Opinion: Three pathways to pope

In a blog post in CorriereDellaSera, John L Allen Jr proposes three possible ways for a papal candidate to emerge, getting the necessary 77 votes.

Allen’s models are:

  • Let’s get it over with
  • The anti-establishment vote, or
  • The ‘third world’ hypothesis


Let’s get it over with

This model brings together those wanting to have the new pope installed by Holy Week, and not wanting to project an image of disunity.

For this person to be elected, Cardinals could simply note who seems to have the strongest support on the early ballots and then jump on the bandwagon.

This hypothesis assumes that most cardinals would be reasonably satisfied with any of the early leaders including Cardinals Scola, Ouellet, Scherer and Sandri.

The anti-establishment vote

This scenario gathers those cardinals who want to challenge the old guard in the Vatican and installing a new way of doing business.

The Roman Curia theoretically has 38 cardinals but it is unlikely they will act as a group.

The anti-establishment vote could unite moderates in the College of Cardinals and cardinals from the developing world who wonder if the powers that be in Rome understand their local situation.

But Allen says it’s difficult to identify a candidate who is in a position to deliver real reform, however should such a figure emerges, there’s a fairly clear path to 77 votes for that man.

The Third World hypothesis

This model presumes there’s a solid pocket of voters in the College of Cardinals who would like to elect a pope from outside the West.

However while this sentiment exists, there does not appear to be a single clear canditate.

Allen suggest that if there were, he might have the position largely sown up.

However, Allen writes, should a consensus candidate from Latin America emerge before Tuesday afternoon, one can presume he’d draw most of the votes from his own cardinals (19), Africa (11), and Asia (10), which already brings him to 40, which he could get from some European moderates and the anti-establishment group.


Additional reading

News category: Pope.

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