Stray thoughts on the upcoming conclave

I think the single most fascinating thing is that this is the first conclave I can think of where the College of Cardinals has been able to get the feel of the public well before the actual voting starts.

Whether or not that’s happening, I don’t know, but they don’t exist in a vacuum. I have to wonder how many are at least aware of the betting sites and commentary and all, and how much some of them will weigh public expectations when they fill in their slip of paper.

I think the pre-conclave buzz over Turkson is probably hurting him now. I don’t think the Europeans can coalesce around a single candidate to elect a European, and the strongest European candidate, Schoenborn, is probably hurt by being an Austrian — too close to another German. I doubt strongly that the Italians can ‘reclaim’ the office. I expect the next pope will be young (at least relatively), and more a pastor than a professor. Personally, I think it will be Braz de Aviz of Brazil, or Tagle of the Philippines, but handicapping a Conclave is not unlike Kremlinology in the 1980s — guesswork on a good day.

I’ve been idly wondering about the regnal name — all I can say for certain is that it won’t be Peter II. I expect it won’t be John Paul III or Benedict XVII — those names are going to both have a cool-down period, I think. I shouldn’t be too surprised if there’s a John XXIV by the end of the month. Something simple and accessible.

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