If the new man on the throne of Peter were to come from Europe or should he be a church leader from the southern hemisphere? Cardinals before their entry into the Sistine Chapel repeatedly emphasized that origin or skin color should not matter. At that point also various "factions" in the universal Church and different perspectives come into play.
The 115 voting cardinals come from 45 countries. Vatican experts divide them not only by "regional groups" one, but into different "lobbies" - including spiritual movements and the ultra-conservative lay organization Opus Dei.
Who are the various groups? First there were the "diplomats" . They are Cardinals that had been appointed by Pope John Paul II and are grouped around Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Dean of the Sacred College.
The 85-year-old, who for a long time as Cardinal Secretary of State functioned as "head of state" and previously served as the Vatican's diplomatic representative abroad, does not even attend the Pope's election. From his immediate circle, especially the Argentine Cardinal Leonardo Sandri is called "Papabile".
Benedict and his "Bertonians"
The next group are the "Bertonians" : Cardinals appointed by Pope Benedict XVI and who are close to Tarcisio Bertone , the current Secretary of State and Cardinal Camerlengo.
They compete with the old guard of Cardinal Sodano. They include the Italians Cardinals Antonio Maria Vegliò, Giuseppe Versaldi and Giuseppe Bertello. Bertone himself is not among the favorites, but has great influence.
Benedict does not participate in the conclave, but plays a major role. He has appointed more than half of the voting cardinals and some of them also publicly praised. It is said that his favorite was the Italian Angelo Scola, whom he appointed archbishop of Milan, the most important diocese in the country.
Italian bishops split by region
Even the Italian bishops are an important group in the papal election. They are according to Italian media reports however split into northerners and southerners.
The northerners sympathize accordingly with Cardinal Angelo Scola and the Archbishop of Genoa, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, who is also President of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
The cardinals of the south have lost influence, since Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe was no longer Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Sepe Archbishop of Naples.
Is a member of Opus Dei "papabile"?
Also Opus Dei, the lay organisation founded by Spaniard Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer is represented in the Conclave by the Archbishop in Peru's capital Lima, Juan Luis Cipriani. Cipriani is considered by some to be the fittest man to be Pope.
The arch-conservative "Opus Dei" is deeply rooted in Spain, Italy and Latin America. Emeritus Cardinal Julián Herranz is also a member, whom the Pope entrusted with the investigation of the "Vatileaks" affair.
Other important stakeholders are the so-called spiritual movements within the church. The Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa represents the Schoenstatt Movement in the conclave. Archbishop Scola is the highest representative in the conclave of the movement Communion and Liberation (Communion and Liberation).
Finally, there are also the religious congregations: Among the Papal voters are four Salesians (Angelo Amato, Tarcisio Bertone, Raffaele Farina and Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga), three Franciscans (Carlos Amigo Vallejo, Claudio Hummes and Wilfried Fox Napier), two Dominicans (Dominik Duba, Christoph Schoenborn) and a Jesuit (Jorge Mario Bergoglio).
Source Cathcon- blogger won't let me label so many cardinals- for more info on each Cardinals, scroll down on the right to see their labels.