Argentina's Leonardo Sandri may be in the running to become the first Latin American to lead the world’s one billion Roman Catholics after Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation Monday.
In the midst of what was supposed to be a routine meeting with cardinals about potential saints, Pope Benedict (born Joseph Ratzinger) delivered the news in Latin that he is resigning on Feb. 28 because of old age. Benedict will become the first pope in 600 years to resign.
“In today’s world, in order to govern the bark of St. Peter and proclaim the gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary,” Benedict said in his announcement. "Strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”
But just as shocking as the news that came on the heels of the Catholic priest scandal, is speculation about who will take the 85-year-old pope's place. Technically, any male Catholic is eligible to be elected pope. But traditionally, the cardinals choose one of their own.
Cardinal Sandri, who's of Italian descent and joined the priesthood in 1967, is perhaps best known for serving as spokesman for Pope Juan Pablo II. According to Terra, Sandri distinguished himself in diplomatic roles for the Catholic church, building a reputation for effective diplomacy.
But the Argentine cardinal isn't the only Latin American who stands a chance at pope. Reuters considers Brazilian Archbishop Odilo Scherer a strong candidate, and VOXXI views Colombian Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gómez as a possibility.
Who do you think should replace Pope Benedict?