Cardinal Sodano's successor as the dean of the cardinals will be chosen among and by the eight cardinal bishops.
They are presently: Sodano, 92, Re, 86, Bertone, 85, Arinze, 87, Saraiva Martins, 88, Parolin, 65, Sandri, 76, Ouellet, 75, Filoni, 73.
Usually the longest-serving cardinal bishop of the suburbicarian sees, the six dioceses near Rome, is chosen. This would be Re.
However, after Sodano’s resignation, Francis said: "I am hoping they will elect someone who can carry this important responsibility full time."
This may have been an attempt to prevent Re’s election who may be too old to serve “full time.” The question is whether the cardinals will heed Francis’ advice or not.
The most important task of the dean is to summon the conclave for the purpose of electing a new pope.
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