Pope John XXIV?

Matt Bunson had mentioned the irony of Cardinal Ratzinger taking the name John if elected pope.

From John Allen on Cardinal Ratzinger…National Catholic Reporter: Electing a new pope April 11, 2005:

“First, the push for Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the pope’s doctrinal czar for 24 years and the dean of the College of Cardinals, is for real. There is a strong basis of support for Ratzinger in the college, and his performance in the period following the death of the pope, especially his eloquent homily at the funeral Mass, seems to have further cemented that support. One Vatican official who has worked with Ratzinger over the years said on April 13, “I am absolutely sure that Ratzinger will be the next pope.”

On the other hand, several cardinals have said privately that they’re uncomfortable with the prospect of a Ratzinger papacy. It’s not just that some don’t believe his strong emphasis on the protection of Christian identity in a secular world ought to be the guiding light of the next papacy, but there’s also a real-world concern about the election of a figure with his “baggage.” Fairly or unfairly, Ratzinger is to some extent a lightning rod for Catholic opinion, and in a church that’s already divided, some cardinals worry about exacerbating those divisions. One said April 12: “I’m not sure how I would explain this back home.”

If Ratzinger’s candidacy stalls before reaching a two-thirds majority, meaning 77 out of the 115 votes in this conclave, the question then becomes, who might step in as an alternative?

Here there simply seems to be no consensus as yet, even among the cardinals themselves. Several names are mentioned. Among the pro-Ratzinger forces, acceptable alternatives might include Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, Christoph Schoenborn of Austria, Angelo Scola of Venice, or even Ivan Dias of India For cardinals more interested in church reform or a pro-social justice agenda, figures such as Claudio Hummes or or Geraldo Majella Agnelo, both of Brazil, seem plausible. Alternatively, if a pastoral, moderate Italian emerges as a compromise candidate, men such as Severino Poletto or Ennio Antonelli might be strong runners.

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