I’m not Catholic but I always enjoy a good old-fashioned Pope election. And this one might turn up something new, like a black Pope from Africa or at least a non-European.Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson was a hot prospect the last time, and he’s already being touted as a frontrunner if the church wants to renew itself. The online betting site, Paddy Power, puts Turkson just behind Canada’s Marc Quellet for best odds. Nigeria’s Cardinal Francis Arinze is also in the running.
Although no Americans are likely to be contenders, the U.S. will have more influence than ever. It’s number of cardinals in the Pope-electing conclave is now second only to Italy. The outgoing Pope added to the U.S. ranks in a move that Vatican watchers called a recognition that Catholicism is no longer a predominantly European religion.