Papabili: the Italians
Scola leads running but Bagnasco and Ravasi also named11 March, 15:22
(ANSA) - Rome, March 11 - Here are penpix of the three Italians touted as successors to Benedict.
ANGELO SCOLA Archbishop of Milan and former bishop of Venice, 72, this son of a Milanese truck driver with doctorates in Christian philosophy and theology is seen as an intellectual heavyweight like Benedict but someone with a common touch, who can reach out more effectively than the naturally diffident German - though he recently suspended his Twitter account.
Popular also outside the Church, and the current bookies' favourite, he has boosted inter-religious dialogue with his much-lauded Muslim-Christian organization, Oasis. But he is known to have opponents in the Curia and after being in the forefront of Church politics some say he could herald more continuity than change. Has said that spiritually inclined people "are suffering from "a kind of amnesia about God, and we have to reawaken God in their hearts and minds". He says the Church's job now is "to help people to remember God".
ANGELO BAGNASCO Archbishop of Genoa and head of the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI), 70, this former altar boy from a town near Genoa has intellectual clout as a philosophy graduate who once taught metaphysics at a Milan theological institute. He is a doctrinal conservative who has not hesitated to urge Catholic politicians to remember Church teachings when making social and bioethical laws. His condemnation of same-sex unions brought him death threats, and a police guard. Has an austere image, and does not tweet.
His close association with Benedict and standing as the leader of Italy's bishops bolster his chances among those wanting continuity and a return of the Petrine throne to the 'safe' hands of an Italian for the first time since the 33-day reign of John Paul I in 1978.
But his autocratic style and interference in Italian political life are viewed dimly by some fellow cardinals, as is his need for a police escort. Also, his view of the global Church is seen as restricted because he has never worked outside Italy.
Has said, "We must say No to forms of legally recognized co-habitation which create alternatives to the family, No to incest, and No to the paedophile party in Holland".
GIANFRANCO RAVASI Head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, 70, this Lecco-born former lecturer in Greek and Latin is a media-savvy prolific tweeter and Biblical scholar whose "brilliant" preaching was praised by Benedict.
Has helped make the study of the scriptures much more popular through the Italian media, and on social media. Despite this, he is one of the lesser-known candidates. Many also see him as too close to Benedict's way of thinking and, like the German pope, he is seen as lacking the guile and drive to forge alliances in the Curia and bring it to heel. An eclectic thinker, he has said "faith answers why, science how" and praised the "lacerating" music of Amy Winehouse for posing "questions of common sense for all".