From Brazil or Nigeria to the Vatican: the top six candidates for the succession

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The Independent Online

Claudio Hummes, 70, Archbishop of São Paulo

A liberal from the world's biggest Catholic country, yet unlikely to frighten the conservatives. But he is a Franciscan - monks are rarely made Pope.

Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, 62, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa

The head of the church in Honduras, theologically orthodox yet socially committed. But he is comparatively young, and is not always diplomatic.

Francis Arinze, 72, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship

Born in Nigeria, long spoken of as the first black Pope. Has a deep knowledge of Islam, but his theological conservatism may be too similar to the late Pope.

Christoph Schönborn, 60, Archbishop of Vienna

From Bohemian family that has produced two cardinals and 19 bishops. High level of Vatican experience, but not popular in Austria and has seemed to move to the theological right.

Dionigi Tettamanzi, 71, Archbishop of Milan

Probably Italy's best chance of the papacy, he is a middle-ground candidate but his support for Opus Dei will not go down well everywhere.

Angelo Sodano, 77, Vatican Secretary of State

He holds the top job in the Vatican curia, an enormous advantage, and has his own power base. But he is elderly and is seen as short of pastoral experience.