280. One of these men will be Pope
I would prefer a Non European, even better – a non-White (African or Asian) though there are two Italian contenders. Well, unless a dark horse from Argentina, USA (New York / Boston) or Asia (Filipino / Sinhalese) emerges one of these 5 could be the next Pope – A Candaian, Cardinal Marc Ouellet; (my first guess based on his current job and age) A Brazilian, Cardinal Odilo Scherer; A Ghananian, Cardinal Peter Turkson, Two Italians (both about 70 years of age), Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, Cardinal Angelo Scola. It will be an interesting election in the time of new media and advanced technology as some of these have got on to Twitter.
The race has narrowed down to a handful based on media reports and betting syndicates. 115 men will make this choice. And in five weeks from now we will know.
It is a time to hope for the best rather than think of colour and region of the next Pope. And it is time to wish for reforms that the Catholic Church needs including being open to women priests, accepting LGBT people, allowing abortion and embracing all religions as equal. These are not assumptions or predictions but just calculated guesses based on reading between the lines from the various reports available publicly.
Also see – A quick course in ‘Conclave 101’