The early favorites are Dionigi Tettamanzi of Italy and Francis Arinze of Nigeria, both listed on 11-4 odds.
Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras is third with 9-2 odds, while Joseph Ratzinger of Germany and Claudio Hummes of Brazil both follow with odds of 7-1.
Tettamanzi is a member of the sharply right-wing cult-like Opus Dei, whose members allegedly include Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas as well as ex-FBI Director Freeh. The deceased Pope’s top advisor is a member, and the Pope was close and friendly to the group. Such arch-conservatives in the Church generally loathe the reforms of Vatican II and stand in sharp opposition to the taught-to-question and intellectually rigorous Jesuits.
There is much to imply that Opus Dei is a religious cult. Its members are targeted for recruitment, (preferably, impressionable college-age idealists) sworn to secrecy, told they are the “elite guard of God”, trained in isolation, censored in their reading and, indoctrinated in the group ideology.
Grossman recounts some of the details related to Opus Dei’s founder, Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, who was a young priest in Spain during the 1930’s. “Because the Church was identified with the ruling class, many priests were killed, a fate Escriva narrowly escaped by going into hiding. When Gen. Francisco Franco won the war, Escriva allied his movement with Franco’s authoritarian regime, with several Opus Dei members occupying key positions in his government,” avers Grossman.
What Mr. Grossman conveniently leaves out, is that he has just provided a detailed description of an ultra-conservative group that has its roots in European fascism.
Here’s a run-down on the top candidates, most of whom are highly conservative, if not reactionary. Most of the current cardinals, who will elect the next Pope, were appointed by Pope John Paul, and they share his conservative bias. Thus, there is no chance of a Cardinal who favors liberation theology, like Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, being elected, None, zero, zip. I also doubt they will elect a Black African, which puts Francis Arinze of Nigeria out of contention.
My guess. The Cardinals will elect an ultra-conservative Italian.