A liberal pope hasn't a prayer
As Pope Benedict celebrates his 86th birthday in April, speculation about a possible successor abounds. Already two cardinals have speculated about a non-European being the next pope.
When one considers that Benedict has been in effective power since 1981, when Pope John Paul II appointed him head of the most important Vatican department, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the chances of another reforming John XXIII seem minimal.
However, I hope that, in spite of the cards being stacked against a reform-minded pope, the spirit of God will break through and an inspirational reforming pope will emerge in the next conclave.