Cardinal calls for new pope who can re-establish order
'We are fed up,' Latin American tells ANSA28 February, 13:22
"We must choose someone who can re-establish order," said a Latin American cardinal who spoke to ANSA on the condition of anonymity. "We are fed up".
Some arriving for conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI, who announced February 11 that he would retire on Thursday, have suggested they were feeling "deeply disoriented" by Benedict's decision to step aside.
Benedict, 85, shocked the world when he announced that he would resign for the good of the Church, because he said he lacked the mental and physical strength to continue leading the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. Some have said he was exhausted by the long list of scandals that have plagued the Church in recent years.
This suggests Benedict's successor must be strong enough to weather whatever other storms may rock the Church, said the cardinal.
"That's why that among the features desired for the new pope, it must be a person who is determined, energetic, with a capacity for governing and who would put in order" troubled administrative matters.
A long list of scandals and crises in the Church came to a head under Benedict's watch.
Perhaps the most damaging have been the numerous sexual abuse scandals in parishes all over the Catholic world, dating back decades but more recently becoming public.
Officials as high as inside the Vatican have been accused of covering up the scandals, for which Benedict finally apologized in 2010. But that was not the only major issue damaging the Church.
Problems also reached the boiling point within the Vatican Bank, otherwise known as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR).
Last May, former president Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was fired by its supervisory board amid reported disagreements over moves to join a list of financially transparent countries. The bank has been struggling for years for acceptance on to an international 'white list' of countries which are considered to have acceptable financial transparency laws.
The IOR has in the past been linked with numerous scandals including allegations of money-laundering.
Recently, the bank's commission of cardinals appointed German lawyer Ernst Freiherr von Freyberg, with the pope's "full consent", the Vatican said.
The Vatileaks scandal also damaged the Church in the eyes of many after Benedict's former butler Paolo Gabriele was convicted of leaking papal secrets.
Gabriele had been sentenced to 18 months in jail last year after he divulged confidential Vatican memos suggesting corruption and intrigue within the Holy See, which were later published in a book.
After he wrote a letter to the pope begging forgiveness, he received a full pardon.
A commission of three cardinals - Julian Herranz, Jozef Tomko and Salvatore De Giorgi - has been probing the case, and speculation has been that the trio would be authorized to share their findings with fellow cardinals before the conclave. Benedict met Monday with the trio and decided that "the acts of the investigation, known only to himself, remain solely at the disposition of the new pope," a Vatican statement said.
A church spokesman later suggested that some portions of the 300-page, two-volume report could be shared with some cardinals before the conclave. Meanwhile, betting is continuing over who is frontrunner in the race. On Wednesday, British bookmakers said the odds were good that the new pope would be Italian and not from the developing world as previously predicted.
According to William Hill bookmakers, the odds that an Italian cardinal would rise to the ranks of pontiff were four to 1.8.
The likeliest of 'papabile' candidates is Milan Archibishop Angelo Scola with four to one odds, followed by Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone at six to one, and the head of the Italian bishops conference (CEI) Angelo Bagnasco at eight to one, William Hill said.
"Betting on the next pope is one of the most international markets in history, with bets coming in from over 100 countries," a spokesman for William Hill told betting publication Agipronews.
"At this point in time, those placing bets believe the man to succeed Benedict XVI will be Italian, instead of a South American or an African, as was predicted initially".
According to the latest data, odds on an African pope are 2.88 to one, while those on a South American pope are 9 to two.
Odds that he will come from Canada, such as Cardinal Marc Ouellet, are seven to one.
Odds on an American are 21 to one, followed by 26 to one on a Spanish successor and 34 to one on someone from France.
Wherever the next pope comes from, odds are 11 to one he will be elected after just one round of voting in the conclave of cardinals, which could begin as early as next week.
(photo: Benedict and his former butler Paolo Gabriele, front left)