Italian media predict Scola-Scherer race as conclave start looms
Vatican City - The Italian media on Friday identified two frontrunners for the papal race - Angelo Scola of Italy and Odilo Pedro Scherer of Brazil - as the wait continued for cardinals to set a date for the conclave that will elect the new leader of the Catholic Church.
Cardinals have gathered for the fifth day of General Congregations, a preliminary forum for discussions. They were joined Thursday by the last of the 115 papal electors that had yet to arrive, allowing them to finally decide on when to start the conclave.
"All 115 of the Eligible electors for the next Pope are now in Rome. Hope date for Conclave is set soon. Your prayers are really needed," US Cardinal Roger Mahony wrote on Twitter.
The expectation was that the secluded assembly in the Sistine Chapel could commence no earlier than Tuesday.
According to Vatican experts writing for newspapers La Repubblica and La Stampa, the current leading contenders for the papacy are Scola, the 71-year-old Archbishop of Milan, and Scherer, the 63-year-old Archbishop of Sao Paulo.
Scola, who is said to have the backing of US and German cardinals, is seen as a reformist candidate. He has had only limited dealings with the running of the scandal-prone Roman Curia, the Church’s"government".
Scherer, on the other hand, enjoys the backing of leading Curia cardinals, who are said to be inclined to back the election of a non-European pope on condition that the post of Secretary of State -the Vatican’s second highest in command - be given to a Curia insider.//DPA