TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

3 Americans considered contenders for pope

Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - German cardinal Walter Kasper walks through St Peter's Square at the Vatican, after the cardinals' final general congregation meeting on Monday afternoon, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>German cardinal Walter Kasper walks through St Peter's Square at the Vatican, after the cardinals' final general congregation meeting on Monday afternoon, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - The curtain at the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, where the newly elected Pope will make his first appearance, has been hung in preparation for the conclave that will begin Tuesday at the Vatican.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The curtain at the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, where the newly elected Pope will make his first appearance, has been hung in preparation for the conclave that will begin Tuesday at the Vatican.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A man reads the newspaper in St Peter's Square at the Vatican on Monday afternoon, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A man reads the newspaper in St Peter's Square at the Vatican on Monday afternoon, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A man walks through St Peter's Square at the Vatican on Monday afternoon, March 11, 2013, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A man walks through St Peter's Square at the Vatican on Monday afternoon, March 11, 2013, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A Swiss Guard stands watch at an entrance to the Vatican where Cardinals will leave after their final general congregation meeting before the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A Swiss Guard stands watch at an entrance to the Vatican where Cardinals will leave after their final general congregation meeting before the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Nuns from Mexico walk through St Peter's Square at the Vatican on the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Nuns from Mexico walk through St Peter's Square at the Vatican on the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Italian cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino walks through St Peter's Square at the Vatican, after the cardinals' final general congregation meeting on Monday afternoon, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Italian cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino walks through St Peter's Square at the Vatican, after the cardinals' final general congregation meeting on Monday afternoon, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet walks through St Peter's Square at the Vatican, after the cardinals' final general congregation meeting on Monday afternoon, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet walks through St Peter's Square at the Vatican, after the cardinals' final general congregation meeting on Monday afternoon, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Canadian Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins walks through St Peter's Square at the Vatican, after the cardinals' final general congregation meeting on Monday afternoon, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Canadian Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins walks through St Peter's Square at the Vatican, after the cardinals' final general congregation meeting on Monday afternoon, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Canadian Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins is surrounded by police and security as he walks through St Peter's Square at the Vatican, after the cardinals' final general congregation meeting on Monday afternoon, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Canadian Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins is surrounded by police and security as he walks through St Peter's Square at the Vatican, after the cardinals' final general congregation meeting on Monday afternoon, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Canadian Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins is surrounded by media as he walks through St Peter's Square at the Vatican, after the cardinals' final general congregation meeting on Monday afternoon, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Canadian Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins is surrounded by media as he walks through St Peter's Square at the Vatican, after the cardinals' final general congregation meeting on Monday afternoon, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Canadian Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins is surrounded by police and security as he walks through St Peter's Square at the Vatican, after the cardinals' final general congregation meeting on Monday afternoon, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Canadian Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins is surrounded by police and security as he walks through St Peter's Square at the Vatican, after the cardinals' final general congregation meeting on Monday afternoon, the eve of the start of the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
AFP/Getty Images - US cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan arrives for a meeting on the eve of the start of a conclave on March 11, 2013 at the Vatican. Cardinals will hold a final set of meetings on Monday before they are locked away to choose a new pope to lead the Roman Catholic Church through troubled times. (Getty Images)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AFP/Getty Images</em></div>US cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan arrives for a meeting on the eve of the start of a conclave on March 11, 2013 at the Vatican. Cardinals will hold a final set of meetings on Monday before they are locked away to choose a new pope to lead the Roman Catholic Church through troubled times.  (Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images - US Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley listens during a press conference at the North American College in this March 5, 2013 photo in Rome. Cardinal Sean O'Malley, regarded as a long shot to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, is credited with helping rebuild the Archdiocese of Boston after the devastating 2002 child sex abuse scandal. The 68-year-old Capuchin friar, who is rarely seen out of his distinctive brown robe, is regarded as a calm leader who steered the diocese through the aftermath of a scandal which led to a global crisis for the Catholic Church. O'Malley took over the diocese in 2003, and became one of the first to introduce a 'zero tolerance' policy towards pedophile priests. (Getty Images)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AFP/Getty Images</em></div>US Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley listens during a press conference at the North American College in this March 5, 2013 photo in Rome.   Cardinal Sean O'Malley, regarded as a long shot to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, is credited with helping rebuild the Archdiocese of Boston after the devastating 2002 child sex abuse scandal. The 68-year-old Capuchin friar, who is rarely seen out of his distinctive brown robe, is regarded as a calm leader who steered the diocese through the aftermath of a scandal which led to a global crisis for the Catholic Church. O'Malley took over the diocese in 2003, and became one of the first to introduce a 'zero tolerance' policy towards pedophile priests. (Getty Images)
REUTERS - American Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, attends a news conference at the North American College in Rome March 4, 2013. (Reuters)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>REUTERS</em></div>American Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, attends a news conference at the North American College in Rome March 4, 2013. (Reuters)

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Related Stories

Daily Photo Galleries

Betsy Hiel Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Monday, March 11, 2013, 6:06 p.m.
 

VATICAN CITY — Three Americans, including former Pittsburgh bishop Donald Wuerl, are considered contenders as Roman Catholic cardinals meet Tuesday to elect a pope.

Wuerl, 72, the cardinal of Washington, is one of 115 who will vote on a successor to Benedict XVI — the first pope to resign in six centuries.

At least one veteran Vatican watcher considers him a “compelling” candidate.

As cardinals finished their general congregation meetings on Monday, some walked through St. Peter's Square, mobbed by journalists and onlookers eager to see a man who might become the church's 266th pope.

“We are excited to get started,” said Toronto's Cardinal Thomas Collins, as Italian police struggled to hold back the media.

Before the 2005 conclave that elected Benedict as pope, three favorites were often mentioned.

According to John Allen, Vatican correspondent of the National Catholic Reporter newspaper, two of Italy's most respected writers on the Vatican say New York's charismatic, media-savvy Cardinal Timothy Dolan, 63, “has strong support heading into the conclave, so one has to take his candidacy seriously.”

Allen said the cardinals are looking for someone to set a global vision that appeals to non-Western Catholics, to bring the church's evangelical side to the wider world, and to shake up the Vatican bureaucracy.

Dolan's energy and steely resolve appeal to some. Others are bothered by his lack of foreign-language fluency and a gregarious nature that is considered “so American,” said Dr. Terrence Tilley, chairman of Fordham University's theology department and a professor of Catholic theology.

Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley, 68, is “the public darling in the run-up to the conclave, the cardinal that ordinary people just can't stop talking about,” wrote Allen. “His plain-brown Capuchin habit, his beard, his smile and humility, have stirred a sort of Roman love affair.”

O'Malley was raised in Western Pennsylvania and attended St. Fidelis Seminary in Herman in Butler County, which closed in 1979.

Tilley said O'Malley is perceived as a reformer and tough on priest sex-abuse scandals that rocked his diocese; he speaks several languages and worked in Asia and Latin America. “But he might be perceived as too nice of a guy,” Tilley said.

Wuerl hasn't enjoyed the media buzz of Dolan and O'Malley but “is actually the most compelling American candidate,” according to Allen. A native of Pittsburgh and its bishop for 18 years, Wuerl studied and worked in Rome for more than a decade, “giving him a cosmopolitan look on the church,” Allen wrote.

Wuerl has publicly stressed a pope's “pastoral” role and the “challenge of faith in a secular world.” He speaks Italian and is considered an efficient manager. But he lacks working experience beyond the West, according to Tilley.

“We are in a different era from when the strong candidates consisted of three,” said Father Norman Tanner, a professor of church history at Pontifical Gregorian University. “Now we have a dozen or so.”

With two-thirds of the 1.2 billion Catholics living outside Western countries, he said, “it is perfectly reasonable now to consider the non-Europeans” for pontiff.

Although the odds of an American pope generally were rated near zero in the past, this time, three American cardinals stand out.

“If the conclave quickly ends by Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, then one of the front-runners will have been elected. If the conclave goes beyond Thursday morning, then an American might be a compromise candidate,” said Tilley.

The Italian press considers the leading candidates to be Italy's Angelo Scola of Milan, Canadian Marc Ouellet of Quebec City, and Brazilian Odilo Pedro Scherer of San Paulo — but warns readers to take such predictions with a grain of salt.

“All this is pure speculation,” Tilley said. “I would not bet even a soda pop on this.”

Archbishop Piero Marini, president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, insists that “when those cardinals are in the Sistine Chapel, the entire church throughout the world will be standing with them” — and the votes they cast will be “a deep spiritual experience, not some kind of a political machination.”

Betsy Hiel is the Tribune-Review's foreign correspondent. Email her at bhiel@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Police: Escaped Armstrong County inmate armed, dangerous homicide suspect
  2. Pirates’ Burnett endures another poor start in blowout loss to Reds
  3. Pirates bolster bullpen by trading for former closer Soria
  4. Steelers’ reserve quarterbacks vie to secure spot behind Roethlisberger, Gradkowski
  5. Inside the Steelers: Rookie linebacker Chickillo continues to excel
  6. Warrant issued for man accused of killing Brookline woman
  7. Steelers stress improved conditioning in attempt to play past injuries
  8. Pirates notebook: Blanton introduced; Worley designated for assignment
  9. Emails among Governor Wolf’s aides reveal concern over AG Kane
  10. Peduto blasts Wolf’s plan to borrow $3B to shore up pensions
  11. Memories of Steelers fan from Beaver Falls go beyond simple recall