Will we see in our lifetime an American prelate chosen for pope? And if so, who might it be?
“Europe is in crisis, demographically and morally,” he said to me. “For this and other reasons, it may be time, in the not-too-distant future, for an American Pope. A possible candidate will have to have had a strong formation, perhaps in one of the traditional religious orders. . . .”
Then he looked at me intently. “It may be time,” he said, “for a cappucino.”
What Potemra misses is that this could be a veiled reference to one of the most influential religious-order Archbishops in the United States: Abp. Charles Chaput of Denver (who is a Capuchin franciscan).
The other most likely option is Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley of Boston, who is also a Capuchin franciscan. This is probably who Fr. “Jeremiah” is referring to. I confess to not knowing as much about +O’Malley as the other prelates I mention in this post. He has been warm and generous when I have met him personally but he is not without his critics when it comes to how he has ministered to the very troubled Archdiocese of Boston.
Francis Cardinal George of Chicago remains another strong American papal possible. He is a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and is the former President of the USCCB. This is most probably not who Fr. “Jeremiah” was referring to with his cappuccino reference. I am very impressed by +George’s writings, most particularly his most recent book God In Action, which I am reading now.
Back to +Chaput, the more I think about it, the more extraordinary I think it would be if he were chosen, especially since he is not a cardinal (nor would I expect him to be appointed as one any time soon). I’m not sure how long it has been since a non-cardinal was chosen for pope (anyone?).
Another likely choice from out of the American cardinal pool would be Abp. Timothy Dolan of New York (who is also not a cardinal, but for him it is only a matter of time). Especially now that he has been chosen and is serving as President of the USCCB, and appears to be doing so creatively so far.
Another possibility for an American pope would be Raymond Cardinal Burke, currently serving as the head of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome (basically the highest canon law court in the Church).
Could one of these five American prelates be chosen as the first American pope some time in our lifetime?
Come, Holy Spirit!
(I should add that, in the meantime, I remain perfectly content praying for the long life and continued good health of Pope Benedict.)