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Speculation surrounds Archbishop Dolan amid papal vacancy


UNDATED (WSAU)  It’s only been a couple of hours since Pope Benedict said he would resign at the end of the month. And already there’s speculation that former Milwaukee Catholic Archbishop Tim Dolan could be a candidate for the next pontiff. Marquette professor Steven Avella tells WTMJ Radio in Milwaukee that a long list of candidates will be reviewed by the College of Cardinals and quote, “Dolan’s name will likely come up.”

Dolan headed the 10-county Milwaukee Archdiocese for much of the previous decade, before becoming the Archbishop of New York. The Associated Press calls Dolan a “long-shot” candidate to replace Benedict. Dolan is considered very popular, and he supports the pontiff’s conservative line. But the A-P said the general thinking is that the church does not need a pope from one of the world’s superpowers.

Marquette’s Avella said anything can happen – and the speculation will cover a wide range. Much of that speculation is that the next pope could come from Africa or somewhere else outside Europe.

The 85-year-old Benedict will resign February 28th, and a conclave is expected to name the new pontiff before the end of March. Popes generally die in office, and Benedict is the first to resign since Gregory VII in 1415.

Benedict said today’s world requires the Catholic church leader to have a strong body and mind. And he said both have quote, “deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”