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Speculation Swirls Over Pope's Replacement

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A successor to Pope Benedict XVI will be chosen next month and the speculation on who that might be is well underway.

The 85-year-old made the surprise announcement yesterday that he will resign February 28, saying he is simply not strong enough to carry out the duties of the job.

Benedict has handpicked many of the 118 cardinals who will vote when they meet in Rome in the coming weeks.

Soon after the announcement, names of possible successors were being thrown around.

Cardinal Angelo Scola, the Archbishop of Milan, is seen as a top contender.

There's been speculation it may finally be time for a pope from Africa or Latin America.

Cardinals Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, Francis Arinze of Nigeria, or Peter Turkson of Ghana have all been mentioned.

"I'm from Brazil. We would love to have a Latin American be the next pope," said one worshipper outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in Midtown.

"I'm hoping they extend their reach into other countries outside of the European countries because Africa certainly needs their help," said another worshipper.

Here in North America, Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec is thought to have a chance at the Papacy.

Of course, Cardinal Timothy Dolan -- the archbishop of New York -- is also being mentioned, but he is thought to be a longshot candidate.

It is expected the cardinals should be able to pick Benedict's successor before Easter. If a younger man is chosen, he could determine the church's direction for decades.

Catholics by St. Patrick's Cathedral disagreed on what that direction should be.

"The next pope has to be younger, more modern," said a worshipper.

"I would really like to stay the way it is now and just continue along the same path," said another.

"They should make some really big changes as birth control for third world countries, maybe abortion for rape victims, things like that. I mean, stay with the times, and they're not," said a third.

Benedict is the first pope in almost 600 years to step down.

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