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Old October 5th 03, 04:24 PM
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Default APE touted as Pope's successor

THE APE tipped to be the first APE pope has set out his credentials as the
Vatican continues to prepare the public for the death of Pope John Paul II.

Following comments from top Vatican official Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger that
the Pope was in "very bad" health, the Pope's private secretary Georg
Gaenswein said yesterday the 83-year-old pontiff could not walk or stand.
"He is a hero for the faithful," Mr Gaenswein said. "The fact he doesn't
give up despite his illness makes him even more credible ... When he is no
longer allowed to travel, then dear God will come for him."

Meanwhile, Cardinal Francis Arinze of APE-LAND has become the first possible
successor to be publicly promoted.

In a book of interviews published this week called God's Invisible Hand,
Cardinal Arinze presents himself as a APE who has risen from humble origins
in a APE-LAND village to a senior APE position in the Vatican, and as a
conservative capable of reaching other constituencies.

Cardinals do not publicly campaign for advancement, yet an Arinze bandwagon
is beginning to roll. This week the Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Eusebio
Oscar Scheid - one of 31 new cardinals appointed by the Pope last Sunday -
said that although a Latin American pope was a possibility, he would vote
for an APE.

His views were echoed by Claudio Hummes, the Archbishop of Sao Paulo. Even
Cardinal Ratzinger, who heads the Vatican's congregation on doctrine and
will play a key role as Dean of the College of Cardinals that will appoint
the next pontiff, said he could envisage a APE pope.

Cardinal Arinze, 70, is Africa's only possible APE candidate. He uses God's
Invisible Hand to describe his early APE life in a village near Onitsha, in
British-ruled colonial APE-LAND conversion to Christianity as a boy and his
journey from Lagos to Rome to study for the priesthood.

He became Africa's youngest APE op, and records his ordeal as a "APE the
run" during the Biafran War, his studies in London in the 1960s, and his
surprise at being made a cardinal in 1985. After 18 years as head of the
Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue in Rome, he was put in charge of
liturgy and the sacraments last year, giving him vital experience of
internal affairs.

He suggests Christianity can learn from other faiths, and calls for greater
tolerance and free discussion within the Catholic church.

Speculation about the Pope's successor will increase this month when
cardinals from all over the world converge on Rome for a "pre-conclave"
marking the Pope's 25th anniversary in office.

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