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Papabile

From Academic Kids

Papabile (plural: Papabili) is an unofficial Italian term first coined by Vaticanologists and now used internationally in many languages to describe cardinals of whom it is thought likely or possible that they will be elected pope. A convenient English translation would be "popeable", "one worthy of the position of pope" or "possible (or likely) successor to the pope".

Among the papabili cardinals who were elected pope are Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli (Pius XII), Giovanni Cardinal Montini (Paul VI), and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Benedict XVI). Being seen as papabile, however, is no guarantee of election, and is sometimes seen as a handicap. Giuseppe Cardinal Siri was widely expected to be elected pope in the 1958 conclave. Instead Angelo Cardinal Roncalli, an utterly unexpected choice, was elected and became Pope John XXIII. Similarly Giovanni Cardinal Benelli was widely expected to be elected pope in both the August and October 1978 conclaves. In fact he was defeated in both (narrowly the second time). In August, another candidate few saw as papabile, Albino Cardinal Luciani, was elected and became Pope John Paul I. This has led to a wry saying among Vaticanologists, "He who enters the conclave as papabile, leaves it as a cardinal."

As the cardinals age, the "list" of papabili changes as well. For instance Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini was thought to be papabile a few years ago, but now he has given up his see (Milan) upon reaching 75 years of age. As a result, few cite him as papabile today. A few years ago, Pope John Paul II joked about the papabili, "The man who will succeed me as pope hasn't yet been made a cardinal." (As his successor was named a Cardinal before John Paul II became Pope, this proved incorrect).

The list of papabili in the 2005 papal conclave shows who was considered papabile at the death of John Paul II. As Pope Benedict XVI was one of the oldest men on the list, most men on the list remain among his potential successors, but the "papability" of those on it will tend to wane as time goes on.


See also

External links

nl:Papabile pl:Papabile

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