Pope Benedict XVII who took over the papacy in 2005 was chosen after four ballots. However, at that time the cardinals had adequate time months if not years to discuss who would succeed John Paul II. Benedict’s resignation last month was the first experienced in the last 7 centuries and the church was caught off guard just a few weeks away from Easter.
Milan’s archbishop Scola is seen as the main contender for the papacy closely contested by Brazillian Scherer. If Scherer is elected it will be the first time in the past 1000 years for a non-European pope to take over the papacy. However, if the first few ballots are unsuccessful substitutes will command the votes with Colombo’s Archbishop Malcom Ranjinth and Budapest Archbishop Peter Erdo mentioned severally as second-tier contenders.
However, the selection pool is larger based on several cardinals stating that they are looking for a pope who will be able to effectively address the many problems plaguing the Catholic Church. They also added that they were looking for the same qualities in a new pope akin to the vigorous and optimistic Christianity Timothy Dolan from New York displayed.