A Filipino pope? Why it won’t happen-A A +A
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
WHILE Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle can be considered one of 117 princes of the Catholic Church who can be voted upon as the next pope, it's extremely unlikely he will be it.
Filipinos can hope and pray for a miracle but chances are slim.
Tagle, 55, is a junior in the College of Cardinals; he joined it only last year. He still has to forge friendships and alliances in the exclusive club. Besides, how many years would a pope his age occupy St. Peter's throne? Longer than Ma. Lourdes Sereno, 53, would run the Supreme Court as chief justice.
While the Filipino cardinal may have dazzled Pope Benedict XVI (who will step down on Feb. 28 following his resignation Monday), Vatican analysts see a pope from the regions, Africa or Latin America, not from Europe "where the church is in retreat."
They talk of a first black pope, just like the US having its first black president. But a Filipino pope?
Nice thought, something to wish for, but only remotely possible. The 21 Italian cardinals, about a quarter of the college, have been pushing for one of their own, after 35 years of Polish and German popes. The title Bishop of Rome, it is argued, would be more fitting to a cardinal from Italy.
While pressure and other influences outside the Sistine Chapel are shut out by sequestering the cardinals until they elect the new pope, divine intervention could help Tagle.
A long shot, yet the mere possibility excites Filipino Catholics' imagination. Savor it while it lasts.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 14, 2013.