One-hundred and fifteen cardinals will be voting in the next few weeks to choose to choose a successor to Pope Benedict XVI. Should they return the papacy to an Italian, stick with a pontiff from elsewhere in Europe, or follow the trends in the church and look to Africa or across the Atlantic? Here’s a look at some possible contenders. Next
Cardinal Angelo Scola
Title: Archbishop of Milan
Milan Cardinal Angelo Scola is considered a top candidate to succeed Benedict, although at age 71, he too would be an elderly pontiff if elected. Scola is close to Benedict, has a fierce intellect, and leads the most important archdiocese in Italy — no small thing given that Italians still dominate the College of Cardinals.
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn
Title: Archbishop of Vienna
Benedict’s onetime theology student, Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, 68, has long been considered to have the stuff of a pope — multilingual, affable and, most important, Benedict’s blessing.
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi
Title: Head of Vatican’s culture office
Other leading Italians include Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Vatican’s culture office and another intellectual heavyweight who quotes Hegel and Neitzsche as easily, and almost as frequently, as the Gospels. He has climbed into the spotlight with his ‘‘Courtyard of the Gentiles’’ project, an initiative to enter into dialogue with the worlds of art, culture and science — and, most important, atheists.
Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson
Title: Head of the Vatican’s justice and peace office
Cardinal Turkson became Ghana’s first cardinal when he was elevated by Pope John Paul II in 2003, while he was archbishop of Cape Coast. Six years later, Benedict tapped him to head the Vatican’s peace and justice office, which tackles issues such as the global financial meltdown, armed conflicts, and ethical codes for the business world.
One of Africa’s brightest hopes to be the next pope, Cardinal Turkson, says the time is right for a pontiff from the developing world, and that he’s up for the job ‘‘if it’s the will of God.’’
Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer
Title: Archbishop of Sao Paulo
The archbishop of one of the world’s largest Roman Catholic archdiocese, Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer is said to be a leading Latin American contender to succeed Pope Benedict XVI. In a recent interview Scherer said that “neither geographic origin nor age should matter much in determining the next pontiff.”
Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz
Title: Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
Brazilian Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, 65, who has earned praise as head of the Vatican’s office for religious congregations which he took over on 2011.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan
Title: Archbishop of New York
From: United States
Cardinal Timothy Dolan was appointed archbishop of Milwaukee in 2002 and then archbishop of New York in 2009. In an interview Cardinal Dolan said it would be ‘‘highly improbable’’ for him to be considered for the papacy. But joking with a reporter, he asked, ‘‘Is that why you’re kneeling?’’
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle
Title: Archbishop of Manila
From: The Philippines
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle is seen by many to be a rising star in the church. Tagle was made a cardinal in November, he would be a very young pope if elected.
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