9/4 Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, 64
Ghana Cardinal in the Ghanaian Catholic Church
– Peter Turkson (Ghana, 64) is the top African candidate. Head of the Vatican justice and peace bureau, he is spokesman for the Church’s social conscience and backs world financial reform. He showed a video criticizing Muslims at a recent Vatican synod, raising doubts about how he sees Islam.
Elevated to cardlinalate by Pope John Paul II
Significant views: Would like to see a black pope. Believes condoms should be used in marriage if one partner is infected with sexual disease.
The other “papabili” (potential popes) most frequently mentioned recently are: (The list is alphabetical, not in order of their chances):
– Joao Braz de Aviz (Brazil, 65) brought fresh air to the Vatican department for religious congregations when he took over in 2011. He supports the preference for the poor in Latin America’s liberation theology, but not the excesses of its advocates. Possible drawbacks include his low profile.
– Timothy Dolan, (USA, 62) became the voice of U.S. Catholicism after being named archbishop of New York in 2009. His humor and dynamism have impressed the Vatican, where both are often missing. But cardinals are wary of a “superpower pope” and his back-slapping style may be too American for some.
– Marc Ouellet (Canada, 68) is effectively the Vatican’s top staff director as head of the Congregation for Bishops. He once said becoming pope “would be a nightmare.” Though well connected within the Curia, the widespread secularism of his native Quebec could work against him.
– Gianfranco Ravasi (Italy, 70) has been Vatican culture minister since 2007 and represents the Church to the worlds of art, science, culture and even to atheists. This profile could hurt him if cardinals decide they need an experienced pastor rather than another professor as pope.
– Leonardo Sandri (Argentina, 69) is a “transatlantic” figure born in Buenos Aires to Italian parents. He held the third-highest Vatican post as its chief of staff in 2000-2007. But he has no pastoral experience and his job overseeing eastern churches is not a power position in Rome.
– Odilo Pedro Scherer (Brazil, 63) ranks as Latin America’s strongest candidate. Archbishop of Sao Paulo, largest diocese in the largest Catholic country, he is conservative in his country but would rank as a moderate elsewhere. The rapid growth of Protestant churches in Brazil could count against him.
– Christoph Schoenborn (Austria, 67) is a former student of Pope Benedict with a pastoral touch the pontiff lacks. The Vienna archbishop has ranked as papal material since editing the Church catechism in the 1990s. But some cautious reform stands and strong dissent by some Austrian priests could hurt him.
– Angelo Scola (Italy, 71) is archbishop of Milan, a springboard to the papacy, and is many Italians’ bet to win. An expert on bioethics, he also knows Islam as head of a foundation to promote Muslim-Christian understanding. His dense oratory could put off cardinals seeking a charismatic communicator.
– Luis Tagle (Philippines, 55) has a charisma often compared to that of the late Pope John Paul. He is also close to Pope Benedict after working with him at the International Theological Commission. While he has many fans, he only became a cardinal in 2012 and conclaves are wary of young candidates.