Thai cardinal won't attend Vatican conclave for vote
Thai Cardinal Michael Meechai Kitbunchu will not take part in the papal conclave at the Vatican on February 28 because of his advanced age, said Father Dr Banchong Santisukniran.Banchong, director of the Literature Centre at Salesnian, was speaking in an interview aired on Krunthep Turakij Television yesterday. Cardinal Meechai is 84.
A total of 120 cardinals from 59 countries will attend the conclave, which will select the 266th pope following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, who announced his resignation on Monday, effective February 28, Banchong said. He said it was likely that the next Pope would not be from a European country, as the Catholic faith is growing strongly outside Europe. Among 14 candidates eligible for the February 28 selection, Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana is considered one of the top contenders. He would be the first black pontiff.
Asked about the qualifications of the next and future popes, Banchong cited all-around academic knowledge, a down-to-earth character, being well-versed in news and global events, and knowledge of modern technology. Potential nominees from Asia include 55-year-old Cardinal Antonio Tagle of the Philippines, who Banchong said meets the qualifications to be pope.