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A look at some frequently mentioned papal candidates

VATICAN CITY—The 115 cardinals from 52 countries, representing five continents, can pick any unmarried Roman Catholic male to be the church's next pope, at least in theory, during their conclave that begins Monday. In practice, they are likely to pick from among themselves. And of those, nine names have circulated most frequently, though others also are often mentioned.

In alphabetical order, the nine are:

Cardinal Francis Arinze, Archbishop of Nigeria: A black African of the Ibo tribe, Arinze, 72, was raised in a native religion before converting to Catholicism at 9. Like many African Catholics he is morally and theologically conservative, and he has a reputation for speaking provocatively in public. He has been head of the Vatican office for inter-religious dialogue and for the office that develops and monitors liturgy.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Bergoglio, 68, was trained as a chemist before becoming a Jesuit. He is strong on economic and social justice but was never part of the Latin American liberation theology movement. He is intellectual, traditional on moral theology.

Cardinal Ivan Dias, Archbishop of Bombay. Dias, 68, has spent much of his career in the Vatican's diplomatic service, where he worked in Eastern Europe, Africa and Indonesia. He speaks at least 17 languages and is a conservative among the Asian cardinals, who tend to be progressive. He was a prominent friend and supporter of the late Mother Teresa. His Asian and diplomatic background could help engage with Islam effectively, but Catholicism's minority status in most of Asia makes him a long shot.

Cardinal Claudio Hummes, Archbishop of Sao Paulo. As head of the largest archdiocese in the country with the most Roman Catholics in the world, Hummes, 70, has earned a reputation as conservative on moral teachings but progressive on social and economic issues. He says the church needs to consider giving national and regional bishops' conferences more authority, which is a view popular among many cardinals who head archdioceses. He was active in the liberation movement in the 1970s, but later distanced himself from it. He does not speak English.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 78, the mild-mannered but steel-willed "enforcer" of church doctrine under Pope John Paul II, who appears to have put together the largest coalition of early support. Ratzinger, a German, is popular among cardinals who want to see a continuation of John Paul's theological orthodoxy, but who also a want someone who might spend less time traveling the globe and more time focused on the internal workings of the church. But he is also viewed as a divisive figure likely to retain Rome's strong grip on the global church. His age might be an advantage if the cardinals want a short pontificate to follow John Paul's 26 years, but could disqualify him in the eyes of those wanting a longer or more vibrant leader.

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras. Outgoing and fluent in many languages, he was elected head of the Latin American Bishops Conference, and is considered moderate on theology and progressive on social justice. At age 62 he could be too young for some, just right for those who want an active, outgoing pope.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar of the Archdiocese of Rome. Ruini, 74, oversees the day-to-day affairs of the Vatican. He is also president of the Italian bishops' conference and a friend of Ratzinger's, whose candidacy he is supporting. Cardinals who would rather see someone from outside the Roman Curia might see him as a compromise, but he has little experience outside Italy, where he is exceptionally influential.

Cardinal Angelo Scola, the patriarch of Venice. Urbane, intellectual and gifted in language, Scola, 62, heads the Vatican's office for enforcing the church's teachings on life and sexual morality. He is considered a hard-liner on these, but is also described as open-minded and a good listener. His relative youth might be a factor.

Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, the archbishop of Milan. Popular among many of the Italian cardinals, Tettamanzi, 71, is reported to be campaigning hard among cardinals from underdeveloped countries, who appreciate his stances against exploitative economic systems. Personally affable, he is considered less dogmatic than Ratzinger and one of his strongest challengers going into the conclave. He doesn't speak English.


(c) 2005, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

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