|Cardinal Marc Ouellet|
Two of the other often-mentioned possible popes are Africans, and another is Argentinian.
Under the very conservative Pope Benedict, the Catholic Church seems to have lost relevance in the eyes of many young people thru its blanket opposition to abortion, gay marriage and other progressive social ideas. But if some hope that a non-European pope could make the Catholic Church more progressive, Ouellet probably won't bring that. His Wikipedia entry says that he's an extreme opponent of abortion, even in the case of rape, and a critic of the progressive Second Vatican Council, which contributed to the progressive Liberation Theology movement popular in Colombia in the 1960s.
If the Catholic church's actions in Colombia are any indication of Ouellet's ideas, it's not encouraging. The church recently placed a gag order on a Colombian Jesuit priest for questioning the Virgin Mary's virginity, amongst other heresies. The Colombian Catholic hierarchy has also stuck to unyieldingly conservative positions on subjects like gay rights, contraception, abortion and euthenasia and tried to stamp out the last vestiges of the Liberation Theology movement.
It's hard to imagine that the Catholic Church isn't opening a huge breach between itself and the young people who must be its future.
It's hard to imagine that the Catholic Church isn't opening a huge breach between its Eurocentric mentality and the developing world, which must be its future.
It's still likely that the next pope will be European, as every previous pope has been, simply because most of the cardinals, who elect the pope are European. In fact, 28 cardinals are from Italy alone - more than from all of the Americas, or Africa and Asia combined. This despite the fact that there are far more Catholics in Latin America than in Europe, where the number of Catholics is declining. And it is despite the fact that European nations have generally become more secular, and in many cases legalized gay marriage, abortion and euthenasia, while most Latin American nations have stayed true to Catholic values - at least in their legal systems.
And many African nations are even more conservative on social issues.
That's why a non-European pope might not be a more progressive move for the Catholic Church.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours