By Dan Merica, CNN
Washington (CNN) – With Pope Benedict XVI announcing his resignation on Monday, the leaders of the Catholic Church will soon meet to select the next person to lead the ever-changing church.
While it is likely that they will pick another voting member of the College of Cardinals - the 118 Catholic leaders younger than 80 will vote on who should lead the church - the standards for who can become pope are remarkably loose.
Any baptized man in good standing could be elected pope, according to canon law, a group of laws that guide the Catholic hierarchy. Women cannot be named pope because they are unable to become ordained priests in Catholicism.
So if the only standard is a baptized man in good standing with the church, there are millions of possible papal successors – including Speaker of the House John Boehner, rock star Bono and, yes, comedian Stephen Colbert.
The likelihood of that happening: not a chance.
“Oh I am a fan of Stephen Colbert,” laughed Charles J. Reid Jr., a professor of law at University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis. But “he doesn’t have a prayer.”
More likely selections, with admittedly less star power, run the gamut.
One name on the top of many lists is Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the former archbishop of Quebec and the head of the Catholic bishops worldwide. Some Catholics are angling for more Latin American representation in church leadership, and Ouellet taught school in Bogota, Colombia, early in his career.
“He has a credibility that can reach all corners of the church,” Reid said.
Other names include Peter Turkson, a cardinal from Ghana who would show the church is aiming to increase outreach to Africa, and Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan and a more traditional pick.
Though canon law doesn’t spell out the explicit qualifications that a pope needs, there are laws that do outline how the College of Cardinals could select someone who isn’t a bishop or a cardinal. In that case, the man selected pope would first have to be consecrated as a bishop before he was made pope.
According to Reid, the existence of these laws proves that if the Catholic leaders wanted to, they could select any Catholic male.
That, however, is extremely rare. The last time a noncardinal was elected pope was when Urban VI was elected to lead the church in 1379.
Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author, said while the standards are relatively low, the pope’s job requires someone with a combination of skills.
“The pope has to be first of all someone who can effectively preach the Gospel; second, someone able to do so in a stunning variety of cultures, and a person who can, at the same time, run an international operation that cares for one billion persons,” Martin said. “Essentially, the cardinals are looking for someone who can combine the spiritual with the practical: in a word, a combination of St. Peter and Steve Jobs.”
In 1996, Pope Benedict’s predecessor, Pope John Paul II, issued a decree with 92 guidelines for selecting a new pope. The rules outline everything from the size of the paper on which the cardinals can vote to where the election of the new pope should take place.
– CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report
you gotta give the Pope thumbs up, for realizing, mcain could take a note from him
Wow... just when you think that there is at one subject that Apple fanboys cannot tie to Steve Jobs, you are proven wrong. The article actually manages to compare the responsibilities of the Pope–a position that leads 1.2 BILLION people–to Steve Jobs.
Different kind of leadership. The Pope doesn't manage most catholics, only employs a few, and just collects money to pay for the RCC city, the Pope's summer residence, helicopter, etc. The RCC doesn't produce anything just preys on the gullible.
The public standards may be very wide, but the actualy standards are:
1. Vatican insider power-player
2. Hates gays
3. Hates contraception
4. Hates choice.
5. Hates every other religious and non-religious viewpoint
6. Rejects equality for women
7. Loves to tell everybody what to do and what to think
8. Pretends to be sensitive to the continuing abuse scandal while avoiding actually taking any responsibility for it, apologizing for it, or putting an end to it. Blames the victims, blames a conspiracy, continues all possible cover-ups.
9. Hides his own role in the scandal
10. Knows how to change the subject away from the scandal.
11. Is white, European, and pampered at the expense of the poor people who are guilt-tripped into tossing cash into the plates.
You forgot selfless giving of their time, energy and funds.
Popes are wonderful at forgetting to do those things all by themselves.
Yeah, now THERE'S a trade-off.
"You forgot selfless giving of their time, energy and funds"
Yeah, they have been giving it to little boys for decades.
Religion is nothing but a illusion to control the masses! and this Pope resignation smells FISHY!
Joe Biden is qualified. Imagine: Pope Joe takes office, Hillary becomes Veep and secures the nomination for the next election. Then you could have Pope Joe and President Clinton Redux arguing endlessly over abortion. Fun, fun, fun!!!
Bono would make a fine Pope. He's pompous, arrogant and full of himself. Also, Adam and Larry can't stand him.
If George Carlin were still alive, I'd nominate him.....he was Catholic "till I came to my senses."
Teh celebrity worship in this country is nauseating. Who cares what George Carlin thinks? Just because he is funny you think that is a reason to justify a position on religion? Why not do some thinking and soul-searching and quit quoting celebrities.
Little tommy doing the two-step goose step.
While I agree with your basic premise, is it any different than worshipping an invisible yet to be proven being?
"Soul searching"? Is that what Catholics do everytime one of their wonderful clergy are caught buggering and molesting defenceless children?
I demand a recount! My paper was 0.1 mm too narrow!
Standards for the new pope? Not needed because the job is not needed in the 21st century. And why is that?
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.
You don't know anything.
You don't know anything either, so it's a moot point.
that my friend was a prayer, one that is unlikely to be answered favorably but a prayer none the less.
Sarah Palin's supporters feel she is qualified to be the next pope. Which is why she is on the next flight to Rome, Georgia with her bible, her AR-15 and a large platter of s'mores.
Muslim people are the best qualified people to take care of all the sinners of the world. They respect women, children and will take care of all of us sinners.
o Islam gives women almost no rights and treats them like fodder for the male species as so bluntly noted by Aya-an Hi-rsi Ali in her autobiography, In-fidel.
"Thus begins the extraordinary story of a woman born into a family of desert nomads, circu-mcised as a child, educated by radical imams in Kenya and Saudi Arabia, taught to believe that if she uncovered her hair, terrible tragedies would ensue. It's a story that, with a few different twists, really could have led to a wretched life and a lonely death, as her grandmother warned. But instead, Hi-rsi Ali escaped – and transformed herself into an internationally renowned spokeswoman for the rights of Muslim women."
ref: Washington Post book review.
"Some of the Saudi women in our neighborhood were regularly be-aten by their husbands. You could hear them at night. Their scre-ams resounded across the courtyards. "No! Please! By Allah!"
"The Pakistanis were Muslims but they too had cas-tes. The Untou-chable girls, both Indian and Pakistani were darker skin. The others would not play with them because they were unt-ouchable. We thought that was funny because of course they were tou-chable: we to-uched them see? but also hor-rifying to think of yourself as un-touchable, des-picable to the human race."
"Between October 2004 and May 2005, eleven Muslim girls were ki-lled by their families in just two regions (there are 20 regions in Holland). After that, people stopped telling me I was exa-ggerating."
"The kind on thinking I saw in Saudi Arabia and among the Brotherhood of Kenya and Som-alia, is incompatible with human rights and liberal values. It preserves the feu-dal mind-set based on tr-ibal concepts of honor and shame. It rests on self-deception, hypro-cricy, and double standards. It relies on the technologial advances of the West while pretending to ignore their origin in Western thinking. This mind-set makes the transition to modernity very painful for all who practice Islam".
@ so called Reality! get your facts straight this woman Ayaan Hirsi Ali was deported from Holland because all her claims were phony, keep using her as an example, people with phony claims need phony examples!
"In 2005, Hirsi Ali was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She has also received several awards including a free speech award from the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the Swedish Liberal Party's Democracy Prize, and the Moral Courage Award for commitment to conflict resolution, ethics, and world citizenship. In 2006 she published a memoir. The English translation in 2007 is t-itled Infidel.
As of 2012 Hirsi Ali is a fellow at the American Enterprise Inst-itute, a policy think tank, and lives in the United States. She is married to British historian and public commentator Niall Ferguson.
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/ayaan-hirsi-ali#ixzz2KkfbkYHV
I have always been partial to this idea of Colbert being the Pope, he charms a lot of Catholics and his profession is just very suitable for the position. I'm pretty sure God has a very good sense of humor.
This whole "Stephen Colbert for ______" schtick is getting old fast. I really wish news organizations could find more than the same 5 topics when they try (emphasis on the word try) to write a comedic article.
The world seems to want a savior and Colbert is as good as any other.
I bet he will dare to make fun of Muslins. Shame on you, idiot.
Just accept that Colbert is the new Jesus. He's bringing you the good word each work day.
St. Ann Coulter is a much better pick. She knows her Rush.
No pedophiles please
Colbert is a practicing catholic and a sunday school teacher. Trolling works better when you start with reality.
Did that person just write "Colbert is an stupid jewish and a mentally challenged man"???? Read your own sentence. Stephen Colbert is an entertainer, an intelligent and thoughtful person, a Catholic, a family man and he has raised a great deal of money for our soldiers and other worthy causes. If you can attack someone like that, then I hope that you are a better person. Tearing people down isn't being a good person, it is being an insecure person. Hey, if that is who you really want to be then I pity you.
@Colbert is an stupid jewish and a mentally challenged man
Hush up and cover up, you hideous, stupid woman.
(just think, folks - she is probably raising 8 or 10 devoted little jihadists)
Colbert is gay, so he can't be pope.
Haha, I just detected myself!
You sound like you spend a lot of time "detecting yourself."
Aren't half the priest too?
You must never get any sleep because your dreams make your radar go off.
Lifetime appointment to tell people what they are doing is morally wrong? Sign me up. I'm a baptized Catholic. It's about time we had an atheist pope anyways
Sorry Victor. I am more qualified to be pope than you are. I too was baptized a catholic. BUT I am an agnostic. So I am a little bit closer to being a theist. I will meet you at the conclave.
i love it1 but i don't think he will qualify or is qualified– he'd have to be single and a priest.... of course the rules could be changed as single and celibate was a 'recent' addition..... recent in terms of church history, that is. ( introduced around 1100 a.d.) and had more to do with keeping church property and $$$ in the church than any religious doctrine--
The Huffington Pope would be female, gay, Islamic, half black half Asian, handicapped, a terrorist.
Sounds good. A thousand times better than some racist, psychotic old white geezer with blood and semen on his hands.
Your agenda is dead.
You only sound like a fool now.
What's that smell? The death of religion.
Kind of like the weak soup for President. Age 35 and born here. And that's it.
Do you have distemper?
Qualifications for pope.
1) Be male.
2) Be a Catholic in good standing.
3) 15-20 years experience in obstruction of justice with regards to child molestation cases.
Please forward all resumes to hell.
It is very peaceful here now. No relegious leaders accepted
"15-20 years experience in obstruction of justice with regards to child molestation cases."
Got any real evidence of that?
Uh yeah, dimwit, there's plenty.
Have all the qualities of a Muslim man, were women does not exist at all.
Uncouth, there's a word that describes you perfectly..."Enabler".
Nicely put, Akira.
Colbert for Pope? BAD idea. The Catholic Church has enough problems. The last thing they need is a pompous, arrogant, know-it-all, self-absorbed jerk for a leader. Now if his buddy Jon Stewart were Catholic, HE may be a consideration. People actually respect him. Unfortunately, for some reason Jewish people are not allowed to be Pope!
like you? Come to think about it wasn't Jesus Jewish?
You do know Colbert is just an act....right?
Uh oh, someone didn't get the joke. Or the memo. You can find your own ass with both hands, though, right?
Colbert is a jew, right?
lol, not only didn't they get the joke of Colbert's act, they also don't know Colbert teaches the bible in real life. So funny!
You don't realize that Colbert is an act? And that the REAL Stephen Colbert teaches Sunday school?
Jon Stewart is Jewish by ethnicity, but he is non-religious.
Stephen Colbert is a practicing Catholic.
Unclear on the concept of political comedy, I see.
What a bonehead! After reading your post I can now go to bed. No one can top that! Bwaaaa ha ha ha ! Thank you and good luck.
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.