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Could the next pope be from Africa or Latin America?
February 11th, 2013
01:18 PM ET

Could the next pope be from Africa or Latin America?

By Eric Marrapodi and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN

(CNN) – Hours after Pope Benedict XVI's resignation announcement Monday, speculation was surging over who might be his successor and what part of the world the new pontiff could be from.

The 118 cardinals who will pick the next pope are also in the running for the job. Those cardinals are from around the globe, but more than half of them hail from European nations, according to Vatican statistics.

Worldwide, the demographic trends among the Roman Catholic Church's nearly 1.2 billion members show a different breakdown, with the church seeing only a trickle of new members in Europe, while membership has grown significantly in Africa.

So this time around, could the pope be from Africa, where growth has surged significantly, or from Latin America, a longtime bastion for the church?

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"It's always one of those exciting things. I bet there will be a line in Vegas, there probably already is," said Randall Woodard, an associate professor of theology at Saint Leo University.

"Especially based on the growth of Catholicism and ... the geographic shifts that have taken place, a lot of smart money would be on Africa or Central America."

Some stressed that the pope's geographic background shouldn't be a factor.

"All of the questions about nationalities are nonsense," said Michael Sean Winters, a visiting fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies. "There are 118 men, and all of them have gotten to know one another. ... Their questions are going to be 'who can we see in that chair?'"

For many in Italy, the choice is already clear, according to John Allen, CNN's senior Vatican analyst.

"Around the dinner tables today in Rome, Cardinal Angelo Scola has the pole position," Allen said Monday.

Scola, an Italian, is the archbishop of Milan.

Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who heads the Vatican's office of bishops, is also a likely frontrunner, said Allen. And Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, an Argentinian who works as the Vatican prefect overseeing eastern churches, is well-known for his leadership and administrative skills, Allen said.

'The face of Catholicism'

Another top contender for the papacy could be Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, said Woodard, the managing editor of the International Journal of African Catholicism. The 64-year-old cardinal currently heads the pope's council for justice and peace and has experience working with people of different faiths, Woodard said.

"He would be able to respond to global needs and ... the reality of what the face of Catholicism is," Woodard said.

In Brazil - which leads the world with more than 133 million Catholics, according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life - many were buzzing about Benedict's resignation announcement Monday.

"The country has a tradition of Catholicism, and any news related to the pope is very important news in Brazil. ... There are those experts saying that maybe the time has come for a cardinal from the developing world, Africa or Latin America, to ascend to the papacy," said Paulo Sotero, director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.

Catholic faithful gathered at a religious celebration in Brazil's capital Monday said they were surprised by the news of Benedict's resignation and hopeful that Brazilian Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz might be picked for the papacy, the state-run Agencia Brasil news agency reported.

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But choosing the next pope is an issue that must rise above geographic borders, said the Reverend Emmanuel Katongole, a Catholic priest from Uganda's Kampala archdiocese who is an associate professor of theology and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

"Part of the frustration for me is that there is a thinking that Africa's challenges and the opportunities and the interests can only be advanced if we have an African pope," Katongole said. "I find it extremely frustrating when in my vision, the church is a transnational communion of believers whose identity and loyalty cuts across these geopolitical boundaries."

Cardinals prepare to decide

While people outside the church may focus on nationalities and race, within the church's top ranks, cardinals have "a very global vision," Woodard said.

"The pope has to be the visible shepherd of 1 billion Catholics in the world," said Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois. "I don't think going into the conclave the pope has to be of a certain nationality."

Other factors are important, Paprocki said, like the age of the next pope.

"It's a grueling and demanding schedule to keep up with," he said.

Pope Benedict, who is 85 years old, said Monday that he will resign at the end of the month "because of advanced age."

"Strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me," the pope said, according to the Vatican.

Age is also a factor for cardinals. Once a cardinal reaches 80, he is no longer able to participate in the election of the pope or enter the secret conclave where cardinals gather to select the next pope.

Of the 118 cardinals of voting age, 28 are from Italy, 34 are from elsewhere in Europe, 19 are from Latin America, 14 are from the United States and Canada, 11 are from Asia, 11 are from Africa and 1 is from Australia.

Cardinals will meet to choose Benedict's successor sometime after his official resignation on February 28, the Reverend Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said at a news conference.

"Before Easter, we will have the new pope," he said.

Benedict won't be involved in the decision, Lombardi said. But his influence will undoubtedly be felt. Benedict appointed 67 the 118 cardinals who will make the decision.

It's a choice that Cardinal Donald Wuerl said he doesn't take lightly.

"When we go into the conclave, what has to be upper in the minds of all of us is what is God asking of us in making a choice. Who will fill the chair of Peter? And I think that's going to be the only consideration," said Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington. "Who among this body has the qualifications, the characteristics, the spiritual gifts to fill that chair?"

Wuerl told reporters that he was in his study at 5 a.m. Monday preparing a homily for Ash Wednesday when he found out about the pope's decision.

"This is very startling," he said. "I was totally unprepared for it."

Wuerl is a top American contender for the papacy, according to Allen. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, could also be considered, but both Americans would be on the "C or D list" of candidates, Allen said.

While only the church's inner circle will know what goes on inside the conclave, bookmakers were quick to set the odds over who will be the top contenders.

Two online betting sites listed Turkson as a favorite Monday. London-based William Hill plc and Dublin-based Paddy Power both gave him 3-1 odds.

CNN's Michael Pearson, Hada Messia and Kyle Almond contributed to this report.

Full Coverage: The pope resigns

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Africa • Catholic Church • Pope Benedict XVI • South America

soundoff (648 Responses)
  1. JAL

    Africa.

    February 11, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  2. easypeasy

    It’s easy to be atheist. I don’t have to believe anything. I don’t have to follow anything. I can claim to be better than chris tians because I have no sin. Having no sin is a consequence of having no beliefs. I don’t even have to prove that I’m a moral person. I don’t believe in God because I don’t see him. But I expect people to believe me even if they don’t see me, I use a false name, and have not shown any shred of goodness. It’s an easy life.

    We have no teachings whatsover. That's why we have no Bible. We have no sin because there are no rules to break. That's why we can say we are good people.

    February 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      What a self serving load of crap.

      You do not need religion to be a decent person.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Peter

      Chris: "It’s easy to be atheist. I don’t have to believe anything"
      Peter: Do you believe in that? If so, then you do believe in something. Even atheists use natural faith. You have faith your mother is your real mother, yet will never know with 100% certainty. DNA tests, pictures, witnesses, etc. can call be faked, lied, deceived, bribed, etc. To believe this universe with its complexity, order, codes came from nothing by nothing is worse than magic. Magic one has matter. Time, matter and space cannot come from time, matter and space. It is circular reasoning. It is so self-evident that there is a God no man can deny this truth.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      peter
      Your logic isn't.
      I can't explain it is NOT EVEN CLOSE to evidence of a god. SOmething must have doen it, so it must be a god is the most ridiculous thing to say and you cannot defend the leaps of illogic that leads to religion.
      I can give you a thousand other possibilities other than god did it, but since you have bible blinders on you will never see the actual truth. MAN created gos in his own image. Man has created every god (thousands of them, By the way, why don't you believe in the thousands of other gods man has said exist?) , man created every religion, every religious artifact. There is ABSOLUTELY NO logical reason to think that there is some supernatural all powerful creature that created everything.

      As a matter of fact, you must abandon logic and reason in order to beleive...if not, faith would not be required. Faith replaces logic and reason.

      February 11, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  3. Richard Cranium

    Bent
    Unicorns, leprechauns, tooth fairy, santa claus, space aliens that take over humans, fire breathing dragons...all also do not exist. I have no proof...I don't need to prove something doesn't exist. The one claiming it does is the one responsible for the proof.

    February 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Peter

      Richard Cranium: "Unicorns, leprechauns, tooth fairy, santa claus, space aliens that take over humans, fire breathing dragons...all also do not exist. I have no proof...I don't need to prove something doesn't exist. The one claiming it does is the one responsible for the proof."
      Peter: We don't not believe in Santa Claus from a lack of evidence but positive evidence that deer cannot fly, there is no one at the North Pole, logical impossiblity for a man, etc. Technically, these statements are called 'fool's claims' as they have no bearing in metaphysics or reality or debates. One needs evidence for any belief whether the being exists or does not exist. Would you tell Obama that 'Iran has no weapons since the IEAI stated Iran has no nuclear weapons?' Absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence. Prior to the 1950's, did not other galaxy exist before Humble saw them? Do humans need to know for something to exist? If we don't know, it doesn't exist? Is that not presuming we are all-knowing? There is not a single professor of logic on earth that believes 'one cannot prove a negative statement' – a mere internet myth. I can prove in your non-existent. I can prove yours and 7 billion others. I can disprove the sun does not not exist.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Peter
      You said "blah blah blah blah"
      So?

      February 11, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Peter
      You say we don't believe in Santa Claus because " we have positive evidence deer don't fly.
      Using the same argument that religious people use...deer can fly due to Santa's magic...all things are possible through Santa.

      We've not found Santa at the North Pole
      Using the religious argument...the north pole resides in a different dimesion that you cannot perceive, but it's there.

      Logically impossible for a man....
      using the religious argument...he uses his Santa magic and again all thiings are possible.

      Lets continue with the religious argument as it pertains to Santa
      There are thousands of books written about santa...so he must exist.
      Every year, children open presents from Santa, the fact that these presents exist is evidence that Santa exists.
      I hear news broadcasts about Santa's journey around the world on respected news stations, they certainly wouldn't report it if it weren't true, so Santa must exist.
      The Post Office receives millions of letters addressed to Santa....It is a felony for these letters to get to anyone else, and they are all read...so Santa must be known to the post office, so he must exist.
      Santa stories exist in all parts of the world...How did everyone hear about him?...the fact that every story about him contains the same basic info is evidence that he exists.

      Do you see now why the religious arguments of the existance of some supreme being are ridiculous and have no basis in reality?

      February 12, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • RichardC

      Who is "Richard Cranium" ? Have you seen me ? Do you know who I am ? Do you know what I've done in my life ? Do you know if I ever actually did anything good ? Do you know if I even exist ? Of course not. But I expect you to believe me. Surely, you should have the faith to believe in what I say even though you have not seen me. You people should not believe in God because you have not seen him. But you should believe in me even though you have not seen me.

      Christians have a comprehensive moral system. It's written in the Bible. I am atheist and believe that I am better than Chris tians even though I cannot point to a comprehensive moral system. Other than a refusal to believe in God, I have to admit that I have not explained anything else that I believe. I am speechless as far as telling you the other things that I believe in. Nevertheless you should believe that I am a better person than chris tians.

      Trust me. Have faith in me. Believe what I say. Even though you haven't seen me.

      February 12, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  4. Jim

    Be sure to consult the Gelgameks and the Spider Queen first.

    February 11, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  5. Pablo

    A black pope? A woman pope? Why not?

    February 11, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Big Shiz

      Well I'm sure it will be a freemason as it has been all the way back to the mid 1800's when they lifted the ban.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      A female pope is not going to happen. Its against their rules...its considered a sin. They will not ordain a woman for ministry in the Vatican. Those good ol catholic boys will not tolerate it. Which tells you how archaic the whole system is!!!

      February 11, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • VOS

      How about no. We will stick to the white guy thank you very much.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      VOS

      why does he have to be white? Is white better?

      February 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Big Shiz

      @vos, jesus was brown and that's historic fact. Bigot

      February 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • VOS

      No one ever said white is better. But why does the next pope have to be black as previously insinuated above? How about the best person for the job, or can you liberals not handle that.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • VOS

      I know, anyone who says anything but agree that something should be other than white is a bigot, please son. Take your hatred elsewhere little fella.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      VOS

      I don't care what color he is. You said 'we'll stick to the white guy'. Just wondering why you said that? It seems a pretty narrow minded thing to say.

      He could be purple for all I care.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      VOS

      ...and I think maybe people are thinking 'black' because it represents 'change'. There is an opportunity here to possible have something different. I am only guessing that is what people are thinking.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • VOS

      So just b/c he would be black represents change? What if the qualifications better suit someone else other than black? How about a white guy with different and progressive views than the previous pope's before him. That would be change. Why does it take a black guy to represent "change." And I am narrow minded?

      February 11, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      VOS

      true. that would be change. But you said 'we'll stick to the white guys'. Which leads me to believe that perhaps you wouldn't support a black pope?

      And lets look at the last time there WAS a black pope....never. Well they aren't sure...the last one (that might have been black) was in 492. So YEA a black pope would be a change!

      February 11, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  6. USAPeasant

    Forget a pope from Africa or Latin America. What about a pope from the good old USA?

    February 11, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • norman c carr

      And American Pope would be find.What about the cardinal from boston.The one with the white beard.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
  7. ateista

    Christianity is evil. Atheism is the best way.

    "Do you believe in God?" When she replied that she did, "he pulled the trigger,"
    This was Columbine on April 20, 1999. Atheists are just the most moral people on earth.

    February 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • norman c carr

      That has happened to christians many times my friend.Think back to when the early believers were asked to give up there faith of be eaten by lions and burned to death.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Sly

      That's pretty funny ... I think he followed up the question with a little "then I'm sending yo' azz up there to meet Her".

      I think it sounds pretty considerate of that good Christian kid Kleebold ... at least he asked.

      Thank you ateista for a good joke – but no, religious people are not evil, they are just humans like all the rest of us – kinda like the ol' Clint Eastwood movie the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. (Ironic that Clint went from Good to Bad and now he's Ugly ... oh well, that's life in the Big City!).

      February 11, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Elle

      how does your example of Cassie Bernall's death prove anything about atheists being moral? Please elaborate...

      February 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  8. Duke

    Wow, I cannot believe the number of bitter, hateful people commenting on this. I'm not Catholic, but I have a lot more basic respect for him just as a fellow human being than a lot of what I am hearing here. Flawed? Probably. Old? Yes. Out of Touch? Certainly. But not deserving of a lot of the negative feed back I am seeing.

    February 11, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Robert

      You must have respect for Hitler too.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  9. CrossCountry

    I am not remotely religious......but I've always kinda liked the pope.

    Although, you the office of 'pope' seems so archaic. The whole regime is so corrupt. Its like a good ol boys club. Just my 2 cents worth of nothin.

    February 11, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • norman c carr

      Thats what must change in order to save the Church.They must include women and share power with the believers around the world.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      I suppose that's one way to look at it. Woman need more access...even in the Vatican. Shake it up a bit. But lets be realistic...that is not going to happen. Their core beliefs are rooted in bias towards the females (when it comes to them holding seats of power). Mother T was an exception not the rule. And a lovely human she was.

      However, one must believe that the 'Church' is worth saving. I am not so sure that is the answer. Organized religion causes problems and is corrupt to its root.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
  10. Ed T Duck

    I think it's time for a female pope. Hillary 2013 !

    February 11, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
  11. norman c carr

    The young black gentleman from nigeria or someone from asia or latin America could be a great pick for the seat of Saint Peter.Its time for something new.Someone who can bring about healing and make people proud to be Catholic again.They should check their past before they elect them.But we need someone who can bring and era of healing and renewed faith.Amen.

    February 11, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Lil

      Why does he have to be black? No I don't want a black pope. I want a European pope.

      February 12, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
  12. Sly

    Time for a black pope, if you can find any blacks foolish enough to believe in all that crap.

    I'm thinking only white boys really believe in fat men sitting in the clouds.

    February 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • DustyOnes

      There are approximately 135,600,000 millions black Catholics in Africa. Several millions more here in the USA.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • norman c carr

      Sir ,there are millions of Black Catholic.The story of Jesus is a beautiful one.But the church lacks the Gnosis(inner wisdom and knowledge)that it once had where anyone could become one with christ and trully ascend.That was the true gift of christ that has been lost to most christians.I pray the church can recover it for the sake of its own survival.Amen

      February 11, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Sly

      Ok, so there are some black religious folks – but the only color I see in this photo is a bunch of white men in orange dresses.

      I just thought the Pope ran his shop like southern religious folks – you know "whites only". I'm glad he is more inclusive.

      Jesus wouldv'e been black anyhow if there was such a person.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • david benson

      Why are u on here?S T F U

      February 11, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  13. John

    There is a famous Prophecy of St Malachy which states that the next pope will be Peter The Roman, almost sure an Italian and he will be the last Pope. The city of Rome will be destroyed during his tenure. Watch the video "The next pope "on youtube. It has 16 parts but it is very interesting. So far the prophecy got the last 112 popes right.

    February 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Allegedly got them right. It's been interpreted exactly the way people wished it to be.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
  14. Reality

    Africa, Latin America or the far side of the Moon, it will not change the following:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, pope, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    February 11, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • yousles

      Twelve undereducated and poor fishermen conjured up a hoax by inventing Jesus and creating a religion that numbers 1.2 billion people and produced thousands upon thousands of people who help the poor and the sick. They even wrote good literature, i.e. a book.

      You who have been educated with at least a high school education and likely a college degree, in modern times. What good have you done for the world ? All you do is insult but you hide behind a false name. You can't show any worth. What book have you written lately, at the very least ?

      blah blah blah. whine whine whine

      February 11, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • norman c carr

      Im sorry friend but Atheism is not the way.It has nothing.No answers to give you about who you are and why you are hear.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Reality

      Who is "Reality" ? Have you seen me ? Do you know who I am ? Do you know what I've done in my life ? Do you know if I ever actually did anything good ? Do you know if I even exist ? Of course not. But I expect you to believe me. Surely, you should have the faith to believe in what I say even though you have not seen me. You people should not believe in God because you have not seen him. But you should believe in me even though you have not seen me.

      Christians have a comprehensive moral system. It's written in the Bible. I am atheist and believe that I am better than Chris tians even though I cannot point to a comprehensive moral system. Other than a refusal to believe in God, I have to admit that I have not explained anything else that I believe. I am speechless as far as telling you the other things that I believe in. Nevertheless you should believe that I am a better person than chris tians.

      Trust me. Have faith in me. Believe what I say.

      February 11, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • Reality

      The latter comments were not written by the original Reality.

      February 11, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
  15. empresstrudy

    I'm thinking a Black Muslim Lesbian Anarchist – you know to appease the liberals.

    February 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • sam stone

      wow, trudy....clever....

      February 11, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • midwest rail

      trudy – as soon as you typed the first two words, you were wrong.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Poltergeist

      They should put Charles Dawkins name in the running. Then start a new tradition were they encourage parishioners to send candidates as many rosary beads as they can. :0

      February 11, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
  16. norman c carr

    I do not believe that atheism is the future.You dont have nothing to offer.What i do hope is for the Catholic Church to use this open window to elect a Pope who represents the future.A new begining and start a period of healing.We have a chance and i pray they take it.Amen

    February 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      You mean atheism (which has no overarching philosophy or doctrines) doesn't convince people of imaginary problems to which they then give imaginary answers? Oh how horrible!

      February 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Big Shiz

      The Catholic church is evil,and atheist's are mostly extremists pushing there believes on others.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      A genetically enhanced pope, perhaps. Faster, stronger, smarter. Perhaps able to interface directly with the Vatican's vast computational resources?

      February 11, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • sam stone

      "don't have nothing to offer"? is that double negative intentional?

      February 11, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Banteng

      Atherism is simply a set of beliefs and values, and is therefore akin to religion. The religious set claims they can offer proof God exists; The atheists claim that God does not exist. Has either camp offered verifiable proof to back up their claims?

      February 11, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Banteng

      So incredibly wrong.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Pablo

      To Banteng: Carl Sagan, an agnostic was once asked if he was an atheist. He replied, ""No, you have to know a lot more than I do to be an atheist"". Point being, as Lord Bertrand Russell once said, there is no evidence supporting the existence or non existence of a supreme being.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Patrick

      @hawaiiguest I actually agree with Banteng to an extent.

      I personally wouldn't identify myself as a religous individual, but I was raised Catholic. To me Atheism seems to be becoming this organized anti-religion. They force their non-beliefs on people as much as organised religion forces their religious beliefs on us. Now that athiesm is becoming more acceptable to be vocal about in some societies, they are just as vocal on why they're right and everyone else is wrong.

      There are just as many trolls on this page touting atheism as the only way, as there are believers doing the same with their argument.

      Might as well call Atheism the Church of Richard Dawkins.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Patrick

      And yet, there is no requirement for atheism other than "I don't believe in a god". There are many philosophies and positions that are common amongst people who are atheists, but to call it a religion is to expand the definition into meaninglessness. Are there the so called "evalistic atheists"? Yes. Does that automatically make it a religion? Not at all.

      February 11, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Sigh

      One could call atheism a religion, but that makes for a pretty broad definition. One of the definitions in Merriam-Webster dictionary for religion is "4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith"

      The definition of "atheist" is "one who believes that there is no deity" according to Merriam-Webster.com. So one could make the argument that an atheist is a religious person as they have a system of beliefs that there is no deity. I know, I know, atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color.

      I would view atheism more as a "belief system" than I would a "religion."

      February 11, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      I don't like dictionaries sometimes. It reflects common usage, not actual meanings. Atheism doesn't have a "belief system", it's merely a position ona single question.

      February 11, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
  17. CommonSense

    Many qualified Hispanic or Spanish Cardinals for the papacy – it's about time!

    February 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
  18. Flores de la Hoz

    It behooves the Christian world to sincerely Pray that the next Pope be a Spirit Filled Leader that will unite Conservative Christian worldwide in the 21st Century.

    May God Bless and Protect Pope Benedict XVI.

    February 11, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Pablo

      Christians have been praying for peace and goodwill for over 2000 years. How is that working out?

      February 11, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Lil

      Pablo I don't get people like you. You don't believe in God and you are not catholic yet you come here and bash Christians. If this was about the Quran you would be all quiet.

      February 12, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
  19. HeavenSent

    Keep believing in the lies of the talmud and you will have a personal worm that feeds off you and is never quenched, for eternity. My camel-toe was charged again but aquitted this time. You believe the lies of satan will make you collectively mini-gods but you are wrong.

    Amen.

    February 11, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      Please. Seek mental help immediately.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Do as the atheists do in this country to ensure the USA goes belly up. Jesus told us to send rapists and murderers back to Him. The kittens are doing much better now that they are out of my oven. You atheists are too blind to see His truth whether I write it in street language or scripture form.

      Amen.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  20. Randy

    You have to be born again and baptize with the Holy Ghost to enter the kingdom of God do the catholic church teach that nope what do that tells u about the catholic religion, read the bible for your self dont follow man.

    February 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      even a 1st grader knows how to use punctuation.

      February 11, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • Flores de la Hoz

      Amigo,

      I am Catholic and blessed to have been exposed to Southern Baptist and Evangelicals. I am Born Again but recognized that the Catholic Church is filled with Good Christian soldiers who would greatly benefit from having a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit.

      Our goal should be to stressed to Catholics the benefits of having a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit and not be so quick to assume that these good Christian are not ahead of us in entering the Kingdom of God.

      Good Bless Hermano

      February 11, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.