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Old March 4th, 2013 (12:42 PM).
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VATICAN CITY, March 4 (Reuters) - Roman Catholic cardinals filed into the Vatican on Monday for preliminary meetings to sketch an identikit for the next pope and ponder who among them might be best to lead a church beset by crises.

They arrived by private car, taxi and minibus at the gates of the Vatican for gatherings known as general congregations, closed-door meetings in which they will get to know each other and decide when to start a conclave to choose a man to lead the 1.2 billion member Church.

The Vatican appears to be aiming to have a new pope elected next week and officially installed several days later so he can preside over the Holy Week ceremonies starting with Palm Sunday on March 24 and culminating in Easter the following Sunday.

Pope Benedict left the Church in a state of shock when he announced last month that he would be the first pontiff in 600 years to resign instead of ruling for life. He formally stepped down on Thursday, leaving the papacy vacant.

High on the agenda at the general congregations will be the daunting challenges that will face the next pontiff, including the sexual abuse crisis that has rocked the Church and last year's "Vatileaks" scandal which exposed corruption and rivalries in the Vatican's bureaucracy.

"We need a man of governance, by that I mean a man who is able with the people he chooses to help him in an intimate way to govern the Church," Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the former Archbishop of Westminster in London, told BBC radio.

"Among the things we will be talking about out here are precisely the need in looking for a new pope for these failings that have happened again to be treated, to be faced strongly."

The cardinals, numbering about 150, are expected to hold one or two meetings a day. The Vatican seems keen to have only a week of preliminary talks so the 115 "cardinal electors" aged under 80 can enter the Sistine Chapel for the conclave next week. The exact date for its start has not been decided.

"We have meetings all this week to get to know each other better and consider the situations that we face," said Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois of Paris as he entered. He said he could not say at this stage "who will be the best one to respond to them".

Cardinals expect to be briefed on a secret report to the pope on the problems highlighted by the Vatileaks scandal, when documents which alleged corruption in the Vatican and infighting over the running of its bank were leaked to the media.


SHADOW OF ABUSE CRISIS

The crisis involving sexual abuse of children by priests and inappropriate behaviour among adult clerics continues to haunt the Church and has rarely been out of the headlines.

One elector - Cardinal Keith O'Brien - quit as Edinburgh archbishop last week and pulled out of attending the conclave because of accusations that he behaved inappropriately with priests and seminarians in the past.

O'Brien initially denied the allegations but issued a statement late on Sunday apologising because "my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal".

"The church has a particular responsibility to set a moral standard and that's what it tries to do and if sometimes it doesn't, if it fails with certain individuals occasionally it's going to repent and carry on," said Murphy-O'Connor, who will not take part in the conclave as he is aged over 80.

He said about O'Brien: "I think that's clearly very sad and the person involved has in fact apologised and is now going to leave, as it were, public life as a priest, as a bishop."

The preliminary meetings also give cardinals the chance to size up potential candidates by watching them closely in the debates and checking discreetly with other cardinals about their qualifications or any skeletons in their closets.

Cardinals never reveal publicly who they prefer but drop hints in interviews by discussing the identikit for their ideal candidate. The most frequently mentioned quality here is an ability to communicate the Catholic faith convincingly.

Most cardinals say the new pope could come from outside Europe, but it is not clear if the conclave, which has a slight majority of European cardinals, will break the long-standing tradition of choosing men only from the continent.

No front-runner stands out but leading candidates include Peter Turkson of Ghana, Leonardo Sandri of Argentina, Austrian Christoph Schoenborn, Brazil's Odilo Scherer, Canadian Marc Ouellet and Angelo Scola, from Italy.

In an interview with Reuters, Cardinal Sandri, 69, said the next pope should not be chosen according to a geographic area but must be a "saintly man" who was "best qualified".

Sandri said one of the greatest problems facing the Church was "the loss of faith" among many who had "turned their back on God" and need to be brought back into the life of the church.

He also said the Church must open itself up to women in the next pontificate, giving them more decision-making positions in the Vatican and beyond.
To distinguish this thread from the others, this thread will serve as discussion to who the next Pope will be, the nomination process, and the various issues facing the new pontiff, such as the abuse scandal and the politics and such within the Vatican. Who should the Vatican nominate? A non-European? A Reformer? A Conservative?

Personally, my money is on the Austrian Cardinal Schoenborn.

Thoughts?
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Old March 4th, 2013 (4:47 PM).
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Of those supposed front runners I think Turkson, Sandri, and Scherer are more likely. I don't know why are bringing up Ouellet. I really doubt it.

I think outside of Europe is likely though, that's what all the murmur has been. A pope from either the areas with the largest Catholic population (Latin America) or with a rising population (Africa).

I'd like to see a North American Pope though, just for fun. Collins of Toronto and Dolan of New York are pretty well known / liked. Other than that I know nearly nothing about them XD But I'd be fine with those I think.
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Old March 4th, 2013 (11:43 PM).
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I think it's going to be an Italian up for the job. They haven't held the title of "Bishop of Rome" for over 30 years, and the Italian cardinals are the single biggest group in the election.

But hey, we shall see. This is always ~so mysterious and exciting~ and there isn't a set day to watch the returns soo :P
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Old March 12th, 2013 (9:46 AM).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Went View Post
I think it's going to be an Italian up for the job. They haven't held the title of "Bishop of Rome" for over 30 years, and the Italian cardinals are the single biggest group in the election.

But hey, we shall see. This is always ~so mysterious and exciting~ and there isn't a set day to watch the returns soo :P
Well we shall see today at some point, if what I read was correct. And I'm pretty sure the new Pope will be European still, I don't see any major earthshaking deviations from the old formula coming.
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Old March 12th, 2013 (1:57 PM).
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Nope. Black fumes tonight. Two more tries tomorrow and on Thursday!
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Old March 13th, 2013 (10:29 AM).
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Well we have ourselves a new Pope!

Now we wait for the old man to get to that balcony, haha.
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Old March 13th, 2013 (10:41 AM).
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    That might take a while, Live. He's probably a year or two away from death... but I'm interested in seeing who it is.
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    Old March 13th, 2013 (11:14 AM).
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    The new pope has been officially announced, and it appears the new pope is from Argentina
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    Old March 13th, 2013 (11:21 AM).
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    His parents were Italian, but he was born in Argentina, so he's technically of Italian heritage.
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    Old March 13th, 2013 (11:26 AM).
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    New pope is 76 years old. Hmm, pretty old I must say.

    But aren't they all..
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    Old March 13th, 2013 (11:31 AM).
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      So now he is known as Francis I. Im suprised he did not take one of the popular names. Maybe he wanted to stand out? Not a bad choice though. :D
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      Old March 13th, 2013 (11:49 AM).
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      Saint Francis is the saint of the poor, and he wants to comfort them by choosing that name so they know he cares about them even while he's walking around the extreme luxury of the Vatican.

      Also in Spanish, he's Papa Paco Primero. I just love how it sounds when you say it three times fast.
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      Old March 13th, 2013 (11:53 AM).
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        Quote:
        Originally Posted by Went View Post
        Saint Francis is the saint of the poor, and he wants to comfort them by choosing that name so they know he cares about them even while he's walking around the extreme luxury of the Vatican.

        Also in Spanish, he's Papa Paco Primero. I just love how it sounds when you say it three times fast.
        Aah okay. Thanks for pointing that out. :D Makes more sense now. PapaPacoPrimeroPapaPacoPrimeroPapapapapapapapri...
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        Old March 13th, 2013 (12:40 PM).
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        Quote:
        Originally Posted by Went View Post
        Saint Francis is the saint of the poor, and he wants to comfort them by choosing that name so they know he cares about them even while he's walking around the extreme luxury of the Vatican.
        Partly. It is symbolic, yes. But being among the poor has just also always been his motto. He walks among them and is known for taking the bus (which apparently in the eyes of the media makes him a "champion of the poor").

        Oh well, whatever. Was hoping for someone younger and more personable.
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        Old March 13th, 2013 (12:55 PM).
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        Yeah this older Pope throws the theory of the interim status Benedict had out the window. Not sure if I'm liking this yet. I wonder what the decision behind this is, and if perhaps its a sign that age truly doesn't matter anymore for the cardinals. Not a Catholic, but I do believe the Pope still has some significance in this world. I do believe he can do something if willing.
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        Old March 13th, 2013 (4:02 PM).
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        Oh well, of course the new Pope will be continuing the church orthodoxy. It took the church a thousand years to reach Vatican II and even now there's been a slight reaction to go back to previous traditions. A monolithic organization with a huge history tends to change at a glacial pace.

        Anyways I was hoping for a Pinoy Pope, but Latin America needed some representation.
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        Old March 13th, 2013 (4:05 PM).
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        Quote:
        Originally Posted by Elendil View Post
        Yeah this older Pope throws the theory of the interim status Benedict had out the window. Not sure if I'm liking this yet. I wonder what the decision behind this is, and if perhaps its a sign that age truly doesn't matter anymore for the cardinals. Not a Catholic, but I do believe the Pope still has some significance in this world. I do believe he can do something if willing.
        A problem with John Paul II and his long reign (the second longest in the Church's history) is that almost all of the Cardinals present in the last two conclaves (this one included) were appointed by him (and to a lesser extent Benedict). Which means they reflect his theology.

        That's good and bad.

        One the one hand, he was pretty popular and it leads to some stability in the church. On the other hand, it'll take forever to bring in any kind of change. So, I think the aim is older pope who will either croak or retire fairly quickly. Shorter turn around leads to more diversified Cardinals and future conclaves.
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        Old March 13th, 2013 (4:08 PM).
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        Gotcha, so its more like they're trying to purge out the older crowd to allow some breathing space for some progressive thinking. I guess it makes sense, but I do wonder if a Conclave least influenced by John Paul is a good thing. I guess we'll see in the future.
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        Old March 13th, 2013 (4:55 PM).
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        Quote:
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        Gotcha, so its more like they're trying to purge out the older crowd to allow some breathing space for some progressive thinking. I guess it makes sense, but I do wonder if a Conclave least influenced by John Paul is a good thing. I guess we'll see in the future.
        Yeah, I just said change. Don't know if its good change or bad change. Progressive or not. Wouldn't count on it. I just don't think they want to be tied down to one Pope for so long.
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        Old March 13th, 2013 (5:24 PM).
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        Okay, from what I'm reading on Wikipedia on his stances, I can't tell whether or not this will be a case of "the more things change, the more they stay the same."
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        Old March 13th, 2013 (5:47 PM).
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        Quote:
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        Okay, from what I'm reading on Wikipedia on his stances, I can't tell whether or not this will be a case of "the more things change, the more they stay the same."
        The Church's stances are the Church's stances. For them to change would undermine the religion's perceived legitimacy. Supposedly. Outside of a Vatican III occurring, I wouldn't expect any sweeping changes.

        And even then, of the large issues that people seem to focus on... gay marriage, abortion, priests getting married, female priests, contraceptives... I think priests getting married and female priests would be most likely to change. Followed by contraceptives to lesser extent.

        I wouldn't expect the Church's position on abortion to ever change since they see life starting for conception. Nor gay marriage since the purpose of religious marriage is to procreate and they don't look kindly upon that being separated (they're not fond of in vitro fertilization either, for instance. They're fine with adoption as a solution/alternative to abortion primarily).
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        Old March 13th, 2013 (5:54 PM).
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        Priest getting married I'm okay with, considering how the Eastern Orthodox allows for it and its actually something I thought was universal, but female priests is honestly something that will take some more time, perhaps not in our life time. The church is still too rooted into the ways of old, and the gender roles are still one of the most prominent things in it. But this is neither the topic nor the place to discuss that.
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        Old March 13th, 2013 (6:05 PM).
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        Quote:
        Originally Posted by Elendil View Post
        Priest getting married I'm okay with, considering how the Eastern Orthodox allows for it and its actually something I thought was universal, but female priests is honestly something that will take some more time, perhaps not in our life time. The church is still too rooted into the ways of old, and the gender roles are still one of the most prominent things in it. But this is neither the topic nor the place to discuss that.
        Still probably more likely than other changes XD

        Catholic priests used to be able to get married. So, the Church changed it once. They can do it again.
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        Old March 14th, 2013 (1:48 PM).
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          An Argentinian pope, eh? This is truly the hand of God. (If you know what I mean)

          I'd like to see how Francis I does, I think he might be a good pope.
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          Old March 18th, 2013 (6:14 PM).
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          He's exactly what the Church doesn't need. Incredibly anti-gay and dogmatic, and has some baggage he brings with him to the office just like his predecessor, except Francis wasn't in the Hitler Youth.
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