Steven Waldman wants to know who will be the next pope.

The cardinals who will be electing the next pope are a conservative group. All but five of the 134 voting cardinals (aka “cardinal electors”) were appointed by Pope John Paul II, and most share his views. So, we probably won’t see a flaming lefty as the next pontiff. Likely factors the cardinals will consider when voting: Do they pick a Third Worlder to reflect demographics or someone to shore up Old Europe Christendom? Do they want a young (well, under 70), telegenic man to explain Catholicism to the world? Or an older fellow who won’t stick around for quite so long?

Well, I’m young–under 40, more telegenic than the current guy (I seldom drool whilst awake), and will be glad to explain Catholicism to the world. But I am not a candidate. I may, however, reconsider if volunteers–ordinary citizens–from all fifty states sign petitions and get my name on the ballot.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Sorry, James — but if any non-Catholic is gonna be the next Pope, it’s gonna be me.

  2. jen says:

    It might help if you believed what you’d be telling the masses of Catholics.

  3. James Joyner says:

    Stephen: Yep, I recall that platform! An oldie but a goodie.

    Jen: I’d believe it! But there would be some serious reforms. I’d start by getting rid of all the superstitious elements of Catholicism, plus celebacy, those funny hats. . .

  4. jen says:

    Uh huh, sure… 😆