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MANILA, Philippines – With the surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, newly-installed Filipino Cardinal Luis Tagle is reportedly among the 10 frontrunner cardinals selected to be the next Pope, according to a Reuters dispatch posted by the Spirit Daily website.
Cardinal Tagle, the archbishop of Manila, is No. 9 among the frontrunners but he is the youngest at 55.
The 10 frontrunner cardinals as of Monday, Feb. 11 are: Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, 65, Brazil; Cardinal Timothy Dolan, 62, United States; Cardinal Marc Ouellet, 68, Canada; Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, 70, Italy; Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, 69, Argentina; Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, 63, Brazilla, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn,67, Austria; Cardinal Angelo Schola, 71, Italy; Cardinal Luis Tagle, 55, Philippines; and Cardinal Peter Turkson, 64, Ghana.
Reuters said that “Tagle has the charisma often compared to that of the late Pope John Paul. He is also close to Pope Benedict after working with him at the International Theological Commission. While he has many fans, he only became a cardinal in 2012 and conclaves are wary of young candidates.”
Pope Benedict stunned the world when he announced he would resign effective Feb. 28 because as leader of the 1.2 billion Catholics all over the world it requires “both strength of mind and body” and he is now 85.
This is the first time in nearly 600 years that a Pope resigns.
In announcing his resignation, Pope Benedict said: "After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”
The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII in 1415.
With the resignation of Pope Benedict, a Conclave of Cardinals will elect a new Pontiff next month in Vatican.
Cardinal Tagle is expected to attend the conclave.
Pope Benedict was elected Pontiff in 2005 following the death of Pope John Paul II.