by Anura Guruge
What will hurt his chances of being the Next Pope is WHAT he criticized Benedict for — i.e., that he was RESIGNING, which he did not think was appropriate. To be fair I agree with Pell on this. Pope should NOT resign. They should soldier on, despite any and all adversity, as did John Paul II.
So what is the problem?
The problem is that Pell has, with his criticism, indicated that there is NO CHANCE that he would resign — IF he were to become pope.
So, if Pell becomes pope he would stay pope till the end, as have so, so many other popes.
There are two ways that we could be in need of a NEW pope.
1/ Pope Francis, as he has intimidated many times, exploiting Benedict’s recent precedent, retires soon after he turns 80 — on December 17, 2016.
2/ Something happens to Pope Francis.
In the retirement scenario, George Pell will be 75.6 years old at the time of the conclave.
IF something happens to Francis prior to his 80th birthday, George Pell will be younger than 75.6.
A man that looks as robust as Pell could easily live into his mid-80s if not longer.
That means that if elected when he is 75, Pell could be pope for 10 years or more — GIVEN that he will not resign.
And that is the problem.
Today’s cardinals do not appear to want another long pontificate. Since John Paul II they have only elected popes that are older than 75.
So something to think about.