March Conclave to Select New Pope, Irish Site Names Ghanian Cardinal Peter Turkson as Likely to Succeed Pope Benedict
By Vittorio Hernandez | February 12, 2013 9:39 AM EST
Roman Catholics and well as other Christian churches will all be monitoring the next Vatican conclave which will likely be by the end of March. The conclave is the Catholic Church's selection for the next pope.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi made the announcement on Monday right after Pope Benedict XVI said he would resign from his office for health reasons. Benedict, the 265th pope in the Catholic Church's history, reigned for eight years.
Born Joseph Alois Ratzinger in Bavaria, Germany, he became head of the Roman Catholic Church in April 19, 2005. He is 85 and the first pope to quit his office in almost six centuries, the last being Pope Gregory XII who stepped down in 1415 to end the Great Western Schism.
Various church and national leaders as well as ordinary Catholics were shocked by the Pope's decision, announced at a meeting of cardinals on Monday morning.
Angelo Sodano, a senior Vatican cardinal, described the papal announcement as a bolt from the blue. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti told BBC he was shaken by the news, while Steffen Seibert, spokesman of the German government said, "He has left a very personal signature as a thinker as the head of the Church, and also as a shepherd. Whatever the reasons for his decision, they must be respected."
Pope Benedict will not participate in the March conclave, Fr Lombardi said. After Feb 28, he will move to Castelgandolfo, the pope's summer residence near Rome and eventually transfer to a former monastery within Vatican territory.
Church observers said there is no clear front-runner who will succeed Pope Benedict, although during his election in 2005, he was considered one of the frontrunners by virtue of his position then as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
As early as January 2005, he was identified by Time Magazine as a top contender for the papal position. However, his election was considered a surprise since the frontrunners are traditionally passed over by the conclave.
There are 209 cardinals, but only 118 are under 80 years old with the right to vote for the next pope.
National Post, citing the Irish betting site Paddy Power, named Ghanian Cardinal Peter Turkson as the 9-4 favourite to be the next pope, followed by Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet 5-2 and Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze 3-1.
Cardinal Turkson was appointed in 2009 as the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
While the pope's resignation shocked the Catholic world, some media church officials had actually anticipated the move as early as two years ago.
While with his move, Pope Benedict will be controversial, especially with more sex scandals involving clergy coming out during his term, although he is not in Time Magazine's list of the 10 most controversial popes, namely:
1. Stephen VI - Hated his predecessor, Pope Formosus, so much that he had the rotting 9-month old corpse dug up, redressed in papal vestments and seated on the throne to be tried.
2. Urban VI - Because of his harsh leadership style, 13 French cardinals fled Rome who declared within months his election as null because it was done in fear.
3. Alexander VI - Gave wealth and nepotism a bad name by buying his way to St. Peter's and appointing his family members to powerful positions
4. Pius XII - Criticised for not speaking against the atrocities of the Holocaust.
5. Benedict IX - Sold the papacy and was called by St Peter Damian as a "demon from hell in the disguise of a priest."
6. Boniface VIII - Sent mercenaries to destroy other people's castles, forfeited properties and parceled out the lands to his family.
7. Nicholas III - Gave land and political power to his family members, which earned him a place in Dante's eighth circle of Hell.
8. Clement V - Played countries one against the other, collected oppressive high taxes and gave land to supporters and family members.
9. Leo X - Drained the papal treasury within two years and had to sell off pieces of the Vatican palace.
10. Sergius III - Rumoured to have ordered the death of another pope and had an affair with the daughter of a powerful count.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- In Photos, Typhoon Rammasun Blasts the Philippines
- Ellen DeGeneres Caught Cheating with Mutual Friend Before Portia de Rossi’s Rehab – Reports [PHOTOS]
- Flight MH17 Attack: Russians Claim 'Putin A Terrorist,' Memorial at Dutch Embassy Overflows [PHOTOS]
- Malaysia Airlines MH17: Vital Black Boxes Finally Land in Hands of Malaysian Authorities, Rebels Announce Ceasefire (PHOTOS/VIDEOS)
Join the Conversation
- Jonah Hill Solemnises Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo's Wedding Ceremony
- Pope Estimates 1 in 50 Clergy are Paedophiles; AU Doubles the Number
- Pope Francis Vows to ‘Use the Stick Against the Paedophile Priests’
- World Cup 2014 Finals: Sourgraping Brazil Celebrates Defeat of Rival Argentina; ‘They Already Have the Pope, That’s Enough’
- Tweet of Travel to Middle East to Join Jihadists Leads Philippine Police to Capture Australian ISIS Supporter in Cebu
- Google Nexus 8 Release Date Soon Along with 2 More HTC Android Tablets – Reports
- Windows Phone 8.1 Update Rollout: 20 Nokia Lumia Phones Eligible and 13 New Features to be Added
- Moto 360 Price Speculations, Key Features, Strategic Release Date, Design: A Watch That is More Than Just Time
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Apps Leak Online, Five Fresh Features to Expect from the Android Smartphone
- Three New Moto G Successors Spotted in FCC Document Dubbed Moto G2, Moto M and More --Reports
- Sony PlayStation 4 Outsells a Resurgent Xbox One in June
- Apple Logo on iPhone 6 Might Double as Notification LED; Roughly 80M iPhone 6 Units Ordered Targeting Release Date—Reports