Papabili: the Europeans

Schoenborn, Tauran, Erdo tipped

Papabili: the Europeans

(by Denis Greenan). Rome, March 11 - Here are penpix of the three Europeans touted as successors to Benedict. CHRISTOPH SCHOENBORN (AUSTRIA) Archbishop of Vienna, 67, son of a Bohemian count, this polyglot theological heavyweight and urbane preacher, seen as Benedict's intellectual heir, is respected by Jews, Muslims and Orthodox Christians and has stressed the need for new evangelisation, although he is not on Twitter. Has broken ranks to openly call for Church reform and has taken a very tough stance on priest sex abuse, but despite this has struggled to curb a rebellion by progressive-minded Austrian priests. Some think his chances were hurt when he reportedly estranged the powerful Dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano, and he is said lack the dexterity needed to unlock doors in the Curia. Has said, during the height of the priestly rebellion, that if he stepped out of line with the Church he would "lead our diocese into a schism...all possibilities are open". JEAN-LOUIS TAURAN (FRANCE) President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and former Vatican 'foreign minister', the 69-year-old Bordeaux-born career bureaucrat would be the first French pontiff in 635 years. An unpretentious personality with a wry sense of humor and a wide network of friends, he is an old Vatican hand who knows where the bodies are buried. Tweets regularly. His term as Secretary for Relations with States from 1990 to 2003 is remembered as perhaps the Vatican's recent apex of influence on world affairs, when its word really counted. He has been on the front lines of virtually all the world's major hotspots for the last three decades But he has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease after a history of health scares, zero pastoral experience, and a delicate personality at a time when many cardinals are seeking a strong governor. Also seen as a man of detente with an increasingly secular world - not what many cardinals believe the situation requires. Has publicly thanked Muslims for "bringing God back into public debates in Europe". He recently said the next pope should be "very open to dialogue with cultures and religions", be prepared to reform the Curia, and be somewhere between 65 and 70. PETER ERDO (HUNGARY) Archbishop of Budapest, 59, Erdo has twice been elected the president of European bishops' conference, and roughly half the cardinals who will elect the next pope are Europeans. A staunch traditionalist on doctrine. A canon lawyer by training, with a very precise mind, he is seen as good at building consensus among different currents and could pick up support in the developing world. But some may wonder if he has the skills and personality to be able to reach out successfully to the wider world. Also, as the fourth-youngest member of the College of Cardinals, questions may be raised about whether his would be an excessively long papacy. Has said, about the needs of the Roma (Gypsy) people, "they have to cope with tough socio-economic conditions and extra efforts are required to evangelize them".

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