Photo: Franco Origlia / Getty
Pope Benedict leaves the Vatican behind in resignation on Thursday, but his farewell speech gave no hints of who might succeed him, although he did warn that privacy will not come with the job. “He who assumes the ministry of Peter no longer has any privacy,” he said to over 150,000 onlookers gathered in St. Peter’s Square, according to The New York Times. “He belongs forever and totally to all people, to all the church. The private dimension is totally, so to speak, removed from his life.”
His announcement of resignation on Feb. 11 came as quite a shock to the faithful, with only three Popes ever resigning — all under extraordinary circumstances, and never for health concerns. In 1045, Pope Benedict IX was pressured to resign but was eventually re-installed on the Papal throne because his resignation appeared to be “selling” his office. Pope Celestine V, a reclusive monk, resigned in 1294. He had months earlier declared it permissible for a Pope to resign, establishing the tiny legal precedent that Benedict appears to be exercising now. Finally, Pope Gregory XII abdicated the papal throne in 1415 to end the great Western Schism.
But in churches and beyond, now the million-dollar question is: Who will be the next leader of the Catholic Church?
Whoever is chosen by the College of Cardinals at the forthcoming conclave will have the delicate task of governing the Church while his predecessor still lives.
Position: President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
Likelihood: InTrade gives him 22.5% likelihood. High odds according to Paddy Power: 3/1.
What His Election Would Mean: That the Cardinals recognise the future isn't in Benedict's Europe but in the explosive growth of the Church in the 'global South'
Reasons He'll Get Elected: He is a superstar in the College of Cardinals, a great communicator, and symbol of the global reach of the Church.
Reasons He Might Not Get Elected: The Catholic Church in Africa can be very disconnected from the Church that the majority of the European Cardinals live in. In Africa the top issues aren't sexual politics and theological disputes, they are exorcism, animism, the growth of Islam, and condemnation of Western economic policy.
Position: Archbishop of Milan
Likelihood: InTrade gives him good odds at 22.5%. Paddy Power also ranks him a very strong 3/1.
What His Election Would Mean: A Church focused on re-Christianizing Europe.
Reasons He'll Get Elected: A strong Italian bloc of voters, and his relative ease with them. His theological background is in the family issues that the Church in Europe increasingly feels must be addressed.
Reasons He Might Not Get Elected: The Cardinals no longer believe the Church is truly a European institution.
Position: Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, formerly Archbishop of Quebec.
Likelihood: InTrade currently has him at 20%, and Paddy Power ranks him 7/1.
What His Election Would Mean: It's a global Church now. His work in helping to vet and select bishops would give him the ability as pope to dramatically shape the Church for a generation or more.
Reasons He'll Get Elected: Most qualified. He speaks English, French, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish and German fluently. He has done missionary work in South America.
Reasons He Might Not Get Elected: He might decline. (You can decline your election) He has given every indication that papacy is a 'crushing responsibility' that he would hesitate to take. Then again, that is exactly what makes him an attractive candidate.
Position: Secretary of State
Likelihood: InTrade gives him a 13% chance. Paddy Power ranks him 4/1, which is a big jump from 12/1 only weeks ago.
What His Election Would Mean: That the most skilled Vatican politician wanted to become pope before he died.
Reasons He'll Get Elected: He is the man most responsible for appointing a large bloc of Italian elector-Cardinals, and he knows where every body is buried.
Reasons He Might Not Get Elected: Anger and embarrassment of non-Italian Cardinals who view him as a potential scandal in the making.
Position: Archbishop of Genoa and President of the Italian Episcopal Conference
Likelihood: Paddy Power ranks his chances 9/1, with InTrade giving him a steady chance of 5% for the past week.
What His Election Would Mean: A determination to 're-read' the Second Vatican Council in a traditional way.
Reasons He'll Get Elected: Benedict's last appointments to the College of Cardinals increased the strength of the Italian bloc. Bagnasco may become their consensus choice.
Reasons He Might Not Get Elected: Suspicion that a former protege of Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, the staunchly conservative former Archbishop of Genoa, would be 'too-traditional' even for Catholic Church.
Position: President of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. (He works with those Catholics who celebrate Eastern-style liturgies.)
Likelihood: Paddy Power has him at 14/1. He's dropped in contention quite a bit, and InTrade pegs him at only 3%.
What His Election Would Mean: That after having opened the door for Anglicans to enter into communion with Rome, the Papacy must work toward closer relations with the Eastern Orthodox Churches.
Reasons He'll Get Elected: He has extremely powerful and influential allies (and cheerleaders) within the Curia, including Cardinal Secretary of State Bertone. He speaks well in five languages.
Reasons He Might Not Get Elected: Any internal backlash against Cardinal Bertone's influence on the coming conclave could hurt Sandri.
Position: Archbishop of Vienna
Likelihood: He's moved up slightly on Paddy Power to 20/1, but InTrade only gives him a 2% chance.
What His Election Would Mean: A wish to return the Church to the papacy of John Paul II.
Reasons He'll Get Elected: He was a persistent but not hysterical critic of the Church's handling of the pedophilia crisis.
Reasons He Might Not Get Elected : Increasing doubts about his orthodoxy. He recently intervened in his diocese to re-install an openly homosexual man to the parish council, humiliating one of his priests. It has been noticed. And two words: Balloon Mass (see below)
Country: United States of America
Position: Archbishop of New York
Likelihood: Paddy Power ranks him 33/1 to be next. He's at just 2% on InTrade.
What His Election Would Mean: He'd have one of the fastest Church careers in recent memory. From Milwaukee to St. Peter's in almost no time at all.
Reasons He'll Get Elected: He is perceived as one of the best and most gregarious communicators in the College of Cardinals.
Reasons He Might Not Get Elected: His youth has the potential for a long papacy, along the lines of John Paul II. Also, he would be an American in a very Italian Vatican. That's not seen as a good mix.
Country: Sri Lanka
Position: Archbishop of Colombo, formerly Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Likelihood: Probably unlikely, as Paddy Power ranks his chances 50/1, and InTrade only gives him 1%.
What His Election Would Mean: Potentially a speeding up of the return of traditional liturgy in the Church.
Reasons He'll Get Elected: The future for the Church is in Asia and the sub-continent
Reasons He Might Not Get Elected: Having left the curia, the central government of the Catholic Church, he has all but disappeared from the minds of the electors.
Position: Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy
Likelihood: Only 50/1 on Paddy Power, and a 1% chance on InTrade.
What His Election Would Mean: That the Cardinals agree with his diagnosis of Europe as a 'de-Christianized and that the Church needs higher quality priests.'
Reasons He'll Get Elected: He is yet another Italian who fits the mould.
Reasons He Might Not Get Elected: Not seen as a media-figure, which seems to be a requirement of modern popes.
Position: Archbishop of Buenos Aires
Likelihood: 33/1 according to Paddy Power, but not even in contention as far as InTrade is concerned.
What His Election Would Mean: Social Justice moves to the front of the Church's concerns. He'd also carry out a humble papacy. Say goodbye to Benedict's ostentation in papal clothing.
Reasons He'll Get Elected: Bergoglio was rumoured to be the (weak) second place finisher in the conclave of 2005.
Reasons He Might Not Get Elected: His 'moment' seems to be over.
Position: Archbishop of Sydney
Likelihood: Paddy Power pegs his odds at 50/1, which seems very low to us, as it underestimates how well known and well-regarded he is among the Cardinals. No rank from InTrade.
What His Election Would Mean: A continuation of the direction for the Church established by Benedict, but with superior skills in the media. He's also likely to continue Benedict's extreme slow motion return to Traditional liturgy.
Reasons He'll Get Elected: He fits the mould of building social and political alliances in an ecumenical fashion, while holding firm to orthodox doctrine and practice.
Reasons He Might Not Get Elected: Like Pope Benedict XVI, he is a vocal supporter of the reconciliation of the Society of St. Pius X, a traditionalist group whose bishops were excommunicated in 1988. Since that effort has been seen as a source of embarrassment to Benedict, the Cardinals may skip him.
Position: Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, previously Archbishop of Toledo
Likelihood: Paddy Power says 66/1, a big ranking loss from only weeks ago. InTrade didn't even give him a grade.
What His Election Would Mean: He is known as 'Little Ratzinger', so his election would signal continuity and satisfaction with Ratzinger's slow and methodical 're-traditionalizing' of Catholic worship.
Reasons He'll Get Elected: To signal continuity. The fact that Ratzinger has resigned makes Llovera a more attractive candidate than he would have been had Benedict died.
Reasons He Might Not Get Elected: Not a strong personality; and a lingering unhappiness with Benedict's liturgical reforms.
Position: Archbishop of Mexico City
Likelihood: Paddy Power 66/1 and holding steady. Nothing for him on InTrade.
What His Election Would Mean: The ascendancy of Latin America in the Church.
Reasons He'll Get Elected: He's fearless. He criticised corruption in the Mexican government so thoroughly that the president considered a law that would ban priests from discussing politics publicly.
Reasons He Might Not Get Elected: Hesitation about his strong 'social justice' message.
Position: Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, formerly Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Likelihood: Paddy Power gives him 80/1 odds, but our thinking is that any Italian between 65-75 in the curia or a major diocese has a fair shot. Doesn't get a rank from InTrade.
What His Election Would Mean: Another intellectual papacy, in the mould of Benedict XVI
Reasons He'll Get Elected: He has the perfect resume. he has served in several Vatican offices, done ecumenical work with Orthodox Christians, and has all the right views.
Reasons He Might Not Get Elected: Another Italian.
Position: Archbishop of Naples
Likelihood: He's a longshot on Paddy Power, which gives him 100/1. No ranking from InTrade.
What His Election Would Mean: That the Cardinals want a long-term steward of the Church, rather than an innovator (John Paul II) or an intellectual.
Reasons He'll Get Elected: He's a non-controversial Italian candidate with experience pastoring in South America. Great resume.
Reasons He Might Not Get Elected: He is not well known outside of the curia. Not a 'star.'
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