From the National Catholic Reporter
Prognostication is a notoriously hazardous business, and the trash heaps of church history are littered with the carcasses of journalists who have tried to predict the next pope. Almost no one, for example, correctly anticipated that the archbishop of Kraków, Karol Wojtyla, would emerge from the second conclave of 1978 as Pope John Paul II.
In that spirit, the intent here is not to "predict" who will become the next pope, which is a futile exercise. Instead, the aim is to identify cardinals whose backgrounds, accomplishments, and personalities guarantee they will at least get a serious look as possible papal material. Doing so will illustrate the criteria cardinals typically employ in trying to size up who among their peers might be able to step into the "Shoes of the Fisherman."
Will the next pope be one of these men? Perhaps. But all are certainly under consideration, and that by itself makes them worth a look.
Link Thanks, Ono.