Before Easter, the Catholic church should have a new pope.
It’s a rather quick turnaround, as the cardinals have all come to the Vatican and settled to start the papal election in the midst of the church’s holy Easter season. But typically, the church takes time to mourn the pope and prepare for his funeral, as it’s been more than 600 years since one has stepped down. Prior to his effective resignation date on Feb. 27, Pope Benedict XVI amended the rules to allow for an earlier start date for the conclave.
So on Tuesday, the heads of the church will begin the secret balloting to select a new pope. Cardinals have already gathered there for daily meetings and almost all have given brief speeches about the future of the church and who should be selected to lead it. It’s also the last chance for cardinals over the age of 80 to make their voice heard on the direction they church should take — those cardinals are not allowed to cast a vote during the election.
Credible news organizations covering the events at the Vatican say there is no clear front runner. However, within two hours of Benedict’s resignation announcement, the Irish bookmaker Paddy Power started accepting bets from hundreds of thousands worldwide — it’s illegal to do so in the United States since the papal election is just that, an election.
Here are the most recent odds, according to Paddy Power.
Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana: 11-4.
Cardinal Angelo Scola from Italy: 3-1
Cardinal Marc Ouellet from Canada: 6-1
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone from Italy: 6-1
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco from Italy: 8-1
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri from Argentina: 12-1
Cardinal Claudio Hummes of Brazil: 50-1
It’s strange that people will bet on such a reverent process, but it is interesting to see what the public thinks about the rising pope. Perhaps it speaks to what qualities they believe he should posess.
We were interested ourselves in what our readers believed should define the next pope. We put the question out on our online poll question, which can be found each week at www.timeswv.com. Last week we asked “What do you think is the most important quality to consider as a new pope is selected?”
And here’s what you had to say:
• Geography — Someone who will represent the growing Catholic populations worldwide — 2.27 percent.
• Experience — Many of the cardinals in the Vatican have proven their faith and loyalty — 2.27 percent.
• Age — Someone who can connect with youth and not face health issues — 22.73 percent.
• Strong leadership — The church has many obstacles to overcome — 72.73 percent.
May God be with them as they make this very important and lasting decision.
This week, let’s talk about childhood obesity and where the biggest changes can be made to win the battle of the bulge.
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Before Easter, the Catholic church should have a new pope.
COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay
Several years ago, I made a Freedom of Information request to a local government agency. Within the five business days, as required by law, a packet of information was delivered to the office. I expected a bill, as most government offices have a charge that ranges from 25 cents to $1.25 per page for copies of the documents we request.
The reassuring spirit of Easter: One of new hope and beginnings
During the sub-zero and snow-filled months of winter, we maintained a spirit of hope that spring was on the way. It has now become a reality as all nature stretches and yawns and awakens once more to a new beginning. The fragrance of spring awakens our waiting nostrils, the budding beauty of new life brightens our eyes, and the reassuring idea of renewal stimulates our minds.
Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated
Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.
Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives
A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
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