PanARMENIAN.Net - After the surprise resignation of Benedict XVI, the catholic world has been in a state of perplexity - understandably enough - no one has willingly quit the Roman Pope’s post before. Some abdications actually happened, but the only one remembered was that of Pope Gregory XII in 1415.
Many wrongdoings mar the history of the Papacy, which in any case, can’t be named a role model: a poisoner Pope Alexander VI Borgia, persecutor of Templars Clement VI to name a few.
And here, a concordat with Hitler’s Reich signed by Pope Pius XI lies heavy on Roman pontiff’s conscience. But there was also a letter dated September 10, 1915 that Benedict XV sent to Mehmed V Reshad, where the Roman Pope condemned the massacres of the Armenians, urging the Ottoman Sultan to put an end to their suffering.
Many believe that Pius XI hadn’t done his duty as a Roman Pope by openly opposing the policy of the genocide of Jewish people, even after he received reports on mass extermination of Jews. Neither did he interfere during the deportations of Jews to Auschwitz from Rome, the accusers say. Vatican, however, insists that Pius XI took every effort diplomacy could allow to save as many Jewish people as possible, while avoiding open confrontation.
But it’s all history now. Current state of Catholic Church is not enviable: pedophilia and homosexualism accusations, banking machinations are not adding to people’s respect. The problems listed were always there, except that in modern times they’ve become easier to reveal. Apparently, the conclave won’t last long, with the Pope to be elected even before the Easter. The question is, who’ll be the next Pope?
According to Universi Dominici Gregis Apostolic Constitution issued in 1996, cardinals who are age 80 or over by the time the conclave starts are excluded from the closed-door proceedings. Currently, 118 Cardinals are eligible to take part out of a total of 210.
Europeans (61 cardinals) will constitute the majority of electors, with Italian Cardinals Angelo Scola, Gianfranco Ravasi, and Angelo Bagnasco among the strongest contenders.
Some also name Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet and a Bohemian-born Austrian Dominican friar and theologian, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn among leading contenders.
Many international observers expect current conclave to pass a revolutionary decision in electing the first “Back Pope” in history. Were the cardinals choose to take that path, though unable to participate in the elections because of age restrictions, Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze would be among the most deserving contenders. However, Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has more chance to become the first African to be elected a Pope.
However, election of another representative of the “third world” Manila’s Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle would be truly revolutionary. To the whole catholic East, this young Cardinal might play the same role that Polе Karol Wojtyla, dubbed the Blessed John Paul, did for the Eastern Europe. We won’t have to wait long to find out.