Bob Keeler, the former religion reporter and editorial writer for Newsday, offers a cogent reflection on the tenure of Pope Benedict XVI, which captures how many people feel about it. Keeler also captures the unadulterated admiration for the pope as he came to, and made, the decision to retire. It's worth the read.
The Huffington Post offers a serious, short list of candidates to be the next pope:
Three Vatican experts told USA Today that the top five cardinal contenders include: Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa; Cardinal Marc Ouellet, former Archbishop of Quebec; Cardinal Angelo Scola, Archbishop of Milan; Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture; and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, head of the Vatican's office for Eastern Catholics.
Others believe the next pope may be from Latin America.
"I know a lot of bishops and cardinals from Latin America who could take responsibility for the universal Church,'' Archbishop Gerhard Mueller told Duesseldorf's Rheinische Post newspaper before Christmas, according to Reuters. "The universal Church teaches that Christianity isn't centred on Europe."
Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana or Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria, each a front-runner, could become the first black pope ever (if not the first since the Middle Ages) if elected, notes the Telegraph."
Nicole Winfield of The Associated Press offers a sobering and comprehensive analysis of Pope Benedict XVI's legacy.