For the first time in 600 years, a pope is resigning after less than eight years in office. Today Pope Benedict XVI, 85, made the surprise announcement that he would step down on Feb. 28, citing his advanced age.
Who will succeed the very conservative German? Benedict, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was elected in April 2005 by fellow cardinals after John Paul II died.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, said a successor could be elected by Easter, which falls on March 31.
Who is that successor likely to be?
Already speculation is running rampant. Vatican experts say there is no clear favorite. Several Italians top the list (Italians hold a quarter of the seats in the College of Cardinals, which will pick the next pope), but a Canadian is also a frontrunner, and many are speculating that the next pope will come from Latin America, home to 42% of the world’s…
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