John Allen in Rome: Although the election of a pope is in many ways a scripted process, the closest thing to a wild card may be Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna.
Rome dispatch: The Vatican specified rules for the upcoming conclave, including the penalty of excommunication for those who share inside information.
Rome dispatch: Pope Benedict XVI has given the College of Cardinals authority to change the date of the upcoming conclave to elect his successor, the Vatican announced Monday.
Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien, who has been accused of inappropriate sexual relations with priests, has resigned and will not partake in conclave.
John Allen in Rome: A canon lawyer by training, Cardinal Péter Erdõ has been on the ecclesiastical fast track his entire career.
John Allen: Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer of Brazil has proof he’s capable of making decisions stick, perhaps suggesting he’s tough enough to lead.
John Allen in Rome: There's a lot to like about the man touted as the "Great Asian Hope" to take over the papacy.
John Allen in Rome: If picking a pope were like hiring for a job, Leonardo Sandri's résumé would earn him an interview.
John Allen: In an interview with an Italian newspaper, Bishop Charles Scicluna said Cardinal Roger Mahony made mistakes and will have to decide if he will vote in the conclave.
John Allen in Rome: Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet has the brains, the languages and the life experience to be pope.