Age of the next pope? Is the Church ready for a longer pontificate?
The next electorate will be the most diverse in the history of papal conclaves; diverse geographically, ethnically, racially.
I do think there’s still a kind of bottom threshold. I don’t think we’re gonna see a pope elected who’s in his late 50s or maybe even early 60s. I don’t think the electorate is terribly interested in a 25 to 30 year pontificat but the upper end has surely extended.
And you know we should remember that both Ratzinger and Bergoglio were elected when they were on the edge of retirement. Bergoglio had turned 75 the year before … had told me in Buenos Aires in May of 2012 he couldn’t wait for his resignation to be accepted. He was looking forward to getting back to parish work. Ratzinger couldn’t wait to get back to Bavaria and pick up writing books for Ignatius Press among others.
So the fact that a man may be recently retired would not seem to be a disqualifying biographical factor these days. So all of this is to say that the the conventional wisdom of 40 years ago on who is (indistinct) who can be (indistinct) is pretty well out the window, and that’s before we get to the fact that the next electorate will be the most diverse in the history of papal conclaves diverse geographically, ethnically, racially and other ways.