Tag Archives: Popes

Consistory 2010 — If There Is To Be A November 20, 2010 Cardinal Creating Consistory

A lot of Consistory 2010 related activity taking place at Popes-and-Papacy in addition to the previously established ‘Consistory Central‘.

There are multiple lists of cardinalabili — including short-lists, even one of just 19, for a November 20, 2010 consistory, if there is to be one. Here is one of the latest lists << here >>.

Also lots of pertinent and pithy comments.

Here is the MENU page for Popes-and-Papacy …. THE MENU PAGE.

So please head over and take a look.


Popes and Papacy Web site & blog by Anura Guruge
Popes and Papacy Web site & blog by Anura Guruge



The All New ‘Popes and Papacy’ Web Site With Integrated Blog

Popes and Papacy, that complements this blog, has been totally revamped.

Rather than just being a blog, the new www.popes-and-papacy.com, is a Web site with an integrated blog and forum. [The forum will be activated soon.]

The Web site section contains dedicated areas for papabili, and errors in books about popes. In time other sections focusing on Papal Facts, Papal Stats etc. will be added. There will also be accurate information as to where the popes are buried. ‘Portals’ for my two papal books, viz. ‘Popes and the Tales of Their Names‘ and ‘The Next Pope‘.

The home page, which will be updated weekly, at a minimum, contains four fixed areas:

  1. The Popes — posting about the popes and papal history.
  2. In Meus Mens (On My Mind) — Views and commentary on contemporary papal issues.
  3. Pope Quotes — set of quotes by or about the popes that will be updated weekly.
  4. Pictorial — popes and papacy related picture; the first being that of the Septizodium in Rome, the site, in 1241, of what may have been the very first conclave with sequestration.
  5. Pope Stats — a new set of pope-related stats, the current ones pertain ‘percentage of life as a pope,’ e.g., John XXIII (#262), who managed to achieve so much during his pontificate, was only pope for less than 5% of his life.

This site will continue to be devoted to papal elections and the electorate; i.e., the electors from the College of Cardinals.

Please visit  www.popes-and-papacy.com on a regular basis since it will be updated more frequently.

Thank you.

Anura Guruge

Popes in the Episcopal Lineage of Papabili & ‘Recent’ Popes

Concept and ALL the research by Mr. Byron Hoover, Papal Expert from Louisiana.

Earlier this week Byron sent me an e-mail asking whether I realized that Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, #7 in my 2009 papabili list, had seven popes in his episcopal lineage — and that this was more than what any of the other papabili had in their lineage. I did not know that. So I asked Byron, who had also helped me with research into popes who had ‘third order’ relationships with religious orders, whether he could research this for me — since I was heads-down researching three other papal topics.

Byron very kindly did so.

He noted that Clement XIII, Benedict XIV and Benedict XIII appear in the lineage of many of the recent popes and as well those cardinals in my list of papabili. He also pointed out that per Catholic tradition the Popes are the successors of St. Peter and the bishops are the successors of the Apostles.

I took Byron’s data and created two graphical matrices that show the popes that appear in the episcopal lineages: the first for my top ten papabili and the other for the last 15 popes. This data is all Byron’s work. Thank you, Byron.

But here are some caveats and notes pertaining to this data and the matrices.

1. The lineages shown here focus exclusively on consecrating bishops who would be or were popes.
2. A bold ‘P’ denotes consecration done by a pope. Most were done before they became pope.
3. In most cases there would have been other bishops in the lineage.
4. For complete lineages please refer to the excellent Catholic Hierarchy portal.
Salvador Miranda, the Cardinal expert, also pointed me to this site by Charles Bransom.
5. We do not have data going beyond the 16th century. So the lineages are not complete!

1. I included sequence numbers, e.g., 261, to provide perspective.
2. I also underlined, in bold, gaps in the sequence of popes.
3. In the ‘Pope’ matrix the ‘X’ denotes that pope’s name within the lineage lineup (below).

This study is much too narrow to tell us whether having popes in ones episcopal lineage is a ‘leading indicator’ as to ones chances of becoming pope. Obviously Pius XI, who was an unexpected long shot, didn’t have any in his lineage.

The incidence of Clement XIII, Benedict XIV and Benedict XIII intrigued me. But, I think we now have the answer. You can read the details either at the Charles Bransom Web site or on Wikipedia under ‘Pope Benedict XIII.’ Mr. Branson even gives it a name: ‘Rebiban Succession’ — since it has to do with Sicilian Cardinal Scipione Rebiba who was consecrated a bishop in March 1541 and created a cardinal in 1555. Wikipedia states (and we know much of their data needs to be verified against other sources) that Cardinal Rebiba appears in over 91% of the episcopal lineages of the current Catholic bishops (who number around 4,000)! [I cannot vouch for the veracity of this claim.] Pope Benedict’s lineage included Cardinal Rebiba. He, a Dominican friar to begin with, was consecrated a bishop in 1675. He became pope in 1724 and reigned till February 1730. He was, thus, a bishop for 55 years. During that time he consecrated at a minimum 139 bishops in Italy, Germany, France, England and in the new Latin American countries. Cardinal Rebiba and Pope Benedict XIII between them, thus, redefined episcopal lineages in many sees across the world. So this trend.

Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga’s ‘seven popes’ is noteworthy (and I have to add that Byron is hoping that this will prove to be a good omen since he is hoping that this charismatic cardinal does better than what my rankings suggest).

So here are the two matrices.



Hope you enjoyed this. Thank you again Byron.

Grace, and may peace be with you all.

Anura Guruge

Papabili Names — What They Mean, Part II (of II)

We looked at the names of the first five papabili, viz. Odilo Pedro Scherer (Archbishop of São Paulo, Brazil), Ennio Antonelli (President, Council for the Family, Vatican curia), Marc Ouellet (Archbishop of Québec, Canada), Wilfrid Fox Napier (Archbishop of Durban, South Africa), and Angelo Scola (Patriarch of Venice, Italy), in Part I.

So in this posting we focus on the other five, viz. Philippe Xavier Barbarin (Archbishop of Lyon, France), Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga (Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras), Christoph Schönborn (Archbishop of Vienna, Austria), Agostino Vallini (Vicar General of Rome, Italy), and José da Cruz Policarpo (Patriarch of Lisbon, Portugal).

‘Philippe’ is a variant of ‘Philip,’ originally a Greek name, and means horse lover. ‘Philip’ is a name that was widely used by French royalty and nobility. ‘Xavier,’ which is popular in Spain and in SW France, means bright or splendid. We haven’t had any popes with these names, or variants — whether as a prior name or a papal name.

[My friend Byron Hoover, with his vast knowledge of papal history sent me an email after reading this post pointing out that there was an antipope named ‘Philip’ in 768 who reigned for about 24 hours between July 30 and 31! J.N.D. Kelly, the godfather of modern papal historians, claims in his ‘Oxford Dictionary of Popes‘ that Philip should not be regarded as either a pope or antipope. I have, in general, ignored antipopes when it comes to papal names — only paying some heed to the three named ‘John,’ in an effort to clarify the numbering (i.e., ordinals) issues to do with the popes of that name. That an antipope had this name in no ways detracts from the Archbishop of Lyon’s chances of becoming elected. There are about 39 acknowledged antipopes. The third of these was Felix II. That, after Xystus/Sixtus II, was the 2nd repeated name. But it didn’t count since he was an ‘anti.’ But we have had two more named ‘Felix‘ since.]

We have, however, had two popes with ‘horse’ related names. These being: Conon (which I think may mean little horse) and Clement VIII whose birth name ‘Ippolito’ meant free, galloping horse. Philippe Xavier’s and Óscar Rodríguez’s names got me thinking. I could be wrong, but I have to think that when they were born, their parents, in their wildest dreams, never thought their sons, one day, would be papabili — and possibly even be the pope. I guess most parents don’t even want to tempt fate by thinking that far ahead. If they did, they might have chosen more propitious names, just in case.

From what I can see of ‘recent’ popes and the latest papabili, the only two sets of parents that might have thought, very sotto voce at that, that their sons may one day be popes would have been those of Pius XII and Paul VI. Pius XII’s father and grandfather had long and distinguished ties the Vatican, but there were no clerics in the immediate family circle. The name they gave him, ‘Eugenio,’ meaning well born, and a name used by three prior popes, was certainly auspicious if indeed he was to ever be elected pope. He was, on his 63rd birthday. Paul VI’s father, a lawyer, journalist and parliamentary politician, was actively involved with the lay, ‘Catholic Action’ movement. Given that they sent him to a Jesuit run school there is a possibility that they may had hoped that their son would prosper within the Church hierarchy. The name he was given, ‘John,’ was a good papal name though it hadn’t been used for a very long time at the time of Paul VI’s birth. John XXIII’s parents, sharecroppers, though they gave him an angelic name, probably never imaged that their firstborn would leave the homestead to become a priest.

‘Oscar’ is said to be an Old English name alluding to the spear of the gods. In Gaelic it is said to mean friend of the deer. ‘Oscar’ does not appear in the papal rolls in any form. But we do have some names to do with spears. These being: We have had ‘Gerbert,’ Silvester II, which means glittering spear, ‘Suidger,’ Clement II, that could have meant own a spear and ‘Gérard,’ Nicholas II, meaning brave spear carrier. So we have had the Roman god of war and spear carriers.

‘Christoph,’ a variant of the Greek ‘Christopher,’ obviously has to do with ‘Christ’ and means bearing Christ inside. It is a great name for a papabili or pope, especially since there is a marked shortage of ‘Christ’ related names in the papal rolls — the only possible one being ‘Sergius,‘ servant (of Christ), and I am not even sure that we have that derivation right. In my book I have a question mark (‘?’) against that meaning. [But there was, for 4 fleeting months between September 903 and Januray 904, an antipope named ‘Christoper.’ But as I mentioned earlier I don’t count ‘antis.’ Must be my technical background. For me at least, it is difficult, to quantify and count something that we by definition say didn’t happen — i.e., an antipope. That is why, by and large, I ignore them.]

Yes, we have a savior, ‘Soter,‘ and resurrection, ‘Anastasius.‘ We also have quite a few ‘God’ based names, for example, John, Zacharias, Theodore and Theophylactus. But nothing even close to a ‘Christoph.’ So, if he does become pope, I think it would be neat if he decides to retain his birth name à la Marcellus II, 454 years ago. John Paul I, in 1978, showed, with aplomb, that it is perfectly permissible for a pope to be innovative when it comes to choosing a regnal name.

‘Agostino,’ is Italian, and means majestic. It is a powerful, evocative name. Despite its roots, it is also another new name vis-à-vis the papal rolls. But we have had names such as Victor, Stephen (peaceful ruler) and Alexander (famed throughout the land).

‘José,’ is the Spanish for ‘Joseph,’ which means the Lord will add (or increase). The current pope Benedict XVI‘s birth name was ‘Joseph.’ The Italian form of it ‘Giuseppe’ was the birth name of Pius X. Having the same name as the current pope will not be an impediment for the Patriarch of Lisbon. We have had instances of successive popes with the same birth name, e.g., Clement XIV and Pius VI (Giovanni) and Paul IV and Pius IV (yet again, Giovanni).

So that is what we have in terms of the names of my top ten papabili. Hope you enjoyed it.

Thank you for your time.

Anura Guruge

Grace, and may peace be with you.

Papabili Names — What They Mean, Part I (of II)

Given that I am associated with the analysis of Papal names, it would be remiss of me if I did not study the names of my top ten papabili list for 2009 and make some comments on names.

My top ten, in order, as they appear in popes-and-papacy.com are: Odilo Pedro Scherer (Archbishop of São Paulo, Brazil), Ennio Antonelli (President, Council for the Family, Vatican curia), Marc Ouellet (Archbishop of Québec, Canada), Wilfrid Fox Napier (Archbishop of Durban, South Africa), Angelo Scola (Patriarch of Venice, Italy), Philippe Xavier Barbarin (Archbishop of Lyon, France), Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga (Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras), Christoph Schönborn (Archbishop of Vienna, Austria), Agostino Vallini (Vicar General of Rome, Italy), and José da Cruz Policarpo (Patriarch of Lisbon, Portugal).

I published my list on December 11, 2008 and documented some of my justifications here. That was two months ago. Since then I have done a ton more of research on my top ten, and written up my findings. I am relieved to say that I am still ‘OK’ with my list – though I will confess to being torn between Cardinals Maradiaga and Scherer as to who is best qualified to be the leading Latin American candidate. For now, I will stick with my original rankings.

At one point I was even weighing the pros and cons of being from Brazil vs. Honduras. My father worked for UNESCO for 17 years and during that time I got to learn that there are times when it pays to be from a smaller country. Lets wrap this up by remembering that we have had eight Secretaries-General of the UN, since its formation in 1945. They have come from: Norway, Sweden, Burma, Austria, Peru, Egypt, Ghana and South Korea.

This out of the way, let’s start looking at the names. None of them, as far as I can tell, are related to prior popes. So I will begin with the birth names of the first five – in order. I will write about the next five and my ideas about what assumed names they may select in two other posts – within the next few days.

‘Odilo,’ is Germanic, and means rich [with Cardinal Scherer’s family being of Germanic origin]. That is a good name for the Cardinal who has indeed led a rich life of devotion and service. We have not had any popes whose birth name was ‘Odilo.’ But we have had two ‘Odos’, viz. Urban II and Martin V, were ‘Odo’ comes from the German for waelthy.

Since I do not study middle names, nor put too much stock in the so called St. Malachy prophecies (though I did mention them in my Pope Names book), I had not given any attention to his middle name being ‘Pedro’ – i.e., ‘Peter.’

Even if you subscribe to St. Malachy’s contested (believed to be a later addition), last prophecy about ‘Peter the Roman,’ it is going to be quite a stretch to associate that appellation to Odilo Scherer. For a start it is his middle name. Though he did live in Rome between 1994 and 2001, working for the Congregation of Bishops, one could hardly call him ‘Roman.’ He is Brazilian, of German origin. That would be like calling me French because I lived in Paris for awhile!

‘Ennio,’ from the Latin ‘Ennius,’ means predestined or favorite of God. We haven’t had any popes with this name or those whose names in Greek or Hebrew meant the same. But we have had a famous ‘Enea,’ viz. Pius Pius II.

‘Marc’ is the shortened French form of the Latin ‘Marcus’ – a name derived from, and honoring, the Roman god of war Mars. We have had four popes whose names invoke Mars. They are: St. Marcellinus, St. Marcellus I, St. Mark and Marcellus II. The first two on this list were consecutive popes, while Marcellus II [1555] has the distinction of being the last pope not to have assumed a new name – his birth name having been ‘Marcello.’ Marcellinus, Marcellus and Mark, in the case of the first three, were either birth or priestly names. Since the reigns of these three popes were between 296 and 336 we really do not have anything more specific as to their names. I know that most Catholic parent’s oft for Mark in honor of St. Mark, but I often wonder if they know the real derivation of the name.

As I talk about in my Pope Name book, the first known pope to have assumed a papal name, i.e., John II, did so because his birth name ‘Mercurius’ referred to the Roman messenger god. He thought the name was inapporiate for a pope. But the last pope, to date , retain his birth name propogated, without any apparent sense of irony, the name of the Roman war god.

Pictures of Ripon Cathedral from my 2003 Calendar
Pictures of Ripon Cathedral from my 2003 Calendar

‘Wilfrid’ is a variant of ‘Wilfred’ and means desiring peace. We haven’t had a pope with this name or its equivalent, in any language. It is a promising name. If elected pope, maybe he will opt to retain it given its germaneness in today’s world [John Paul I, in 1978, demonstrating that it is ‘OK’ to be innovative when it comes to papal names]. There is a well revered English Saint, St. Wilfrid — associated with one of my favorite places in the world, Ripon. The cardinal probably got his name from this Saint. There are many British organizations and charities associated with this Saint — some of which have strong relations with South Africa. So this may be the connection. ‘Fox’ is also new to the papal lexicon, where this name is believed to have been given to babies born with red hair.

‘Angelo’ means angel and refers to the messenger of God. Most people probably know that the beloved, Blessed John XXIII was Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli. But most probably don’t know that Gregory XII [1406-1415] was Angelo Correr (or Corrario). Pius IV [1559-1565] was Giovanni (Gian) Angelo de Medici. Innocent XIII [1721-1724] was Michelangelo dei Conti while Pius VI [1775-1799] was Giovanni Angelo Braschi. Just in case you were wondering Cardinal Angelo Scola was born in November 1941, seventeen years before Angelo Roncalli became pope.

Part II dealing with the other five papabili to follow shortly. Promise.

Thank you for your time.

Grace, and may peace be with you.

Anura Guruge

College of Cardinals — Representation/Size of Constituency (July 20, 2009)

< Updated on February 8, 2010 .>

When compiling my breakdown of the College of Cardinals I realized that only Italy (with 19) had more electors in the College than the U.S.A. (with 13). I knew that some of the Latin American countries certainly had more Catholics than the U.S. So I did some checking and analysis.

Per the 2008 Annuario Pontificio (Vatican’s ‘Pontifical Handbook’) there are ~1.1 billion Catholics around the World.

Then, I found a convenient breakdown of the number of Catholics per country, albeit as 0f 2005, on Wikipedia (and for this study, this was good enough).

Then, per my wont, I went ahead and set up an Excel spreadsheet so I could do some analysis.

Let us start with Brazil, the country with the largest Catholic population (~137 million). Brazil thus has 12.8% of the World’s Catholics. But Brazil only has 8 cardinals in total in the current College, with 4 under the age of 80 (and thus eligible to vote at a conclave) and 4 that are over 80.

Per my updated posts of July 20, 2009 on the breakdown of the College, we currently have a total of 185 cardinals, 113 under the age of 80. This means that Brazil despite its 12.8% of the worldwide constituents only has a total of 4.3% representation in the College — and only 3.5% of the electors.

Mexico, the country with the 2nd largest Catholic population, is also underrepresented by cardinals. Though Mexico has 7.8% of the world’s Catholics, they also only have 4 electors (i.e., 3.5%).

U.S.A., with ~71 million, has the fourth largest Catholic population, representing 6.6% of the world total. But there are 16 U.S. cardinals, i.e., 8.5%.

So here is a breakdown of the top 9 Catholic countries:

While I still had the spreadsheet up on one of my monitors, I decided I might as well go the extra step and do a few more calculations, especially because I knew the results will surprise a few of you.

Based on the 2005 Catholic population estimates, the breakdown of the Catholics per key ‘regions’ is as follows, with the percentage of cardinal electors for that region shown within (parenthesis):

  • Europe
    (inc. Ukraine, Lituania, the Balkans etc.) – 26% (50%)
  • Latin America – 41% (17%)
  • U.S.A & Canada – 8% (14%)
  • Africa – 12% (8%)
  • Asia – 11% (9%)
  • Oceania – 0.7% (2%)

Church prelates are aware of this ‘population’ breakdown, and have been now for quite awhile. Hence, my pick of Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, a high-profile, 60 year old from Brazil, as my top 2009 pick for papabili.

Hope this helps.

Thank you for your time.

Anura Guruge

Next Pope — Papabili List for 2009

You can find my top 10 papabili (pl. papabile) list for 2009 at: popes-and-papacy.

Since my book, I get quite a few queries as to who I think the next pope will be, after Pope Benedict XVI, and the new name they are likely to assume. In the past, per this BLOG entry, I have been sending people over to Paddy Power and the online betting ‘book’ they maintain.

This weekend, within the context of the new book I am writing, I spent a lot of time researching the potential papabili. During the course of this, ever mindful of the dangers of speculating on papal succession, I realized that I had no option but to come up with a new list. So I did.

I made a few key assumptions when selecting my set of cardinals and ranking them. These were:

  • The next pope, for essentially secular political reasons, is unlikely to be from the U.S.A.
  • The next pope is unlikely to be from Germany given that Pope Benedict XVI is German.
  • The next pope, when elected, is unlikely to be over 75 years in age.

So have a look at the list. Feel free to use either of the BLOGs as a forum for your comments and feedback. I am all ears.

Many thanks for your time. Merry Christmas and may 2009 shower you with all that is wonderful in life.

Anura Guruge