Colombia cardinal eligible to replace Pope Benedict XVI

Darío Rubén Salazar Gómez greeting Pope Benedict XVI in the ad limina visit of the Colombian bishops in June 2012.

Due to age restrictions, only one of Colombia’s three cardinals is eligible to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, after the Catholic church leader resigns at the end of this month.

Of Colombia’s three cardinals – Dario Castrillon, Pedro Rubiano Saenz and Ruben Salazar Gomez – only Salazar is on the right side of 80, the age limit for a new pope, reported El Espectador.

Salazar (born 22 September 1942) is the current Cardinal Archbishop of Bogotá since his installation on 13 August 2010. He was created a Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI. As Cardinal priest he was assigned the titular church of San Gerardo Maiella. On Thursday, 31 January 2013, Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to serve as a Member of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Pope Benedict XVI had been hoped to visit Colombia at some point in 2013, however the announcement of his resignation on Monday has thrown a spanner in the works.

The current pope claimed that his advanced age and declining health had conspired to leave him unfit to continue the performance of his duties as pope of the Catholic church, which has been rocked in recent years by revelations of wide spread child sexual abuse.

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