Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Another Venetian Pope?

With the death of Pope John Paul II comes speculation about his successor. Cardinal Angelo Scola, the Patriarch of Venice, is frequently mentioned as a possibility. Born in Milan in 1941, Scola was ordained in 1970 and promoted to patriarch in 2002. A year later, he was made a cardinal. Does he have a chance? Maybe. Pope John Paul I (the first pope to take a double name), Pope John XXIII, and Pope St. Pius X were all patriarchs of Venice before being elected pope.

“Two of the last four popes–John XXIII, and the ill-fated John Paul I–were elected from the same office now held by Cardinal Scola. Can the present patriarch of Venice make it a three? Scola, 63, has gained a lot of attention by addressing an issue that is certain to loom large for the next pope–the church's relations with Islam. In 2003, he founded a learning center in Venice called Studium Generale Marcianum open to Christians who live in the Islamic world. Opus Dei is involved in running the Marcianum, which is named after St. Mark, the patron saint of Venice. Scola also recently launched the magazine Oasis, which explores the relationship between Islam and Christianity and is published in five languages, including Arabic and Urdu. An intellectual and a disciple of the Swiss Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, he is close to the Italian organization Communion and Liberation and taught theology until appointed to the ancient Venice see.” (ANALYSIS: ITALIANS DOMINATE PAPAL CHOICE, World Peace Herald Roland Flamini, UPI Chief International Correspondent, February 25, 2005, www.italystl.com/ra/1986.htm)

In the Roman Catholic church, patriarchs are the highest-ranking bishops, ranked just below the pope, and have authority over a number of other bishops. There were originally three patriarchates: the West, held by the bishop of Rome (the pope), Alexandria, and Antioch. In 1445, the patriarch of Aquileia was transferred to Venice, creating the patriarch of Venice.

Current Patriarchs in the Catholic Communion
Latin Rite:
The Patriarch of Rome (the Roman Pope)
The Patriarch of Venice
The Patriarch of the West Indies (vacant since 1963, but not abolished)
The Patriarch of Lisbon
The Patriarch of Jerusalem
The Patriarch of Jerusalem
The Patriarch of the East Indies

Eastern Rites:
The Coptic Catholic Patriarchs of Alexandria
The Greek Patriarch of Antioch
The Melkite Catholic Patriarchs of Antioch
The Maronite Patriarch of Antioch
The Patriarch of Babylon
The Patriarch of Cilicia

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