Is this the face of the next Pope?

The BBC’s Rome correspondent thinks he could be in with a shot. Or at least, Pope Benedict XVI seems to favour him.

His name is Gianfranco Ravasi (aged 70), only appointed Cardinal in 2010.

Based on his record, Ravasi appears to be forward-thinking but in a positive way. He realises that technology must be used to the benefit of the Church, and has been critical of the formulaic nature of homilies. He also believes evolution and Catholic theology to be wholly compatible.

So place your bets, and keep praying!

(photo: Philip Chidell)

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15 Responses to Is this the face of the next Pope?

  1. Robert Howard says:

    Well if he believes in Evolution then he believes in woman priests since he has no reason to distinguish between the sexes! In breeding always leads to a decline and degeneration never and improvement. It isn’t possible to reconcile Evolution with the Immaculate Concepcion and from this the Crucifixion and Redemption. You can’t have Original Sin and Evolution because Original Sin goes straight back to Adam and Eve and especially the differences between the sexes. I think St Thomas More quote is appropriate here ” The Kings(worlds) good master, but God’s First” . We wouldn’t want a Pope preeching “God’s good master, But The World’s First now would we?

  2. Giovanni A. Cattaneo says:

    A Cardinal Martini made creature will not seat in the Chair of St Peter.

  3. Toad says:

    What we have here, from dear Mmve ,is a piece of blatant rumour and speculation, worthy of any of Golden’s celebrated Media Loonies, such as wot Toad used ter be.
    And quite right too – feel free to speculate away, Mmve – if we don’t speculate we can’t accumulate – that was always Harry the Horse’s philosophy, anyway.

    Personally, I like the cut of the fellow’s jib, whatever that means.

    A trifle young, to be sure, but he can be confidently expected grow out of that.
    But a snappy dresser. Always a good sign.

    And hile the Cardinals are speculating,like a lot of Media Loonies, on the identity of the next pope, should they also be figuring out a pension plan for him, in advance? (We can surely safely assume it will be a “him,” can’t we?) A golden parachute?

    “Well if (Cardinal Ravasi) believes in Evolution then he believes in woman priests since he has no reason to distinguish between the sexes!” says Robert.
    Well…Bobbie,….
    ….oh, never mind.
    Perhaps Eccles can explain.
    Toad doesn’t really know where to start on this one.

  4. golden chersonnese says:

    teresa, our private visions concerning Cardinal Ravasi have some substance after all. Shall we call Frere Rabit’s £100 and raise him?

  5. golden chersonnese says:

    Divinations by John L. Allen Jr. on May. 2, 2008 in the National Catholic Retcher

    Whenever the subject of Pope Benedict XVI’s health comes up these days in Rome, comparisons to Leo XIII are very much in the air. Elected in 1878 at 68, Leo served until he was 93, marking the third-longest pontificate in church history. Given Benedict’s obvious stamina during his recent trip to the United States, this appears a credible parallel indeed.

    (Not everyone, it should be noted, drew this seemingly clear conclusion from the pope’s performance in the States: http://ncrcafe.org/node/1765)

    Nonetheless, the fact that the pope is 81 cannot help but stimulate that corner of the Catholic brain given to pondering the future, even if no one seriously believes that a transition is anywhere on the horizon. For those looking around to see who might have the “right stuff” to be a future pope, a Vatican press conference this week regarding next October’s Synod of Bishops on the Bible took on a whole new level of significance.

    Among the presenters at the press conference was a man who strikes many church-watchers as a rising star: Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

    Ravasi is a former collaborator of the emeritus archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, even if Ravasi was sometimes seen as less flexible than Martini on moral and dogmatic questions. A highly cultured soul passionate about art and music, Ravasi revitalized the storied Ambrosian Library in Milan, turning it into an important center of civic life. He also became an important popular writer, penning articles for the major Italian secular paper Il Sole delle 24 Ore as well as the Italian bishops’ own daily, L’Avvenire.

    Many Italians believe that when Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan turns 75 next March, Ravasi will be an odds-on favorite as his successor. Even in his present position, however, Ravasi is in line to become a cardinal whenever Benedict XVI next decides to hold a consistory. When that happens, Ravasi, 65, will almost certainly figure on most short lists of papabile, meaning candidates as a future pope.

    According to Italian vaticanista Sandro Magister, Ravasi was in line to be appointed bishop of Assisi in 2005, but that nomination was blocked due to concerns about an essay he wrote in 2002 on the subject of Easter titled, “He was not raised; he arose.” Some saw Ravasi’s thinking as potentially heterodox. Given that background, most insiders saw his appointment at the Council for Culture as a personal decision of Benedict XVI, made outside the normal bureaucratic channels.

    (Editor’s Note: Ravasi is a subject of a profile in the May 16 issue of NCR.)

    Monday’s press conference offered another bravura Ravasi performance.

    He began with a trademark flash of humor. He noted that a recent international poll sponsored by the Catholic Biblical Federation about familiarity with the Bible originally surveyed nine countries, and is now being expanded to include four more. He wryly suggested that perhaps one more country ought to be surveyed, bringing the total to what he called the “Biblical number” of 14: the Vatican City-State.

    “There might be a surprise or two” in how much occupants of the Vatican actually know about the Bible, he laughed.

    Ravasi then offered a five-point overview of the findings of the new study. He was nothing if not erudite: By my count, he managed to quote Paschal, Erasmus and Umberto Eco once, and Nietzsche twice, in the course of a roughly fifteen-minute presentation.

    For example, apropos of apparently strong support in many countries for educating the young about the Bible, Ravasi quoted Eco: “Why should our children be expected to know everything about the heroes of Homer, but nothing about Moses?”

    On the cultural level, Ravasi argued, the Bible is a touchstone of Western identity, and if it’s lost we lose some essential part of ourselves. He noted that even a virulent critic of Christianity such as Nietzsche once remarked that “between the Psalms and the poetry of Petrarch, we experience the same difference as that between our home and a foreign country.”

    On the spiritual level, Ravasi observed that for centuries, the Bible, especially the Psalter, was the great prayer book of the church. He called for a new commitment to prayer with scripture, including personal, private prayer. He cited Erasmus to the effect that scripture should be part of the “atmosphere” of Christian life.

    Such wit and wisdom clearly recommend Ravasi as future church leader. Of course, that doesn’t make him a slam-dunk papabile: Some might prefer a pope from outside Europe, at least outside Italy; some might think two scholar-popes in a row would be pushing the envelope; some conservatives may harbor reservations about Ravasi’s doctrine or his politics.

    What the “papal April” of 2005 should have taught us, however, is that matters such as one’s stand on the issues, or one’s geographical background, generally fade inside a conclave, while perceptions of personal qualities become much more decisive. At that level, it’s not difficult to imagine that Ravasi might get a serious look whenever the time comes.

  6. Frere Rabit says:

    I’m sticking with the Archbishop of Milan.

    (In the light of recent Scottish revelations, maybe I should rephrase that…)

  7. Toad says:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/25/pope-forces-out-keith-obrien

    Assuming this latest bit of scurrilous Media Lunacy contains any credible substance whatever , it appears that Benedict’s last judgement is that his Cardinal will be considered guilty until proven innocent.
    Fie!
    Curioser and curioser.

    Still, at least it all amuses Golden, whose name will now remain unmangled by Toad.
    ‘Til after the white smoke.

  8. Toad says:

    …A modest “saver” on young Ravasi would be no more than prudent, Rabit…

    His odds have shortened dramatically, miraculously, some would say – from 25’s into 14’s. Halved, in fact.
    A market “springer”!

  9. JabbaPapa says:

    Someone whom the BBC approves of as next Pope ??

    No Thanks !!!

  10. golden chersonnese says:

    Guess you’re amused by the media loonies, too, eh Jabba?

  11. Toad says:

    Well, GOLDEN, that’s precisely what Media Loonies are for – to amuse Catholics. A noble calling.

    It is, as you would say, their raison d’etre, and so they ask nothing more than to keeping you chuckling hysterically into your chocolate-coated breakfast cornflakes during the next few weeks’ white-knuckle papal ride. Jabba may have his own ideas. He often does.

    Upcoming episode: Media Loonie outrage (fake, of course) over the proposed presence of “pedophile-tainted” North American cardinals at the Great Vatican Slugfest of 2013.

  12. Toad says:

    O’Brien then stated: “The holy father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today, 25 February 2013.”
    Despite that statement, Murphy-O’Connor claimed this had been solely O’Brien’s decision:
    “As he said in his statement, I think he thought it would be a distraction to be in Rome. [It] was his decision to do so.”He wasn’t forced to do so; he wasn’t asked to do so. He thought that given the publicity over the allegations, which are being contested by the cardinal, that was a better thing to do.”

    …Take a tip from an veteran Media Loonie*, lads.
    Put your heads together, together, do a bit of quiet rehearsing on the side, and make sure your stories match.

    Looks bad otherwise.
    Amuses the Loonie Media excessively, as well.
    And we don’t want that.

    *(c) Golden Chersonnese, 2013

  13. annem040359 says:

    Safe to say, he will still be a cardinal when it is all said and done. Most likely the next Pope will be a cardinal who is in his 50’s or 60’s who will not end up becoming another “transition” Pope as Benedict, beloved as he became during the course of the eight years he was in became over the duration of the short time he was in. Do not be surprised if that cardinal comes from what is considered a “global south” nation or even from the “western hemisphere”, beyond Europe. Remember that the Holy Spirit can and does SURPRISE folks.

  14. annem040359 says:

    To be honest, if you think that the news media has had a field day where you are at, in the USA, the news media has gone NUTS over the planned upcoming conclave in Rome. Welcome to what in the USA when it comes to election time, called the “silly season” of news reporting on the upcoming Papal conclave elections.

  15. golden chersonnese says:

    Oh for the media, annemo. Keep selling that beer and shampoo! (Mark Shea, approximately)

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