Brazil’s Cardinal Odilo Scherer is being proposed as a candidate to be next Pope by some Italian cardinals from the Roman Curia, including Sodano and Re, but they also want an Italian as Secretary of State
*Gerard O’Connell - Andrea Tornielli
Vatican City *
In 2005, some influential cardinals from the Roman Curia worked for the election of Joseph Ratzinger. Today, eight years later, informed sources both within and outside the Vatican confirm that a new group in the Vatican are seeking to bring for the first time in history a Latin American to the See of Peter, accompanied by a Secretary of State who is Italian, or an Argentinian of Italian-origins. Among the proponents of this initiative are two leading cardinals - Angelo Sodano, the Dean of the College of Cardinals, and Giovanni Battista Re. Other important Italian curial cardinals could join this initiative.
The candidate to be pope of this group is the Archbishop of Sao Paolo, Brazil, Odilo Pedro Scherer, 63, who worked in the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops from 1994 to 2001. He worked for some time with Cardinal Re, who became head of that Congregation, and later ensured that he became a bishop. Scherer is a well-respected Latin American prelate, of German extraction. A man of measured and less Latin style , he speaks Italian well.
His name has circulated in these days as a possible successor to Benedict XVI. His sponsors aim to bring the first South American to the See of Peter, but bringing at the same time with him - almost as part of a ‘ticket’ - a Secretary of State who knows the Roman Curia well. Among the names being mentioned for this second post is that of Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, the Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy. Another name being suggested for the post of Secretary of State is that of Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. Sandri had the post of ‘Substitute’ - that is the third ranking position in the Vatican, in the last phase of the pontificate of John Paul II and the beginning of Benedict XVI’s reign.
The idea of a ticket of a Pope with a Secretary of State is not new. It’s known that something similar happened in the 1958 conclave when some cardinals of the Roman Curia got assurances that if the Patriarch of Venice, Angelo Roncalli would be elected that he would not appoint the Archbishop of Milan, Giovanni Battista Montini, as Secretary of State, but would instead chose Monsignor Domenico Tardini for that post. This is in fact what happened on the same evening that John XXIII was elected. Could history repeat itself in the coming days?