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This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

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Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
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Our readers asked:

Are there any Bishops from Africa that might become Pope?

Richard G. Malloy, SJ Answers:

The answer to this question is a bit above my pay grade. As a Jesuit, I’m not in the loop of the diocesan priests’ world. They better know who is moving up the ladder of ecclesiastical offices. The priests who study in Rome seem to get to know one another and they would have a better sense of who from other countries has a chance of becoming Pope. If you really want the inside gossip on such matters, the respected blog “Whispers in the Loggia” is the site to click.

The Center for Research in the Apostolate in Washington provides some great info on the world wide church. In 2025, there will be some 606 million Catholics in Latin America; 228 million in Africa; 81 million in the USA (Malloy 2007, p. 168). So you can see the possibility of a Pope from Africa or Latin America is quite likely.

Robert Kaiser wrote a fascinating book

    A Church In Search of Itself

(2006) on the election of Pope Benedict. His take is that when all the new Cardinals arrived in Rome after the death of John Paul II, the one Cardinal they all knew well was Cardinal Ratzinger. In these years many of them are getting to know one another and the next Pope may well come from a non-European country. Kaiser interviews several possible candidates including Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga of Hondouras and Cardinal Darmaatmadja of Indonesia, a Jesuit. Pope John Paul II appointed almost 100 Jesuit Bishops, and Jesuits don’t normally become Bishops, let alone Cardinals. So, a Jesuit Pope from Indonesia: that would be really 21st century!

The Author : Richard G. Malloy, SJ
Richard G. Malloy, S.J., Ph.D., is Vice President for University Ministries, the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, and author of A Faith That Frees (Orbis Books).
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