Candidates for role of Dean of College of Cardinals

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Angelo Sodano, at 92 years of age, has resigned from his position as Dean of the College of Cardinals. The process to find a new dean has already begun.

He will be replaced by one of the nine cardinals belonging to the Order of Bishops.

Besides Angelo Sodano, among those nine cardinals are Tarcisio Bertone; Josè Saraiva Martins; Giovanni Battista Re; Francis Arinze; Pietro Parolin; Leonardo Sandri; Marc Ouellet; and Fernando Filoni.

They will be the ones to vote for the new dean.

The dean's main task is to oversee the work of the conclave in the case of sede vacante, a period when there is no pope. He also coordinates relations between the pope and the cardinals.

Up to now, the post was for-life. Pope Francis has set a limit of five years, which can be renewed if necessary.

Ideally, the dean will be under 80 years old, so he can participate in the election of a new pope and ask the elected if he accepts the role.

That unwritten norm strengthens the candidacy of the youngest, Pietro Parolin; Leonardo Sandri; Marc Ouellet; and Fernando Filoni.

However, since the other five, the oldest of the group, hold the majority, the election depends on them.

Javier Martínez-Brocal
Translation: Claudia Torres

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