Why there will not be an American pope

(Fox News) No chance for an American pope? That may be a bit strong. But it is at the very least highly unlikely that a citizen of the U.S. will be elected pope in the upcoming conclave, or indeed at any time on the horizon. There are several reasons for this.

While many have speculated about the possibility of electing an Asian, African or other cardinal from outside Europe to the papacy, any non-European cardinal is an underdog. A two-thirds majority of the voting cardinals is needed for election of the pope and though the College of Cardinals is more international than it used to be, it is still dominated by Italians and other Europeans. Despite plenty of cultural differences among European cardinals, who hail from places as diverse as Poland, Italy, Scotland, and Ireland, they will naturally tend to vote for fellow Europeans, just as they have done historically.

Many non-European cardinals, including some Americans, can compensate for their outsider status by spending years in Rome. And it helps for them to learn several languages, Italian among them — English and a smattering of Spanish are not enough. But no matter how many languages they may speak, or how long they may have been in Rome, or what they may have done in Rome, Americans remain Americans, and will still be viewed that way.

Inherent geopolitical factors about the United States also make the prospect of an American Pope improbable. In particular, the superpower status of America is a major obstacle. If China were ever to dominate the world, the chances for an American pope would rise. But for now, much of the world resents U.S. power and dominance — military, political, diplomatic, cultural and economic. Few non-Americans would want religious dominance added to this list. [More]

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Thomas Worcester/Fox News