Hometown heroes

Various news mediums and blogs the world over have been speculating about who’s “papabili,” that is, “pope-able.”

The Catholic News Services has moved a story with 12 of the 117 cardinal-electors as contending papabili. One of those is Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York.

Does Cardinal Dolan really have a shot? Well, being an American counts against him, but CNS noted that the St. Louis native has plenty of charm. And he speaks Italian, and knows Rome from his days as rector at the North American Pontifical College.

Why should being an American count against him? Because of the global prominence of the papacy.

Even in this multi-polar world, the influence of the U.S. is deemed great enough without an adding American pope to further tip the scales of power.

The press in every country that has a cardinal has being playing the “Could Cardinal X possibly be the next pope” game.  Is it possible? Well, it’s possible that Godzilla may crawl out of the sea and eat the top 12 or so papabili, giving hometown favorite Cardinal X a decent shot. Don’t count on it, however.

Here, according to CNS, are the top 12 papabili:

• Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, 63, United States

• Cardinal Peter Erdo, 60, Hungary

• Cardinal Marc Ouellet, 68, Canada

• Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, 70, Italy

• Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, 70, Honduras

• Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, 69, Argentina

• Cardinal Robert Sarah, 67, Guinea

• Cardinal Odilo Scherer, 63, Brazil

• Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, 68, Austria

• Cardinal Angelo Scola, 71, Italy

• Cardinal Luis Tagle, 55, Philippines

• Cardinal Peter Turkson, 64, Ghana

A lot of people in Northeastern Kansas are rooting for Cardinal Schonborn. The dapper Austrian prelate wowed lots of people when he visited the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas in January 2010.

Sadly, Cardinal Schonborn (who was the executive editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church) has had his hands full riding herd on an unruly presbyterate in the Archdiocese of Vienna. That can’t help.

Anyone who’s speculating on papabili has to remember an old conclave saying: He who enters the conclave as pope leaves it as a cardinal.