Days after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI goes into effective at 8pm on February 28th, the Princes of the Church, the Cardinals, from around the world will gather at the Vatican to elect from among themselves, the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church, the next successor to Peter as the Vicar of Christ on Earth, the Pope! The one chosen will become the leader of 1.196 billion Catholics in the world. Forty-two percent(42%) of those members reside in Latin America.
Five of the Cardinals from Latin America who will cast votes for the next Pope are considered “Papabili”—potentially electable as Pope. They are, in the order pictured above,: Joao Braz de Aviz from Brazil, Leonardo Sandri from Argentina, Odilio Pedro Scherer from Brazil, Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga from Honduras, and Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino from Cuba.
Joao Braz de Aviz, age 65, Brazilian of Portuguese ancestry, former Archbishop of Brasilia. He has been the Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Lifesince 2011. He is noted for an interview in February 2011, one month after assuming his new position, in L’Osservatore Romanothat while he opposed the excessesses of Liberation Theology, he “appreciated that liberation theology promoted the preferential option for the poor, which represents the church’s sincere and responsible concern for the the vast phenomenon of social exclusion.”
Leonardo Sandri, age 69, Argentian-born son of Italain immigrat parents, formerly Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela(1997 to 2000) and Mexico(2000) and Substitute for General Affairs, Chief of Staff for the Holy See’s Secretariat of State(the third most powerful man in the Vatican after the Pope and the Cardinal Secretary of State)(2000-07). Since 2007 when consecrated a Cardinal, he has been the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. He is seen as a bridge between the Old World and the New World because of his immigrant heritage.
Odilio Pedro Scherer, age 63, Brazilian of German ancestry, Archbishop of Sao Paolo since 2007. He was appointed as one of the first members of the newly-founded Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelizationin 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI.
Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, age 70, Honduran, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa since 1993. He is also President of Cartias Internationalis. He is an outspoken critic of capitalism and its excessesses.
Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, age 76, only the second Cuban elevated to Cardinal in the Catholic Church and the Archbishop of Havana in 1981. He is an outspoken critic of communism including the current government in Cuba as well as capitalism. In September 1993 the Cuban Conference of Catholic Bishops, headed by Cardinal Ortega, published the message”El amor todo lo espera”(Love endures all things), a critique of the Cuban Communist government which called for a new direction for the country.