Padua

Venice patriarch, wildcard pope candidate, praises Benedict

Francesco Moraglia, 59, among possible young successors

Venice patriarch, wildcard pope candidate, praises Benedict

Padua, February 26 - The patriarch of Venice and wildcard candidate for pope praised Benedict XVI's legacy on Tuesday in the final days of his papacy. "He is a man that has served the church through and through, and who taught us that one does not fill a post but serve the Church. We all love him very much," said Archbishop Francesco Moraglia. He was speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony to march the start of the academic year at the Triveneto School of Theology. At just 59 and not yet a cardinal, Moraglia is considered a dark horse candidate for pope. But a large number of the prelates who held the office of Venice patriarch eventually rose to pope, three of whom did so in the last century: Pius X in 1903, John XXIII in 1958, and John Paul I in 1978. On February 11, Benedict shocked the world by announcing he would step down on February 28, becoming the first pope to do so in 600 years. Benedict, 85, blamed his advanced age, leading many of the faithful to call for a young successor.

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