White Smoke And Mirrors

The latest from the Papal betting markets:

Pope Odds

Andrea Tornielli previews Conclave, which begins today:

[W]hen the 115 voters will shut themselves in the Sistine Chapel for the election, a fair number of votes (some mentioned 35, others 40) should go to the Archbishop of Milan, Angelo Scola, who has the support of various European cardinals and a few Americans. If he is elected, the papacy will become Italian again, thirty-five years after the election of John Paul I. Another candidate who should gather a fair amount of consensus is the Archbishop of São Paulo, Odilo Pedro Scherer, a Brazilian with a long experience in the Curia.

Unconfirmed reports on the eve of the Conclave – which of course need to be taken with a pinch of salt – suggest the Brazilian could get 25 votes. A third candidate who might stand out from the beginning is the Canadian Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops who is believed to be able to draw to himself twelve votes from South America and the United States.

Rocco Palmo dismisses the horserace mentality:

The road to a Conclave never begins with a slate of “contenders,” but the discernment of issues and exchange of ideas – in this instance, 115 slates of experiences, philosophies, priorities and concerns on what’s needed most at this moment in history, all weighing a mix of skill-set, background, personal qualities and, yes, image, plus the sliding scale of sending a message to the wider world while, internally, providing the optimal substance of leadership.

In short, the path begins with a question in each elector’s mind: “What is the situation of the church?”  It ends with which melding of those answers in human form can make it to 77.