Sandro Magister is one of the most highly respected Vaticanisti in Italy, so it’s interesting that he thinks the young Filipino cardinal, Luis Antonio Tagle, has a serious chance:
If from Latin America and Africa, where indeed the majority of the world’s Catholics live, there do not seem to emerge prominent personalities capable of attracting votes, the same is not true of Asia.
On this continent, soon to become the new axis of the world, the Catholic Church also is wagering its future. In the Philippines, which is the only nation in Asia where Catholics are in the majority, there shines a young and cultured cardinal, archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Tagle, the focus of growing attention.
As a theologian and Church historian, Tagle was one of the authors of the monumental history of Vatican Council II published by the progressive “school of Bologna.” But as a pastor, he has demonstrated a balance of vision and a doctrinal correctness that Benedict XVI himself has highly appreciated. Especially striking is the style with which the bishop acts, living simply and mingling among the humblest people, with a great passion for mission and for charity.
One of his limitations could be the fact that he is 56, one year younger than the age at which pope Wojtyla was elected. But here the novelty of Benedict XVI’s resignation again comes into play. After this action of his, youth will no longer be an obstacle to being elected pope.
A lot of interesting stuff here, and in the rest of Magister’s article. Note, especially, the remark about Asia as “soon to become the new axis of the world.” Magister is speaking for a consensus that exists among European intellectual-political leaders, that we are unquestionably moving into a post-American era in world history. Note, also, that 62 of the voters in the conclave — a pretty solid majority of the total 117 — are from Europe, and ex officio members of the Continent’s intellectual-political leadership class.