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Who he is: Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco is the Archbishop of Genoa and widely considered a candidate to succeed Pope Benedict XVI.

His origins: Bagnasco was born January 14, 1943 in Pontevico, Italy, where his family had been evacuated during World War II. He was an altar boy and cherished the hope of becoming a priest from that early on in his life. Later, he studied in the Genoa seminary and was ordained in 1966. The intellectual Bagnasco also studied philosophy and metaphysics at the University of Genoa.

 Read: Who Is Cardinal Angelo Scola?

His career track: In 1998, he was named Bishop of Pesaro and, 12 years later, rose to become that city’s Archbishop. He later served as Archbishop of the military before become Archbishop of Milan in 2006. Pope Benedict XVI also tapped Bagnasco to serve as the president of the powerful and influential Italian Episcopal Conference, then named him as a cardinal in 2007.

His beliefs: Bagnasco is considered to be extremely conservative, with strong opinions against abortion and same-sex unions. But he’s also a proponent of social justice and rights for workers.

Why he might be pope: Many consider Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco a top papabili – or someone who could become the next pope — if the conclave wishes to return to an Italian pontiff.

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