Who Will Be the Next Pope? Top 4 Contenders to Replace Benedict


The Vatican announced Friday that it's already summoned the 115 eligible cardinals who will take part in selecting the papal conclave 2013, and that "congregations" leading up to the actual conclave will start Monday — reported USA Today. The Holy See added that cardinals would join the congregations in Rome to decide together on the official start date for the conclave. This would be the first conclave in 719 years to take place with the previous pope still alive, and here are the frontrunners to replace Benedict:

1. Cardinal Marc Ouellet

Ouellet was born on June 8, 1944 in La Motte near Amos in Abitibi in Canada. And, though he claimed in June 2011 that, for him, being Pope "would be a nightmare," he's considered one of the strongest frontrunners to replace Benedict. 

2. Archbishop Odilo Scherer:

The Sao Paulo archbishop Odilo Scherer has emerged as a top contender, which would make him the first Brazilian (and Latin America) pope ever if selected. He is considered to be theologically moderate. And he has 20,000 followers on his Twitter account @DomOdiloScherer.

3. Cardinal Angelo Scola:

Global Vatican watchers have tipped Milan Cardinal Angelo Scola as favorite to succeed Benedict. Scola is the author of numerous theological and pedagogical works on topics such as bio-medical ethics, theological anthropology, human sexuality and marriage and the family. 

4. Cardinal Peter Turkson:

The potential first black pope, Turkson has said that "if God would wish to see a black man also as pope, thanks be to God." The Catholic Church chronicler Rocco Palmo called Turkson the lone Scripture scholar in the Pope's "Senate" and believes that his status as a potential "papabile" has been elevated due to his appointment as spokesman for Second Synod for Africa in 2009.