While it may be fun to pontificate about who the favorite is at this point in time, as Fr. Robert Sirico of Sacred Heart Parish in Grand Rapids, Michigan so aptly put it: “anyone who tells you there is a ‘front-runner’ simply does not know what he is talking about.”
Whoever the next pope will be, I think we’ll get a clear sense for the direction the Church wants to go, especially when it comes to the Vatican’s relationship with the SSPX. As Catholic News Agency columnist Louis Verrecchio has written, “we will know what the immediate future holds for the Church based upon just one observation; namely, the liturgical mindset of Pope Benedict’s successor.”
I’ll let other CatholicVote contributors discuss what each possible successor brings to the table, but at the time this post went live, the online prediction website Intrade has Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana as the frontrunner with a 25% chance of becoming the next pope. Followed by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi at 21.9%, the Archbishop of Milan Angela Scola at 17.1%, Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Canada at 12.5%, and Cardinal Frances Arinze of Nigeria at 4.5%.
I don’t condone betting on who the next pope will be, nor do I think there is a favorite at this time, but most would conclude that these are the likeliest candidates to succeed Pope Benedict.