Video: Papabili scorecards and the Sweet Sistine Bracket

posted at 2:01 pm on March 3, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Looks like Cardinal Timothy Dolan has had a lot of practice in answering the one question that comes up in interviews — his chance of becoming the next Pope, when the conclave meets later this month. Earlier this week, Dolan told NBC News that he had the same chance of replacing “a-rod [at] third place for the New York Yankees.” That’s not the end of the sports metaphors either. Religion News Service has introduced its own Catholic version of March Madness with its Sweet Sistine brackets, where you can predict the next pontiff in a three-round system.

Before you start making picks in the first round, though, be sure to watch this brief overview of the cardinals that may be the most likely candidates to succeed the now-Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.  Widely respected author and scholar George Weigel briefs NBC on the possibilities:

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One name that has intrigued many inside and outside of the Catholic Church has been Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana. Those outside the Church have focused on his ethnicity as a message of diversity, and the reporter in this interview even calls this an “Obama moment.” That misses the point entirely. The Catholic Church has placed a new emphasis on evangelization, and will be looking for a leader with talent, skill, experience, and a track record on evangelization — and the places where that new evangelization has succeeded most has been Africa and South America. That’s why cardinals will be casting their eyes outside of Europe, but Weigel points out that Turkson may not be the best fit anyway:

NBC: Let’s talk about Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana. The writing in the article says in part, both because of his personality and the historic milestone some journalists have taken to calling this papal election an Obama moment for the church.  Could Turkson be a top pick?

Weigel: I know Cardinal Turkson . I consider him a friend. He’s a lovely man. He’s a good biblical scholar. He was a good pastor back in Kenya. He has not fit well in Rome . I think he would be the first person to tell you that. He doesn’t really feel comfortable being manager of the sort he’s had to be in the Roman curia , and I think the buzz about him is a reflection of his winsome personality, but he would not be candidly, in my top ten. He’s a wonderful human being , but this job now is going to require someone to undertake some serious reform of the Vatican bureaucracy, and I’m not sure he’ll be regarded as the man likeliest to do that.

In fact, Weigel considers this a “wide open” conclave, with the only real geographical impulse an anti-Italian one.  And Weigel concludes that American Catholicism has in fact rebounded over the last 20 years, producing many more vocations than in previous decades.  Maybe Cardinal Dolan should brush up on hitting the slider.

As I wrote earlier and announced on the Hugh Hewitt show on Thursday, I will be traveling to Rome to cover this conclave for Hot Air.  I have received credentials from the Vatican and will have access to the press center and media events, and I’m beginning to make contacts for interesting stories and on-camera interviews.  I’ll also cast a closer look on Eurozone stories, perhaps especially the impact of the Italian elections on the European debt crisis.  I may be there for as long as two weeks, depending on the conclave’s length and the events surrounding it.  It’s a once-a-generation event in most cases, and it’s a big story in both the secular and faith contexts.


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Lucky you to be in Rome, for Conclave no less. Enjoy!

rob verdi on March 3, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Safe and productive travels and travails, Ed.

Schadenfreude on March 3, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Can quantity over quality long endure? And if it endures, what will it be?

VorDaj on March 3, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Dolan told NBC News that he had the same chance of replacing “a-rod [at] third place for the New York Yankees.”

…third base?…I like Dolan…I hope when it happens… it is a spiritual decision…and not a pc one!…he is a good man.

KOOLAID2 on March 3, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Safe and productive travels and travails, Ed.

Schadenfreude on March 3, 2013 at 2:10 PM

.
What Schadenfreude said.

listens2glenn on March 3, 2013 at 2:20 PM

I can’t wait to see the rat-eared Muslim get asked to use a whiteboard and narrow down the Cardinals to his final four.

Happy Nomad on March 3, 2013 at 2:30 PM

I don’t have a dog in this fight – what with being an ethnic Methodist, and all – but it might even be humpbot-worthy if a conservative American cardinal were to be named pope. Heads exploding on both sides of the Atlantic….

Knott Buyinit on March 3, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana.

I think he “campaigned” publicly for this and that can’t be a plus.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/the-pope/9866227/Pope-resigns-Peter-Turkson-reveals-vision-for-the-Church-and-alternative-lifestyles.html

Peter Turkson reveals vision for the Church and ‘alternative lifestyles’. The cardinal who could become the first black pope said Tuesday that the Roman Catholic Church faces grave challenges in remaining relevant in the modern world even as he laid out a conservative vision of how to deal with society’s “alternative lifestyles”.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, a 64-year-old Ghanaian prelate, is the bookmaker’s early favourite to succeed Pope Benedict XVI.

He told The Daily Telegraph Tuesday that his biggest challenge, should he be elected, would be to maintain an orthodox Catholic doctrine while “at the same time knowing how to apply it so that you do not become irrelevant in a world that has continuous changes”.

Cardinal Turkson, who holds one of the most important jobs in the Roman Curia and has been repeatedly promoted by Pope Benedict, was quick to take a conservative line on gay marriage and other “alternative lifestyles”.

“We need to find ways of dealing with the challenges coming up from society and culture,” he said, adding that the Church needed to “evangelise”, or convert, those who had embraced “alternative lifestyles, trends or gender issues“. He added: “We cannot fail in our task of providing guidance.”

…….DOG WHISTLE!!!!

PappyD61 on March 3, 2013 at 2:33 PM

I personally would like to see someone a bit more telegenic and reachable for the Catholic Church, but………someone that might be Pope for more than a month of course.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_Paul_I

PappyD61 on March 3, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Looking forward to your insights. Safe journey!

right of the dial on March 3, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Timmy D. is delightful. He was on CBS news this morning and was funny and articulate. However, Timmy D doesn’t have the language skills or the Vatican experience necessary. So it would be interesting if Timmy D’s outsized personality will be able to overcome that. It would certainly annoy Obama to have his main opponent on religious liberty get a vote of confidence. (Another fun fact is that Timmy D. and a certain adorkable Budget Chairman are personal friends.)

As for the Ghanian guy, he makes sense on paper but has made some impolitic comments.

Illinidiva on March 3, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Safe travels Ed and I am looking forward to more of the other member of the ‘E’ team, Erica.

meci on March 3, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Safe and productive travels and travails, Ed.

Schadenfreude on March 3, 2013 at 2:10 PM

What Schadenfreude said.

listens2glenn on March 3, 2013 at 2:20 PM

What listens2glenn said that Schadenfreude said.

PatriotGal2257 on March 3, 2013 at 2:44 PM

I personally would like to see someone a bit more telegenic and reachable for the Catholic Church, but………someone that might be Pope for more than a month of course.

PappyD61 on March 3, 2013 at 2:36 PM

A Pope that is hip to social media? Yeah, I do not want the next leader of the RCC to be posting a picture of the expresso he just picked up from the Vatican coffee shop.

Happy Nomad on March 3, 2013 at 2:45 PM

I personally would like to see someone a bit more telegenic and reachable for the Catholic Church, but………someone that might be Pope for more than a month of course.

PappyD61 on March 3, 2013 at 2:36 PM

A Pope that is hip to social media? Yeah, I do not want the next leader of the RCC to be posting a picture of the expresso he just picked up from the Vatican coffee shop.

Happy Nomad on March 3, 2013 at 2:45 PM

ALOL.

Hey, it’s going to have to be a blend of “Modern Family” and “Divers, Drive-Ins and Dives” to get attention of the low information layperson.

PappyD61 on March 3, 2013 at 2:51 PM

I wish the reporters would cease with this “Obama moment” crap!

Gothguy on March 3, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Hee…. That might be too irreverent. Hee. The best coffee shop in the Vatican.

However, I do demand that our future President keep his personal Twitter account after he is elected in 2016. I want to continue hearing President Rubio’s random musings on football and Tupac.

Illinidiva on March 3, 2013 at 2:57 PM

I’m fairly surprised that no on seems to be talking about Raymond Burke when American names are discussed. I think he has far and away the best chance of any American – he was educated in Rome, ordained a priest by Paul VI and has been involved with the Curia in form or another for almost 25 years, He now heads one of the most important dicastories. I don’t think Benedict called him back to Rome simply because he pissed-off Sheryl Crow.

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. The so-called Vatican watchers seem to always get it wrong. The last time around the ‘experts’ did not have Ratzinger high on their lists until the last minute and then acted as though it were a fait accompli afterwards. It’s easier to talk about Dolan because he’s in the news or O’Malley because he heads a famous diocese and wears scandals and Capuchin garb.

Long Legged MacDaddy on March 3, 2013 at 3:09 PM

LSM: “Where the white women at?”

blammm on March 3, 2013 at 3:16 PM

A trip to Rome! Always welcome. Good luck to the Cardinal electors. It’ll be interesting to see how the future unfolds.

A Pole and a German each worked well, in their own ways, but perhaps a choice from a different continent is due.

MTF on March 3, 2013 at 3:16 PM

Like Ed is trying to get a free trip to Roma on his expense account. Throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain for us and get some great pics for us.

Illinidiva on March 3, 2013 at 3:26 PM

The so-called Vatican watchers seem to always get it wrong. The last time around the ‘experts’ did not have Ratzinger high on their lists until the last minute and then acted as though it were a fait accompli afterwards.

Long Legged MacDaddy on March 3, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Agreed. A lot of watchers were saying, “Ratzinger, or course, would be very high on this list if only he were about 10 years younger. But we think the cardinals are very unlikely to choose a pontiff already in his late 70s, so we’re leaving him out of our discussion.”

Too many of the cardinals from North America are entirely too certain that it won’t be one of them. I still wouldn’t bet the farm on it, though.

JimLennon on March 3, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Cardinal Dolan would be an absolutely magnificent choice, and is still the one I want to see. But I won’t even begin to pretend that I can handicap the conclave.

Shump on March 3, 2013 at 3:56 PM

What’s a Cadinal? (see MSNBC screen graphic)

hungrymongo on March 3, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Timmy D. is delightful. He was on CBS news this morning and was funny and articulate. However, Timmy D doesn’t have the language skills or the Vatican experience necessary. So it would be interesting if Timmy D’s outsized personality will be able to overcome that. It would certainly annoy Obama to have his main opponent on religious liberty get a vote of confidence. (Another fun fact is that Timmy D. and a certain adorkable Budget Chairman are personal friends.)

As for the Ghanian guy, he makes sense on paper but has made some impolitic comments.

Illinidiva on March 3, 2013 at 2:36 PM

“New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan is not at all nervous about his momentous elevation to cardinal in Rome next week, but he does have the jitters about one thing — addressing the pope in Italian.

“I’ll have to have a cup of grappa before I go in,” Dolan quipped yesterday, noting that he’ll need the Italian after-dinner drink to help calm his nerves.

Although Dolan lived in Italy for seven years during the 1990s, when he was rector of the Pontifical North American College, the down-to-earth holy man admitted that the Italian he’s comfortable speaking isn’t appropriate for official Vatican functions…

“Some of the street language I learned there would be inappropriate,” he joked during a brief meeting with reporters at the archdiocese’s Midtown headquarters…”

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/get_grappa_on_yourself_5aQ29E6bo6uPQ1V6SyA06H

workingclass artist on March 3, 2013 at 4:13 PM

I don’t think the next Pope will be American, because too many of the sex-abuse scandals by priests occurred in the US, and the Catholic Church is shrinking in America. The Church is growing in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, but Cardinals from other areas might hesitate to elect an African Pope, since many African Catholics are converts from animist or voodoo religions, and the Cardinals will want to keep Church doctrine free of such influence.

Pope John Paul II spent a lot of energy combatting “liberation theology”, which was an attempt to merge Marxism with the Church’s traditional message of charity toward the poor, since JP2 was one of Marxism’s victims in Poland.

IMHO, the next Pope will be from Latin America, opposed to Liberation Theology, but from a continent where the Catholic tradition has been embraced for centuries since colonial times.

Steve Z on March 3, 2013 at 4:18 PM

NBC: Let’s talk about Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana. The writing in the article says in part, both because of his personality and the historic milestone some journalists have taken to calling this papal election an Obama moment for the church.

….

NBC:his personality and the historic milestone some journalists have taken to calling this papal election an Obama moment for the church.

…..

NBC:historic milestone… papal election… Obama moment for the church.

Just when I think there is nothing left that NBC could do to stun me with their filthy race baiting stupidity, they always manage to locate rock bottom and grab a chisel.

Gingotts on March 3, 2013 at 4:31 PM

Ed: please throw 3 coins in the fountain for “us”…

Khun Joe on March 3, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana.

I think he “campaigned” publicly for this and that can’t be a plus.

PappyD61 on March 3, 2013 at 2:33 PM

I read that article carefully. The press is campaigning for him, they asked him suggestive questions. Cardinal Turkson is not campaigning; doing so is an excommunicable offense.

theCork on March 3, 2013 at 4:48 PM

What’s a Cadinal? (see MSNBC screen graphic)

hungrymongo on March 3, 2013 at 4:06 PM

I noticed that too. WTF?

Christianity–maybe more specifically, Catholicism–is so foreign to the MSNBC clowns that they can’t spell the important terms correctly. What next? Cristmas? Ester? Lend? Pam Sunday?

I say that it was intentional because the Catholic Church isn’t doing cartwheels for free birth control and same-sex marriage.

I can picture the gay MSNBC staffer snickering at his laptop as he’s typing in the feed while he’s texting his colleagues at the bath house to turn on MSNBC to see his pimp on the Catholic Church.

BuckeyeSam on March 3, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Safe travels, Ed… talk about being a witness to history!

As for any of those journalists (NBC, CBS or whatever) posing the possibility of an “Obama moment,” merely uttering such a stupid phrase in the context of this event demonstrates how little they know about the Catholic Church, or Christ, for that matter…

dpduq on March 3, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Illinidiva on March 3, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Tupac’s dead, so is Jeb’s Waterboy. Jeb will be the nominee. Rubio is just there to give Jebbie conservative cred.

Jayrae on March 3, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Well. Rubio is most definitely running for Prez. The guy even has a committee set up and is raising money for his run. It’s such a forgone conclusion. It has been since 2010.

Illinidiva on March 3, 2013 at 7:06 PM

malachy prophesied that the next pope would be named peter and be pope during the utter destruction of rome and perhaps the rc church.

he’s been right every time – for hundreds of years.

and i posted on this before ratzinger was selected and took the name benedict – just as malachy had predicted.

so… it’s either turkson or… the man they select will take the name pope peter.

or malachy is wrong for the first time.

reliapundit on March 3, 2013 at 7:34 PM

reliapundit on March 3, 2013 at 7:34 PM

The Malachy prophecy is debunked nonsense. Much more here, with citations.

Ed Morrissey on March 3, 2013 at 7:59 PM

I can see Arinze pulling through. Even though he’s a non-voter, If there is no front runner, the Cardinals can go for him as the ‘safe’ choice.

Greek Fire on March 3, 2013 at 10:26 PM

The Malachy prophecy is debunked nonsense. Much more here, with citations.

Ed Morrissey on March 3, 2013 at 7:59 PM

Thanks, Ed! My brother tends to get sucked in to every passing conspiracy, and he is pushing this one hard. Your first link is a Godsend :)

cptacek on March 4, 2013 at 12:21 AM

Cardinal Dolan would be an absolutely magnificent choice, and is still the one I want to see.

Dolan is a weak candidate whose candidacy is tainted by his fawning over Obama at the dinner…just having the dinner rather than cancel as his predicessors did dooms him…add to that he has yet to take action against the “catholic” governor of NY who has proposed the most radical abortion rights bill ever.

IMHO, the next Pope will be from Latin America, opposed to Liberation Theology, but from a continent where the Catholic tradition has been embraced for centuries since colonial times.

Despite what the media says the Church in Latin America is a mess…under assault from the Evangelicals and still steeped with liberation theology priests and bishops…not a chance.

ironmarshal on March 4, 2013 at 11:09 AM

The Malachy prophecy is debunked nonsense. Much more here, with citations.

Here’s an even better article debunking it:

http://jimmyakin.com/2013/02/how-reliable-is-the-st-malachy-prophecy.html

Long Legged MacDaddy on March 4, 2013 at 12:05 PM