Pope Benedict's Resignation

Could former Milwaukee Archbishop Dolan be next for Papacy?

CREATED Feb 11, 2013 - UPDATED: Feb 11, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - With the impending resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, speculation has already moved toward former Milwaukee Archbishop and current New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan as a potential candidate to take over.

However, Marquette University professor Fr. Steven Avella says that there is a long list of candidates that the College of Cardinals will consider when they hold their conclave and decide the next Pope.

"Dolan's name will likely come up," said Fr. Avella, who joined both Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News" and TODAY'S TMJ4's "Live at Daybreak."

"Anything can happen.  I'll be the last person to go on the air and say it's impossible for him to be elected, but at this point, the speculation is going to range wide."

Cardinal Dolan himself told NBC's "Today" that he was startled by the resignation.

When asked about whether he could become Pope, Dolan told reporters in New York "I don't think there'd be many Cardinals who'd think about that chance."

Much speculation has come that the next Pope could come from Africa or another location outside of Europe.

Whichever direction the Church takes, Fr. Avella admits that there are many factions and disagreements on who the next Pope should be.

"There are divisions among the Cardinals about where things should be going, who should be stepping forward."

The College of Cardinals will discern their decision in March.

"The Cardinal Dean will convene the conclave.  He'll formally summon all the Cardinals to come to Rome, and they'll begin their deliberation."