Cardinal Malcolom Ranjith who is among the 115 strong College of Cardinals is emerging as an evangelist who could make a strong presence.
According to speculative reports as there is no obvious front runner and anything could happen.
The conclave date was set on Friday afternoon during a vote by the College of Cardinals who have been meeting all week to discuss the church’s problems and priorities and the qualities a new pope must possess.
Tuesday will begin with a morning Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, followed by a solemn procession into the Sistine Chapel and the first round of secret balloting in the afternoon.
Only one vote is held the first afternoon. If black smoke is sent snaking out of the chapel chimney to indicate there is no immediate victor, the cardinals will retire for the day. They will return Wednesday for two rounds of balloting in the morning, two rounds in the afternoon until a pope has been chosen.
In the past 100 years, no conclave has lasted longer than five days.
Reportedly the past week of deliberations has exposed sharp divisions among cardinals about some of the pressing problems facing the church, including of governance within the Holy See itself.
U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, considered a papal contender, said in a blog post on Friday that most of the discussions in the closed-door meetings covered preaching and teaching the Catholic faith, tending to Catholic schools and hospitals, protecting families and the unborn, supporting priests “and getting more of them!”
It seems that governance of the church and evangelisation are emerging as key issues, to areas considered as familiar to the Sri Lankan cardinal.
Sixty five year old, Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don is not only the Cardinal with the longest name but also someone who could make some strong points
In a media interview he said ““In modern society, men have become so mechanical and technical that everybody thinks, they have to make things plain and simple, and visible and not to keep any room for a mystical aura or secrecy or areas of the Sacred, because it is not necessary. ‘Now we have removed the veil’, people say. ‘After Illumination we have removed the veil’. But that is not true as much as you think like that. Even to a greater extent, modern man is looking for symbols. It’s going after symbols. The people are going to the East to look for something more mystic, something more profound.”
It is becoming clear that the Sri Lankan Cardinal is focusing on the core values of the church , a them very much emphasised in Sri Lanka.
Cardinal Ranjith, however, has also earned detractors for his strong affinity for traditions in worship, such as the Latin Mass, that others have left behind.
In 2009, he banned lay deacons from preaching in the Colombo archdiocese and required that Holy Communion only be offered to those kneeling and the communion wafer placed directly on their tongue – a style that has been abandoned by many parishes in the West.
Cardinal Ranjith also forbade priests from introducing elements from other religions into the Mass, which is increasingly common as the church in some areas looks to pay homage to indigenous or majority faiths through gestures such as music or dress.
Judging by media reports Sri Lanka’s Cardinal is keeping somewhat a low profile but it seems that that has been his strength all along. He could rise up to the occasion and deliver as required.
Beting on who is the next pope is forbiden for catcholics but it may be one of the favorite ways for the catcholics to find out who there next leader would be.
The Sri Lankan cardinal’has been ranked at 66/1 on paddypower.com while the italian cardinal Anjelo Scola his leading with a chance of 5/2 while Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana is a close second.
Time for a Asian Pope?