Because I'm bored, my mind is wandering. I'm sitting here thinking about who will be the next pope. It's an exercise in futility (in terms of predicting anything), but I'm going to write what I'm thinking as a way of preparing myself for what's to come. Maybe what I'm thinking will resonate with others, or maybe others will have their own ideas, but the point is that it's worth reflecting on if one is concerned about the Church and seeks to embrace whoever the Holy Spirit chooses. Below, I have broken things down by a few basic categories, moving from likely to improbable, yet possible, of course. Links are to John Allen's excellent coverage of this conclave.
The Realistic Choice... would be Cardinal Scola or Cardinal Oullet. Just slightly less realistic but one who still checks all the boxes is Cardinal Erdo.
The Geographically Creative, Yet Solid Choice... would be Cardinal Scherer or Cardinal O'Malley. I'm going to include Cardinal Turkson in this group as well.
The High Risk/High Reward, Energetic and Exciting Choice... would be Cardinal Dolan or Cardinal Tagle.
This is pretty much how I think it will be. While it could be Cardinal Bagnasco (whom I'd put at the end of group one above) or Cardinal Ravasi (whom I'd put in his own category, somewhere very near the last group in terms of being slightly unconventional), my gut says no. I'd be pretty surprised if our next pope isn't one of these guys, and several were in my Survivor: Sistine Chapel finale as well (I finished writing that series of posts much too long ago - within days of the pope's announcement, and my thoughts have changed considerably).
If today I had to rank just these men in terms of who I'd most like to see walk out on that balcony sometime next week, my rankings would stand this way:
10. Scherer - I would feel slightly disappointed, but "ok."
9. Ravasi - I would think, "hmm, interesting."
8. Turkson - I would think it kind of cool, and would hope for some African straight-talking.
7. O'Malley - I would be happy, as an American, and interested in getting to know him better.
6. Tagle - I would be fascinated by the choice and very curious to see it play out.
5. Bagnasco - I would feel very content.
4. Scola - Ditto.
3. Erdo - I would be content and intrigued.
2. Oullet - I would feel very content.
1. Dolan - I would be drenched in tears of joy and rinse off with beer brewed by Belgian monks.
*It goes without saying that Cardinals Burke, Ranjith, Canizares, and even Piacenza would be very high on my list if I thought they had much chance.