The wait for the next pope of the Roman Catholic Church may not be too long, with the papal elections slated to begin as early as the middle of next week, the Archbishop of Mumbai Cardinal Oswald Gracias has said.
The Archbishop, however, is doubtful that an Indian is in the reckoning for the post.
“While anybody can be elected, I do not think an Indian cardinal, or even an Asian cardinal, will be elected to become the pope this time, but one never knows,” said Cardinal.
The Archbishop will leave for the Vatican on Wednesday to participate in the farewell of Pope Benedict XVI, who will step down from office on Thursday.
“On Monday, the cardinals received a special decree from the pope that we can anticipate the date and hold the elections before the traditional norm of 15 days after the office is vacant. I am almost certain the election will be held by the middle of next week or the end of next week,” said Cardinal Gracias.
115 cardinals are expected to participate in the conclave to elect one of the members through a secret ballot. Cardinal Gracias will be among five Indian cardinals to participate in the conclave.