideological convictions work in his favour over Tagle, who is a decade younger.

While Asia’s chances appear distant in this year’s conclave, Latin America—home to 30 percent of the world’s Catholics — appears to have a genuine contender in Odilo Scherer, the archbishop of Sao Paulo.

Scherer, born to ethnic German parents, has the important advantage among candidates from outside Europe and North America of being a Vatican insider. For seven years, he served as an official of the Congregation of Bishops, putting him at the centre of thinking in the Holy See.

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  • Simon Ward

    And here was I, a non-Catholic, believing all my life that the cardinals waited for some kind of a sign from God. This article makes it sounds like Asian Catholics (with the exception of the archbishop of Mumbai) want the next Pope in the same way countries want to host the Olympics. Is choosing a Pope really just politics after all?

    • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

      They are man, after all.

      But then, the article tells of the faithful, wanting their own as pope. Who knows if these cardinals themselves think and act that way?

    • http://twitter.com/erncastillo ern

      leave the matter to catholics, if you are not.

    • siJuanDalandan

      Yes it is.  The cardinals are humans like us.  The selection of the Pope is — and has always been — a political process within the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.

  • UrHONOR

    PAANONG may mapipiling ASIAN dyan sa TNL na samahang yan,  e, para sa kanilang mga puti ang ASIA ay LATAK lamang at mainam lamang na GATASAN  Yang samahang ng puti na yan ay tinatag ng mga puti para sa kapakanan ng mga puti.  Binibigyan ang mga Asian ng pwesto na pangpalubag loob para di masabi na minomonopolize ng mga TNL na puti ang lahat ng pwesto sa samahang yan.  Mabuti pa si Gregorio Aglipay at maagang nagising sa katotohanan…..pero yong ibang mga damasing sa PH na PATAY-na-PATAY na makausuot ng saya ng mga puti (sayang puti….) ay tila habang-buhay ng BULAG o MAGBU-BULAGBULAGAN dahil kapag nagbago ang pangkasalukuyang kaayusan malaking mawawala sa kanila in terms of social standing and earning power.
    Asian pope?  Posible pero malabo!

    • http://twitter.com/erncastillo ern

      you do not sound like catholic…..wag ka na makialam dito.

      • UrHONOR

        YOU sound like an INK…..wala kang paki-alam sa kahit na kanino dito.  Ni katiting na kapranggot wala kang pag-aari dito.  Tipikal kang INK….mapag-angkin!

        Ano kinapuputok mo ng butse mo ay purely ENVY.  Hindi ko sasabihing inggit-na-inggit ka sa pagpapalahad ng kaisipan ng iba kasi wala kang kaisipang pangsarili na ma-ipalahad… at ang ginagawa mo ay maghanap ng butas ng iba gamit ang mata mong malabo.  Hindi ko sasabihin yan dahil magagalit si damasing na nagturo sa akin.  Ang pakialamanan mo ay ang kastilyo mo sa alipaap ng anghel mong si Felix.

    • Filpino

      hehe wala kayong conclave no? ang pagpili sa lider ng sekta nyo by kamag-anakan hahaha. mga alipin ng isang angkan hahaha.

      • UrHONOR

        IRRELEVANT, IMPERTINENT, and IMMATERIAL!

  • reddfrog

    Guided by the Holy Spirit daw ang pagpili ng Pope. bwahahahahahaha! Guided by politics and self-interest ang mga lokong yan.

    • http://twitter.com/erncastillo ern

      let them do their thing. If you cannot give respect, just ignore them. There are at least 1.2 billion catholics against you few idiots.

      If you think they will all go to hell, then they could probably be much happier than the few of you in your lonely heaven.

      • isellnuts

         did you count how many idiots? I saw only one.

    • Filpino

      wag mo isasama sa biro ang holy spirit, remember ang lahat ng kasalanan ay mapapatawad except lang sa kasalanan sa holy spirit. sinabi yan ni Jesus. Panlalait ang ginagawa mo sa Kanya, Pano nalang kung guide nga ng holy spirit eh di yari ka. tuluy tuluy ka sa kumukulong impyerno hehe.

    • UrHONOR

      PARA din yan nung mekanikong nanalo sa Lotto.  Nang tinanong siya kung paano nya napili yong mga numero….ang sagot nya ay holy spirit din.  At yong nakapasa sa CPA exam….nalusutan daw niya yong exam dahil doon sa itaas.  At yong nabusog sa pagkain na nagpasalamat the diyos sa pagkabusog nya.  At yong nakahanap ng trabaho na nagpasalamat sa kay lord sa pagkakaroon ng trabaho.  At yong nanalo sa karera at sabong na nagpasalamat sa poong maykapal sa pag-panalo.  At yong sinuwerte sa mga chickas na nagpsalamat sa hulog ng langit sa kanya.  LAHAT ay puro pagpapa-kwela para masabing may pinaniniwalaan sila na sa katotohanan ay puro HINDSIGHT lamang.  No rhyme nor reason but purely speculation. Ganun din yan sa TNL na seremonyas na yan na diyos KUNO ang pipili na sa katotohanan ay TAO ang gumagawa…..tapos maaaring bitiwan pag dating ng araw.  At kung diyos ang totong pumili ng TNL sa pope na yan….malaking pagkakamali ang nagawa ng diyos at isang malaking kabulastugan ang pagbibitiw ng trabahong bigay ng diyos.  Ganun din yang issue sa bibliya na salita KUNO ng diyos na sinulat lang din ng TAO. Malinaw-na-malinaw naman ang lahat ng kaisipang ito….kaya lang nagiging malabo sa marami ay dahil sa TAKOT na tinanim ng mga damasing simula pa sa pagka-sanggol nila at hindi ayaw ng magpa-gising sa kanilang pagka-gupiling sa kaisapang nagbibigay sa kanila ng SECURITY BLANKET.  At yong tunutulong para sila ay gisingin ay, sa kanilang natutunan sa mga damasing, mga kalaban at mga demonyo sa kanilang pananaw.  MALUKNOT.

      • rayingga

        you are the devil on earth

      • UrHONOR

        SIYANGA, rayingga?  Kailan na nga pala yong huli mong biyahe sa opis ng Devil in Hell?  Buti na lang at binigyan ka ng listahan ng kung sino ang devil on earth.  Paki-check mo nga kung na sa listahan si Mike at si PHPands?  Ikaw, pang-ilan ka ba sa listahan?  :)

        OO nga pala,  sa susunod mong biyahe sa hell, paturo kay kay hepe kung papaano umintindi ng simpleng pangungusap para hindi yang pangalan ng Boss mo ang parati mong nababanggit…..di ba nga’t, thou shalt not take the name of thy boss in vain?

    • rayingga

      May satan bless you more

  • padrefaura

    i do not really care who the next pope will be. my loyalty is to god and not the pope. 

    • rayingga

      God and not your god

  • disqus_EWrSdjV1nv

    tagle maging papa. mauuna pang maging joke yan.

    pera pera lang talaga. magkano ba naiambag ng mga katoliko ditto para sa roma?

    • Filpino

      palibhasa yung sekta nyo by kamag-anak ang pagpili ng hahalili sa founder pag hindi kamaganakan malabong mamuno sa sekta nyo hehehe.. wala kayong conclave no?

      • disqus_EWrSdjV1nv

        kawawa naman kayo. nag conclave pa. hehehe. yan ang masarap sa walang relihiyon. di nangangailangan association para may ma feel…

        mumfo at shoktong! napalitan na ni miguel.

  • libra25

    Sadly, I believe the Vatican is not yet ready for a colored Pope.   Race will still play a crucial factor in decision-making and the Anglo-Saxons will still prevail.

    • disqus_EWrSdjV1nv

      please tell it to Filipino. hard headed hog.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SPLUBLEOSERDBOIJTDOC6XIWGU mxsclxmxn

    Just like in a company. As an employee, we follow the rules and regulations. We obey the instructions of our boss.

    Same in religion and as a Catholic. We follow and obey our Church and the persons in authority.
    Otherwise, just like in a company, violators are terminated!

    How much more if we defy our Church founded by our Lord! 
    The Church is free from error. The people in it are not! Evil works so hard to temp each one of us. But the divinity of Christ’s Church is still present always, all the time!

    I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for apart from me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 

    He who is not with the Church of Christ is doomed!

    • magpies2010

      The day the pope canonised the Spanish mass murderer and boyfriend of Franco, Jose Escriva, was the day that papal infallability was smashed into a thousand fragments. Go find a place that has like minded souls to your good self, like north Korea

  • EmmanuelGomez

    wag na kayo mangarap pa… 

  • Beguine

    If only the Philippines were a rich and shining example among nations of 
    good governance and extending benefits and welfare to its people, the
    chances of an Asian Pope who is a Filipino would be very high indeed at
    this current conclave to elect the new Pope. Alternatively, if the Catholic
    Church in the Philippines is a major force contributing much in propelling this country’s 
    progress, prosperity and advancement in all vital sectors of life.   

    Rich? Shining example? Good governance? 

    Nope Nope Nope and more Nope as to the Catholic Church’s role
    in people’s lives. 

    So, new Pinoy Pope?

    A simple Nope. 

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