As you may have heard, Joseph Ratzinger - aka Pope Benedict XVI - will retire soon. I honestly did not know that was an option; the last time it happened was in 1415, and I only sort of remember that.
As mentioned in my previous Pope Mock Draft thread, any Catholic Cardinal between the ages of 65-80 can be elected; however there are only a select few, known as the preferiti, that have the support and reputation to be the next ruler of the Holy See.
Here are the odds-on favorites, with some pertinent, 100% accurate information that will help amateur Catholics everywhere decide who they think would make the awesomest new Pope:
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi
Born October 18, 1942 in Merate, Italy
Height: 5' 10" Weight 215 lbs.
40 yard dash time: 21 minutes, 54 seconds
Scripted the winning TD pass on the cobblestones in St. Peter’s Square during the 1966 Vatican Bowl. Has great arm strength, can throw while on the move in the pope-mobile. Can take on double-teams from charging archbishops. Already owns a really nice Pope Hat.
Needs to improve on his pontificating. Seen as a great orator without experience, drawing lazy comparisons to Barack Obama. Played in a 3-4 congregation at seminary; might not fit with current 4-3 papal formation.
Notable: Only papal candidate who is a licensed bartender.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet
Born June 8, 1944 in La Motte, Quebec (which is in some country named Canada, wherever that is)
Height: 6' 0" Weight 202 lbs.
40 yard dash time: 1 minute flat
Winner of the “Hominus Dominus Maximus” trophy for outstanding bishoping at Ottawa State. Can make all the ministrations. Known as “The Quicker Vicar” due to his outstanding 40-yard dash time. Known as a "high ceiling" candidate who can be coached-up to dominate non-believers.
Notable: Did 45 bench press reps at the papal combine.
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri
Born November 18, 1943 in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Height: 5' 11" Weight 225 lbs.
40 yard dash time: 1 hour, 4 minutes, 13 seconds
A JuCo transfer, Sandri has recorded 116 conversions, 74 exorcisms and 9,011 Gregorian chants. Is a noted incense hawk. Out-dueled Satan in a Theremin-playing contest during a visit to Dallas in 1994. Has a knack for the big baptism.
Tends to get out of his stance early when preaching on the road. Motor described as “just ok” by some scouts, might take a blessing off here and there.
Notable: Always gets other archbishops to fall for the old “pull my finger” trick during mass.
Cardinal Angelo Scola, Archbishop of Milan
Born November 7, 1941 in Malgrate, Italy
Height: 5' 6" Weight 195 1/2 lbs.
40 yard dash time: 3 days, 5 hours, 11 minutes, 55 seconds
Blue chip papal prospect coming out of seminary. A natural chanter with the ability to preach sideline-to-sideline. Has a variety of swim and rip moves to move through the congregation.
Doesn’t know any Latin. Tends to freelance during sermons. Has some off-the-cathedral issues and has been in trouble with the Swiss Guard on more than one occasion.
Notable: Was married to actress Kate Winslet in a surprise ceremony last December.
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco
Born January 14, 1943 in Pontavico, Italy
Height: 5' 7" Weight 179 lbs.
40 yard dash time: 7 minutes, 23 seconds
Super-smart, already like a pope on the field. Two-time All-Italian in the EBC (European Bishop Conference). Throw-back cardinal who will be a great presence in the Vatican locker room. Presides with an angry streak. Led the Pontavician Red Cusaders to a 13-5 record in 1958.
Conservative views may be out of synch with today’s pass-happy Catholic Church. Posted controversial Easter blessing to his Twitter account. Kinda sets your gaydar off a little when you look at him.
Notable: Has a tattoo of Chris Simms’ likeness on his lower back.
EDog's Pope pick: Angelo Scola