'No true front runner' in race for Pope, but two from Wisconsin reportedly have a chance

CREATED Mar 12, 2013 - UPDATED: Mar 13, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee archbishop who succeeded a possible candidate for Pope says that "there is no true front-runner" to take over the job vacated by Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI.

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"That's what makes this election so interesting," Archbishop Jerome Listecki told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Charlie Sykes about the Conclave voting to start at 10:30 a.m. Milwaukee time on Tuesday.
If an Irish bookmaker happens to be right, two Cardinals who served in Wisconsin could be in the mix to get the job.

The bookmaker's web site says former Milwaukee Archbishop and current New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan has a 14-1 chance to get the Papacy, improved odds from two weeks ago.

Former La Crosse bishop Raymond Burke, who now serves in the Vatican, has 20-1 odds.

"Because of that, everybody has a sense that I might personally know the new Pope, or might have had contact with the new Pope," explained Listecki.

He explains why this Conclave brings lots of differences than the last, where loyalty to the vision of Pope John Paul II brought a clear candidate, the man previously known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

"I believe many Cardinals, because of their relationship, (knowing) Ratzinger and (knowing) John Paul II's affection for him, I think they had him in mind as they went into the Conclave."

"I believe they said 'Who would be the best candidate to carry out the John Paul II legacy?' "

According to Listecki, part of that legacy involves how John Paul II changed the role of the Pope, and brought the Vatican and the Papacy around the world through travel and mass communication.

"JPII, when he got elected, he turned the Papacy into a worldwide pastorate," said the Archbishop.

"This Pope was in contact with more people, was more recognizable to people throughout the world than any one single figure...he became the world's pastor.  The next pope will live in that shadow."

The next pope will also live with the understanding of the gravity of his new job.

"It's a sentence," explained Listecki. 

"People don't understand what it is, suddenly, to lose any sense of possessing yourself.  If Tim was elected Pope, and if that's God's will, the adjustment of how he would have to operate...he's the sovereign leader of the state and the universal head of the Catholic Church.  The demands on him, for the Church to be the mediator in difficulties...my gosh," said Listecki.

"He is a loyal son of the Church.  Whether it's Tim, or anyone else, we would pledge our obedience to the Holy Father."