See some of the names for who may be elected to lead over 1 billion followers of the Catholic faith.
Cardinals from around the world gather this week in a conclave to elect a new pope following the stunning resignation of Benedict XVI. Take a look at who some of the contenders for the next pope are and then read the full Associated Press story .
Scola is seen as Italy's best chance at reclaiming the papacy, following back-to-back pontiffs from outside the country that had a lock on the job for centuries. He's also one of the top names among all of the papal contenders. (AP)
Scherer is known for prolific tweeting, appearances on Brazil's most popular late-night talk show and squeezing into the subway for morning commutes. Brazil's best hope to supply the next pontiff is touted as an overall contender. (AP)
Canada's Ouellet once said that being pope "would be a nightmare." He would know, having enjoyed the confidence of two popes as a top-ranked Vatican insider. (AP)
Erdo is the son of a deeply religious couple who defied communist repression in Hungary to practice their faith. And if elected pope, the 60-year-old would be the second pontiff to come from eastern Europe. (AP)
Ravasi, the Vatican's culture minister, is an erudite scholar with a modern touch - just the combination some faithful see as ideal for reviving a church beset by scandal and a shrinking flock. (AP)
Often cast as the social conscience of the church, Ghana's Turkson is viewed by many as the top African contender for pope. (AP)
Dolan, the 63-year-old archbishop of New York, is an upbeat, affable defender of Catholic orthodoxy, and a well-known religious figure in the United States. (AP)
Leonardo Sandri, 69, is a Vatican insider who has run the day-to-day operations of the global church's vast bureaucracy and roamed the world as a papal diplomat. (AP)
Asia's most prominent Roman Catholic leader knows how to reach the masses: He sings on stage, preaches on TV, brings churchgoers to laughter and tears with his homilies. And he's on Facebook. (AP)
The archbishop of Genoa, Bagnasco also is head of the powerful Italian bishops' conference. Both roles give him outsized influence in the conclave. At 70 years old, Bagnasco is seen as in the right age bracket for papal consideration. (AP)
Schoenborn is a soft-spoken conservative who is ready to listen to those espousing reform. That profile could appeal to fellow cardinals looking to elect a pontiff with the widest-possible appeal to the world's 1 billion Catholics. (AP)
As archbishop of Boston, O'Malley has faced the fallout from the church's abuse scandals for nearly a decade.