Who will be the next Pope—and—a man credits God with saving him from a tornado!
With Pope Benedict’s surprise announcement that he will step down at the end of February, Vatican-watchers are already trying to figure who will take his place.
The Vatican will hold a conclave before Easter to elect a new pontiff. About 115 cardinals will vote to decide who will lead the world's 1-billion Roman Catholics.
Possible candidates include Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian head of the Vatican's Office for Bishops. There's also Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana. Arguments for a pope from the Third World are also expected, given that half of all Catholics now live south of the equator.
Since the traditional period of mourning that follows a pope's death won't have to be observed, the cardinals can convene quickly. They'll vote twice each morning and twice each evening until a two-thirds majority is reached.
There's no time limit, but the cardinals would like to have a new pope in place by March 24, when the Holy Week before Easter begins. While Benedict won't vote on his successor, he has hand-picked most of the cardinals who will.
As you may have heard in the news, several tornados struck the town of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, last week.
Jeff Revette is a National Guard soldier from Hattiesburg, and as a tornado roared toward him, he ran from his car and lay face-down in the grass next to the brick wall of a church. Debris scattered everywhere and electrical transformers were exploding all around him.
Twenty seconds later, bricks were strewn across a flattened pickup truck a mere 10 feet away and Jeff looked up to see toppled trees and downed power lines. But Jeff stood up, unharmed. He told a reporter: “God is real. I am one blessed man.” You sure are, Jeff!
I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.