Pro/Con: Should new pope come from non-European country?
When electing a new pontiff to oversee 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, many contributing factors play a part in selecting the new supreme head of the church.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI stepped down from his post Feb. 28.
Popes in generations past, including Benedict and John Paul II, have been selected for their strong communication ability, vast intellect and education on matters spiritual and temporal. But they've also largely been selected from European countries, suggesting nationality may play a role in the election process.
Large numbers of Catholic believers, however, stem from continents such as Africa and North and South America, especially in countries like the United States, Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines.
Catholics and non-Catholics alike are abuzz with conversation about who the next pontiff will be and whether he might be elected from a non-European country.
But does nationality matter when considering a new pope?