Pope Francis has been the current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church since March 2013, but he is 80 years old, turning 81 on December 17th, and it is time for him to start thinking about a successor. It is going to be a very interesting race to see who will take over after Francis, and here is a look at some of the top contenders. Francis would like to elect a liberal Pope that is more along his beliefs of wanting the Church to be more open and modern, rather than a conservative one that would be more strict.
Cardinal Angelo Scola
Cardinal Angelo Scola was in the running to be the current Pope after he was named the Archbishop of Milan in June 2011 by Benedict XVI. However, he retired in July of this year as Pope Francis took his resignation. That being said, the lure of being the Pope could bring Scola back into the fold. Scola was in the conclave that elected Benedict XVI, who was considered to be a conservative Pope.
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle is the Archbishop of Manila and has been since October 2011. He would be probably be considered a liberal Pope as he has criticized those in the Vatican that frown upon LGBT values, as well as those that are divorced or remarried.
Cardinal Marc Ouellet
Cardinal Marc Ouellet has been a cardinal since October 2003 and was the Archbishop of Quebec from 2003 to 2010. He was also in the running to succeed Benedict XVI, whom he considers as something of a mentor, and he is definitely on the conservative side of the fence when you look at his views on things like homosexuality and abortion. That being said, he claimed to have supported Tagle.
Cardinal Peter Turkson
Cardinal Peter Turkson has been a cardinal since 2003 and he was the Archbishop of Cape Coast, but now he serves as the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development. He is well respected in the Catholic community in Africa, and he has asked that homosexuals be treated better in Africa, as well as for a reform of the international financial system.
Cardinal Odilo Scherer
Cardinal Odilo Scherer is the Archbishop of Sao Paulo and was another person who was mentioned as a successor to Benedict XVI in 2013. He is thought to be a moderate in terms of his views, and he is more active on social media than most cardinals. Scherer has also argued that it would be a bad idea for Brazil to remove crucifixes from public places.
Cardinal Peter Erdo
Cardinal Peter Erdo is the Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and Primate of Hungary, and he has gone on record to being opposed to divorced and remarried Catholics receiving Holy Communion. He has also been working on trying to restore the faith of the Hungarian people, looking at different ways on how to do so.
Other candidates include Cardinals Christoph Schonborn and Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga (+1400), and Gerhard Ludwig Muller and Sean O’Malley (+1600).
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