Catholic World News is providing our list of the top papabile and our current pick as the favorite: Cardinal Ratzinger. We also go through the list of the top 12 or so and discuss why they might be considered and their disadvantages. And for a bonus we provide a list of 3 longshots.
By the way, I’m taking the reports in Italian and British media that purport to tell you how many votes are going one way or the other with a huge grain of salt. For one thing, the cardinals are not supposed to be talking to the media, and I’d be very surprised if any of them are talking to friends, and telling them how they’re going to vote. They’re supposed to be keeping this secret. They’ve even taken an oath binding them to secrecy under pain of excommunication. These are all priests: They’re used to keeping secrets.
As Phil Lawler cautioned last week, it’s most likely that this is speculation or intentional disinformation by someone who doesn’t know anything or it’s someone who’s not supposed to be talking who is talking, and is showing that they can’t keep their oath. And if they can’t keep a sacred oath, what makes them trustworthy in this matter?
So why is this vote-counting already going on? Ironically, one of the same British newspapers engaged in this vote-counting says that liberals who don’t want Ratzinger elected are setting him up. Some of the rumors say that Ratzinger had 60 of the 77 votes needed and could pick up the rest quickly after the first ballot shows how popular he is. Why would they say that? To build up false expectations, they say, so that when the groundswell doesn’t appear, nobody will switch votes to him and they go to another candidate.
Of course, I’m not sure why these rumors are any more believable than the previous ones. The best thing to do is ignore all the rumors. As they say in Rome, “Those who know, don’t speak. Those who speak, don’t know.” The same wild speculation occurred before the last couple of papal elections and they were way off as well. It’s better to just wait and see (and pray).