Media speculates on Pope's successor

2013-02-12 11:03

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Manila - The world's media on Tuesday speculated on whether the next pontiff may come from the developing world, while paying mixed tributes to Pope Benedict XVI following his shock resignation announcement.

The 85-year-old Benedict said on Monday that he would step down at the end of this month because of health reasons, becoming the first leader of the Catholic Church to resign of his own free will in 700 years.

Argentina's largest selling newspaper, Clarin, ran a headline on its website asking whether the next pope might hail from the Americas, Asia or Africa rather than Europe, where all popes have come from through the centuries.

"After the virtually unprecedented decision by the head of the church to resign, there is a growing possibility that deeply established traditions and criteria might change in the next choosing of the pope and there could be a surprise," the report said.

Clarin said this was not just a matter of geography but something that went much deeper.

Catholicism is in serious decline in Europe but growing robustly in Africa and Asia. And Latin America, despite fervent adherence to the faith being patchy, is home to 40% of the world's Catholics, the paper noted.

Call for reform

In the Philippines, the Catholic Church's stronghold in Asia, the pope's decision dominated the front pages of newspapers, while major Internet news sites focused on whether Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle may succeed him.

"He has the rare chance, like 116 others, to choose the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. And who knows? He himself may become Pope Benedict XVI's successor," news portal Rappler wrote of Cardinal Tagle.

The pope's resignation made the front pages of most British newspapers, which largely praised his personal qualities, but they also called for the next pope, whether he is from Europe, Asia, Africa or the Americas, to bring about reform.

In an editorial, The Guardian said that Benedict's papacy was "theologically, politically and organisationally a continuation of that of John Paul II, with all its defects and its virtues".

It painted a sober picture of the future, saying that "not a single liberal candidate to succeed Benedict can be identified".

The Times described Benedict's resignation in an editorial as a "noble and selfless decision" but said his successor should try to make the Catholic church "a more collegial venture".

Tough decision

The Independent newspaper focused on the future with the headline "Situation Vacant: New leader wanted for 1.2 billion Roman Catholics".

It added that Benedict's announcement "plunges his Church into turmoil".

In France, daily Catholic newspaper La Croix praised Benedict for making a tough decision.

"This is a man of faith who has decided to resign with the consciousness of having given everything he could for the good of the Church," the newspaper said.

Conservative French newspaper Le Figaro published a special edition in which it welcomed the "humility" of Benedict XVI, who "felt that the challenges of the contemporary church exceeded its powers".

The pope's resignation also made the front pages in Australia, with Rupert Murdoch's national daily newspaper The Australian carrying a headline that said: "Pope Benedict surrenders: Too old, too frail to lead a billion people".


In an opinion piece, the newspaper's foreign editor said Benedict was "a good man but a poor pope".

"Benedict was always going to have a hard time following in the footsteps of John Paul II, the most charismatic, and perhaps the most influential, pope in the 20th century," wrote Greg Sheridan.

"But he disappointed even his closest supporters."


Read more on:    pope benedict xvi  |  pope francis  |  vatican city  |  religion

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Saturday Cape Town - 10:57 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
  • Saturday Constantia - 07:19 AM
    Road name: Rhodes Drive Both Ways
    ROAD CLOSED between Constantia Nek and Canterbury Road until 1300
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Huawei B683 21Mbps 3G Wireless Router

Huawei B683 21Mbps 3G Wireless Router The B683 wireless gateway (hereinafter...

From R1671.00

I'm shopping for:


Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.