Narrowing down lists of about a dozen potential popes to a handful of serious hopefuls will be one of the main tasks of the closed-door meetings that Catholic cardinals begin on Monday.
The lists circulating in public, mostly drawn up by Vatican journalists based on private chats with Catholic prelates, look more credible than some that floated around during the last conclave in 2005, according to Chicago Cardinal Francis George.
“All of them I’ve seen – unlike last time – are in fact good candidates,” he told journalists on Thursday evening. “You’ve done our work for us.”
Like other cardinals now in Rome preparing the general congregations, the pre-conclave meetings where they openly discuss the Church’s problems and whisper about who should confront them, George declined to name any names.