NPR : News

Filed Under:

Doing The Cardinal Math: Numbers Point To Another European Pope

Play associated audio

On this morning after the surprise announcement that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning at the end of the month, NPR's Sylvia Poggioli looks at the numbers and concludes it's more than likely the next pope will be a European, just like nearly all the others.

Why?

As Sylvia told Morning Edition guest host Linda Wertheimer:

-- 117 cardinals are eligible to vote at the upcoming conclave (only those under the age of 80 can take part).

-- 61 are from Europe. That's 52 percent of the votes.

-- Of the 56 others: 19 are from Latin America, 14 are from North America, 11 are from Africa, 11 are from Asia and 1 is from Oceania.

What's more, the cardinals who will choose the next pope are all in their positions thanks to the German-born Benedict and his predecessor, Polish-born Pope John Paul II. It's hard to imagine those cardinals choosing "someone who would really veer" from those popes' views of the world and the church, Sylvia said.

Put the numbers and the cardinals' makeup together and, Sylvia concludes, "it will probably be a European." Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola, 71, is a leading contender.

Of course, as Benedict's resignation proves, the unexpected can happen. There are at least a couple candidates from outside Europe the cardinals might turn to, Sylvia says: Cardinal Marc Ouellet, 68, of Canada and Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, 63, of Brazil.

European oddsmakers, by the way, aren't quite in sync with Sylvia on the likelihood of a European. They've got Ouellet as the 3-1 favorite, with Cardinal Peter Turkson, 64, of Ghana close behind at 7-2.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Check Out This 1999 Profile Of The Late, Great Juan Gabriel

Juan Gabriel stayed true to his roots, even when it wasn't easy. This LA Times piece takes a look at why that was.
NPR

Northeast Farmers Grapple With Worst Drought In More Than A Decade

This year, many fields are bone dry — and that has many farmers in the region thinking about how to manage their land, their animals and the water that is there.
WAMU 88.5

State Taxes, School Budgets And The Quality Of Public Education

Budget cutbacks have made it impossible for many states to finance their public schools. But some have bucked the trend by increasing taxes and earmarking those funds for education. Taxes, spending and the quality of public education.

NPR

Scientists Looking For Alien Life Investigate 'Interesting' Signal From Space

Russian astronomers detected an unusual radio signal last year. The SETI Institute says it's too soon to say whether the signal came from intelligent life-forms — but researchers are checking it out.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.