MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Catholics may have a new Pope sooner than expected. Just a few days before he steps down, Pope Benedict the 16th revised the rules for how his successor is chosen. Cardinals no longer have to wait 15 days after the Pope resigns to begin voting for a new Holy Father. Meantime, Miami’s Archbishop Thomas Wenski weighed in on the selection of the next Pope while talking to CBS4’s Brian Andrews.
Wenski is the spiritual leader of South Florida Catholics; however, he does not have the inside track on who will be the spiritual leader of Catholics worldwide.
“One thing is for the sure; the next Pope will be catholic,” laughed Archbishop Wenski.
The Archbishop said there’s a chance the Holy Father who will replace German born Pope Benedict the 16th could be from the Americas because the College of Cardinals is a diverse group.
“It’s an international body with a number of members from both North and South America. There’s a lot of talk the next Pope could come from the Americas, Africa, or Asia.”
But Archbishop Wenski said no one will know until the conclave is over and white smoke is seen over the Sistine Chapel.
“What we really want is a Pope who is a Holy man and therefore where he comes from doesn’t matter as much as he is a holy man and we’ve been blessed in recent years with very Holy Popes.”
The Archbishop said the church will be well served if that trend continues.
So who are the front runners?
“They always say that anybody who goes into the conclave as a papabile is a possible Pope, usually exits the conclave as just a Cardinal. So, it’s not a position that anyone campaigns for.”
The Pope’s last tweet is expected Wednesday, and then his Twitter account will go dark until the new Pope is announced.
Also Wednesday, the pope’s final general audience at the Vatican is expected to draw massive crowds.