12 Mar 2013

Maori Catholics speculate on new Pope

7:35 am on 12 March 2013

Maori Catholics predict that the next Pope could come from a non-European country because nearly half of the conclave of cardinals come from either North America, Latin America, Asia or Africa.

Roman Catholic cardinals will be securely seated in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican from Tuesday for deliberations to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XIV, who the first pontiff to resign in 600 years.

New Zealand Maori Catholic Council executive member Danny Karatea-Goddard says there are many cardinals from many different places who would be suitable to lead the Church.

He says there are about 61 from Europe, 19 from Latin American, 14 from North America, 11 from Africa and Asia, and probably one cardinal from Oceania.

Mr Karatea-Goddard says he wouldn't be surprised if the new pontiff isn't from Europe and could possibly come from another continent.

He says this reflects the universality of the Catholic Church. The New Zealand delegate will not get to vote but will be part of the discussions to select a new Pope.

Maori parishioners have been basing most of their prayers around asking the Wairua Tapu (Holy Spirit) to intercede and guide the conclave of cardinals to make a wise decision when they choose the new leader of the Church.