All 115 cardinals will gather in the Vatican for the papal conclave this week and the list of possible candidates is long. Though any one of them could be the next pope, Vatican experts have identified a few potential favorites.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, 72, is one of three U.S. Cardinals considered possible contenders for the papacy. The Washington D.C. Archbishop has a strong track record as a leader and is familiar with Rome, having spent more than 10 years there, first as a student then as the secretary to Cardinal John Wright. Though Wuerl hasn't gotten as much attention as his fellow American cardinals Dolan and O'Malley, Vatican expert John Allen, writing for the National Catholic Reporter
, has pegged him as the most qualified of the three to modernize Vatican business management and noted that, as a Bishop in Pittsburgh, Wuerl was one of the first to refuse to back down on the issue of sexual abuse in the church.
In this photograph, Cardinal Wuerl blesses Benilda Tiongco as she enters the Cathedral of St. Matthew for the Good Friday Mass in Washington, D.C., April 22, 2011.