Five of the nine Asian cardinals who have the right to vote at the Papal Enclave are from India. They are Prefect Emeritus Ivan Dias, Archbishop of Ranchi Telesphore Placidus Toppo, Archbishop of Bombay Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Ernakulam George Alencherry and Baselios Cleemis, the 54 year young Archbishop of Trivandrum.
Only Italy, the United States and Germany are represented by more cardinal electors. India is home to the Church’s second largest community in Asia after the Philippines. Like elsewhere on the continent, Indian Catholics would love to see an Asian take over from Benedict XVI, with Luis Antonio Tagle, the archbishop of Manila, the name most often mentioned by Vatican observers.
Thousands of miles away from the Vatican, the election is being closely followed in the sun-blessed coastal state of Goa, a place better known in the West for beach parties and thedistilled cashewnut drink, feni. One in four of the state’s 1.5 million population is Catholic — a legacy of centuries under Portuguese rule — and many would love to see an Asian become the church’s leader.
What this means:
No Indian cardinal is a serious contender for the papacy, but in a close discussion, the five Indian cardinals may choose to vote as a block to favor a particular candidate, perhaps even Cardinal Tagle. I am no expert on the Catholic Church, but I am not holding my breath that we will see Pope Tagle this time around.