KWENU: Our Culture, Our Future
The next Pope: Cardinal Arinze's chances
Monday, April 4, 2005
There are 183 living cardinals worldwide. Out of the 183 cardinals, 117 will be voting in the next pope. The other 66 cardinals will not participate in the voting of the new pope. The reason is very simple. They are more than 80 years old. Once a cardinal is over 80 years of age, he is not eligible to vote.
The question on everybody's mind is, who will be the next pope? This question is even more alive within Nigerian communities. The reason again is very simple. One of our own, Francis Cardinal Arinze is on the top list as one of the cardinals who will succeed Pope John Paul II, who died this weekend.
What are Cardinal Arinze's chances? Let us start with his age.
Voting Cardinals, Average Age, by Region:
Cardinal Arinze is 72 years old. He is at the age bracket that is considered by Rome as a good age for the next pope. The Vatican is leaning towards voting a new pope who is not expected to stay for another 26 years. The average age of the 183 voting cardinals is 71.7 years, and the average age of all the eleven Cardinals from Africa, including two from Nigeria is 70.3 years. All other regions are within 71 to 72 years, except South America that has average age of the voting cardinals at 67.7 years. South America has younger cardinals; however, the youngest voting member -- Peter Cardinal Erdo -- is from Hungary, while the oldest non-voting cardinal -- 95 years old, is from Italy.
Voting Cardinals by number of Cardinals per region:
When looked at Cardinal Arinze's chances by the number of voting cardinals from each region, Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceanic, Cardinal Arinze's chances are slim. Only 9.40% of the total cardinals voting are from Africa. Europe has 46.15% of the voting cardinals, while North and South America has about 35.47% of the voting cardinals. Assume these cardinals decides to favor candidates from their own respective regions, it is safe to say that Francis Cardinal Arinze hasn't a chance.
Voting Cardinals by number of Cardinals by Country:
Cardinals are from many countries of the world. For the purpose of this analysis, I am including only those countries with four or more cardinals. Since Cardinal Arinze is the subject matter of this analysis, I am including Nigeria that has two voting members, Cardinal Arinze and Cardinal Okogie of Lagos. If the cardinals choose to vote for their countrymen, Cardinal Arinze has a very slim chance to become the next pope. Nigeria has only 1.71% of the total voting cardinals. Italy has 17.09%. USA has 9.40%.
Based on this analysis, Francis Cardinal Arinze has a very slim chance of becoming the next pope. It is therefore, only by the grace of God, that a Nigerian, be he Cardinal Okogie or Cardinal Arinze will become the next pope. Chances are good for an Italian pope; however, I predict that the next pope will emerge from South America, Brazil to be precise, and his name is Geraldo Majella Cardinal Agnelo. He is 71 years old.
Meantime and in between time, may the gentle soul of Pope John Paul II rest in perfect peace; he was a man of peace.
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