Sunday, March 10, 2013

"I have seen the new Pope"-Papabile preach in Rome

On the Sunday before the conclave, many Cardinals visit their titular churches. An opportunity for believers and the media to take a look at perhaps the next Pope.

I saw the new Pope. Maybe. Sunday morning in Sant 'Andrea al Quirinale. The small church, which was built in the 17th century to the design of Bernini, is jam-packed. Behind the ranks of the faithful, camera crews and photographers jostle. In front of the altar is Odilo Pedro Scherer, "Papabile number one", as he is described  by an Italian colleague. The Archbishop of Sao Paulo in Brazil, the largest Catholic city in the world, is said to be  considered one of the favorites at the beginning of the conclave on Tuesday  which will choose the successor to Benedict XVI. Every cardinal, no matter where in the world he is a resident, presides over the parish of a  Church in Rome, havubg a so-called titular church. The Cardinals are prohibited from mounting an election campaign in the traditional sense. Nevertheless, the titular churches on Sunday offered forums to propagate one or another message.

The parish of Sant'Andrea al Quirinale and the world press experience there a friendly,heart warming ecclesiastic. Scherer, who has family roots in the Saarland is not a substantial, but talks very directly and looks very self-awar. He preaches freely, his voice is strong, his gesticulating rightly reflects his temperament. The 63-year-old is at the lectern and keeps the attention of the parish as he interprets the Gospel about the lost son. In it, the father joyfully greeted the young man who has wasted over the years the inheritance paid to him, which angered the brother who always worked at his father's side. The father is kind and understanding, assured Scherer, and thus indirectly conveys his understanding of the office of the Holy Father. "Il Papa", both personal Father and as Pope appeared in the speech according to many which the Cardinal gives  in fluent Italian. He speaks his native language Portuguese, German and English.

Scherer or Scola?
"Let us pray for the Holy Spiritto to send a man to the Church who can lead them in the footsteps of the great Popes of the last 150 years," prayed, meanwhile, Angelo Scola in his titular church, the Basilica of "Holy Apostles". Milan's Cardinal is considered no less "papabile".   Observers in Rome  do not rule out Cardinals Scherer and Scola obtaining the most votes in the first round on Tuesday, even though that will not be officially known as the ballots are burned. The man from Brazil is seen as  friendly, Scola perceived as having more of a certain severity. Both churchmen depend for their support on particular factions within the Conclave.

Behind Scherer are mainly representatives of the Roman Curia. He was from 1994 to 2001 at the Congregation for Bishops in the Vatican. He is well connected in Rome. Even the more liberal forces in the 115 voting cardinals seem to lean toward the  South American. He is considered an ecclesiastic who can inspire the masses, a fisher of men and just likeable. His critics as well as national media, however see him as closely tied to the Vatican Curia, fearing that he would not succeed as Pope in introducing the reforms considered necessary. Scherer is seen as  promising material by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals and his followers, who fear losing their influence in the Vatican.