Juan Pablo II nombró a casi todos los cardenales actuales, pero eso no quiere decir que su sucesor será como él dice Newsday. Los cardenales forman parte de un mundo muy diverso, y así son ellos. Y muchas veces tienen puntos de vista contradictorios. Pero todos saben que el próximo Papa estará en un mundo muy diferente que en el que vivió Karol Wojtyla. Un fragmento:
"The next pope will confront a range of challenges, including scientific advances that conflict with Catholic teaching; the decline of religious observance in Europe and North America; an explosion in church membership in the Third World; and a dwindling number of priests in the West.
He will be taking over at a time of sometimes deadly interfaith tensions, and during a period of enormous global unrest, as world leaders confront terrorism in ways the church does not always condone. Yet when the cardinals decide who among them can handle these issues, some of their concerns may seem mundane.
After a quarter-century of John Paul's strong personality and hands-on management style, some want Vatican officials to stay out of the day-to-day operations of dioceses. Others believe officials in Rome should stay deeply involved to crack down on dissent.
Some church leaders believe cardinals and bishops should have more say in church governance, while others think that power should remain mostly with the pope. In simple terms, the new pope could be the kind of boss the cardinals want for themselves.
They also will look for a man with a strong command of English and Italian, to communicate with the world's Catholics and with church officials in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Vatican.
Age may also be a factor. John Paul's papacy of 26 years has been one of the longest in church history, and the cardinals may back an older candidate as a "transitional pope" -- someone whose tenure may not be quite so long.
"Most cardinals don't think a really long papacy will be a good idea," said James Hitchcock, a historian and church expert at Saint Louis University. "But with modern medicine if they elect a man who is 70, he could live until he was 95."
Geography also will influence the vote. John Paul was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. Vatican observers disagree over whether there will be pressure in the conclave to return the papacy to an Italian, or whether they will want to send a signal to the burgeoning ranks of Catholics in the Third World by choosing an African or Latin American candidate.
"This is one of the real dividing lines they're going to have to consider," said David Gibson, a former Vatican Radio newsman and author of "The Coming Catholic Church."
"If they just go back to an elderly Italian, it will be a kind of let down from the intensity of this papacy. Or they may say, `Look, let's keep this interest going, we went behind the Iron Curtain last time, let's go to Latin America this time.'"
Nota: Rubén Amón, el bloguero de El Mundo desde el Vaticano cree que será Joseph Ratzinger el sucesor, lo mismo que publicó Time el 10 de enero pasado. Si eso sucede, la iglesia católica regresará en el tiempo muchos muchos años, mientras el mundo la deje atrás.