Take it with a whiff of incense:
Cardinal Marc Ouellet
- Prefect of Congregation for Bishops.
- Noted for his cheerful, open and humble persona as well as his uncompromising orthodoxy, Canadian Cardinal Ouellet has for some years been regarded as the cardinal to watch for the future.
- As Archbishop of Quebec, he was a lone voice surrounded by liberal bishops and radical secularism, and has resolutely remained one of the most staunch defenders of the Catholic faith in the Canadian hierarchy.
- A native French speaker and the author of many books, he is also a proficient linguist. He is 68.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith
- Archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka.
- Hugely popular among the more orthodox wing of the Church, Cardinal Ranjith ticks many of the boxes required to be Pope.
- Known for his personal holiness and administrative abilities, he is also a trained Vatican diplomat who has served in many cities around the world.
- Strongly loyal to Pope Benedict, he has also spent time in the Roman Curia as number two in the Vatican’s department on liturgy.
- He is also well respected in his native land. He is 65.
Cardinal Angelo Scola
- Archbishop of Milan, Italy.
- Son of a truck driver and once an outsider to take over from John Paul II, Cardinal Scola, 71, has for some years been the bookie’s favorite to succeed Benedict XVI.
- An eminent scholar, he has striven to find ways to avoid a ‘clash of civilizations’ through building of forum for dialogue and encounter between the West and Islam.
- An ebullient but warm character he is also a polyglot and a respected intellectual — though sometimes the depth of his intellect can confound even the most erudite of theologians.
Cardinal Robert Sarah
- President of the Pontifical Charity Cor Unum.
- A native of Guinea, gently spoken Cardinal Sarah, 67, is both frank and uncompromising when it comes to the Church’s teaching and respected in the Roman Curia.
- He has been instrumental in overseeing a radical restructuring of the Catholic Church’s international development aid programs which, under Benedict XVI, have become more explicitly Catholic in their identity.
Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke
- Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
- In the unlikely event of an American being chosen, chances are he would be Cardinal Burke.
- Humble, orthodox and fiercely uncompromising especially about Catholic politicians practicing their faith coherently, he recently said that Irish Catholic politicians who support abortion should not receive Holy Communion.
- Cardinal Burke, 64, a native of Richland Center, Wisc. is an expert in Canon Law and a keen proponent of the traditional liturgy.
- He has also been a close confident of Pope Benedict.
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn
- Archbishop of Vienna, Austria.
- A member of a prominent aristocratic Austrian family that produced two cardinals in the 18th and 19th centuries, Cardinal Schoenborn, 68, has long been considered a serious candidate for Pope, but his star has waned a little in recent years as he has become encumbered with a number of controversies, and his handling of those controversies has been questioned.
- Nevertheless, he has had extensive experience of defending the Church in the face of radical secularism in Austria.
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco
- Archbishop of Genoa, Italy.
- A firm and loyal friend of Benedict XVI, Cardinal Bagnasco, 70, has emerged as a doughty yet softly spoken and deeply pastoral leader of the Church in Italy, and an ideal candidate to tackle increasing secularism.
- His meteoric rise is testament to his abilities.
- He has spoken out strongly in defense of Church teaching, notably against same-sex unions in 2007, a battle the Italian Church eventually won but which led to death threats against him and the presence of armed guards.
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga
- Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
- A trained aircraft pilot and saxophonist, Cardinal Maradiaga, 70, is from the more liberal wing of the Church.
- He has long been one of Latin America’s leading voices in the College of Cardinals, especially on social justice issues.
- He once called poverty and social injustice the real “weapons of mass destruction” and said globalization is creating a world in which “the greediness of a few is leaving the majority on the margin of history.”
- He is most popular in Latin America, home to 40 percent of the world’s Catholics.
- He is also good with the media, and speaks eight languages.
Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson
- President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
- Now 64, Ghanaian Cardinal Turkson was the youngest cardinal when John Paul II elevated him to the College of Cardinals in 2003.
- Since then, he has made his mark as a champion of Christian unity, interreligious dialogue and the Church in Africa.
- A proficient linguist (he speaks six languages), many see him as a logical choice to become an African Pope.
- But his judgement has been questioned by some since he became president of the Pontifical Council.
Cardinal Péter Erdõ
- Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary.
- At only 60, Cardinal Erdõ, the primate of Hungary, is one of the youngest members of the College of Cardinals.
- A canon lawyer, he has a string of awards and positions to his name.
- He is also the president of Europe’s Catholic bishops, an advisor to a number of Vatican departments and has written hundreds of research papers and articles.
- His star is rising and is one to watch.