Most of the candidates figuring in current speculation are in their late 60s or even in their 70s, which is no accident. After more than 26 years of the extraordinary leadership of John Paul II, who was elected at the age of 58, the electors may decide they want someone who will be more of a transitional figure until they can figure out which kind of leadership they want in a post John Paul world. "The greatest show on earth" might just want to slow things down a little.
I think the answers to these questions are obvious. And that's why I think the CofC will pick another young Caridnal to become the Pope. Like the late great Karol Wojtyla. One with boundless energy and a vigorous vision. Perhaps, one of the seven young cardinals I picked HERE:
Juan-Luis Cipriani-Thorne (Peru, 62); Jean Louis Tauron (France, 62); Polycarp Pengo (Tanzania, 61); Vinco Puljic (Bosnia-Herzegovina, 60); Josef Bozanic (Croatia, 55); Crescenzio Seppe (Italy, 62); Angelo Scola (Italy,64).
UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt AGREES! In a post today he argues that the serious moral controversies abounding in the world today mean that the CofC will not choose a place-holder as the next Pope: "If many Cardinals had the idea that a "caretaker" pope might be in order, the [Schiavo] drama in Florida works against that desire for a period of calm transition. Would the allies have selected a caretaker general on the eve of D-Day had Ike suffered a mishap?"
INDEED. FIRST, the world is awash in several serious moral controversies: euthanasia; abortion; embryonic stem cell research; and Gay marriage. SECOND, there're several CHURCH issues that need attention, NOW: Gay clergy; the vanishing Church pews in Western Europe; the virtually non-existent seminary students in the USA and Europe. These hotly contested issues, and dire Church problems, implore the CofC to pick someone as bold and as YOUNG and as energetic as the late GREAT PJPII was when they announced "we have a Pope," and the 58 year old - strong and smiling and young - Karol Wojtyla walked out on to the balcony in his Papal vestments, and waved to the happily astonished crowd. The CofC will - nay MUST - happily astonish the next crowd with an equally bold and young pick.