Successor to pope still under review
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In the last 600 years of papal reign, this is the first resignation, which was made by the now pope emeritus, Benedict XVI. According to the guardian.co.uk, the pope stepped down due to “advanced age” and deteriorating strengths. Benedict has been pope since 2005.
The sudden shift in leadership, almost entirely unexpected, paves the way for a successor to be chosen by Easter. Benedict set a tone for change with his dramatic personal example.
Thoughts and opinions have been raised as to whether or not an American cardinal will be chosen.
Many are saying that there is no chance for an American pope because of the current economic situation in the U.S.
While this is not definite, it is unlikely that a citizen of the United States will be elected pope in the upcoming conclave or even in the distant future.
Several issues arise when discussing electing an American cardinal to take the place of the pope.
The superpower status of America is a major obstacle. It has more than enough worldly influence without an American as the next pope. If another nation was to ever dominate the world, the chances of an American pope would increase.
The cardinals are struggling against the perception, held particularly by Europeans, that most Americans aren’t sophisticated or learned enough to handle the papacy.
They could compensate for their outsider status by spending years in Rome and being multilingual or at least speaking Italian fluently. Other languages that would be beneficial for an American pope would be Spanish, French and Latin.
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan is under consideration for the papacy and is thought to have one of the highest profiles in the U.S. church, but he lacks the language skills needed in the position.
The role of the U.S. in the world today is what weighs most heavily against an American pope.
According to foxnews.com, the Vatican navigates complex diplomatic relations within the Muslim world, in China over the state-backed church, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and beyond that.
Some might think that an American pope would place the interests of the United States over Catholics.
There is still a chance for Dolan and other cardinals in the U.S., but persuading the Europeans that an American is best for the job may be difficult.