Cardinal Angelo Scola, the 71-year-old archbishop of Milan, Italy, has already gained the support of some 40 cardinals.
Live Science keeps you up to date on the discoveries and insights around religion, from how religious beliefs impact a person's health, to the reasons some people believe and others are atheists, to the history of religion.
The tradition of allowing only men to be pope goes back two thousand years, but in theory, the next pope could change the rule.
A study by the Pew Research Center shows that the total number of Catholics in the world has tripled in the past century.
The 85-year-old German-born pope said his frailty would keep him from meeting the demands of the ministry.
Christian missionaries are not only changing hearts and minds in the Amazon, but also biodiversity, researchers say.
Physicists argue that science will eventually explain absolutely everything about the universe, even how it started.
Religious beliefs may influence end-of-life treatments, leading to use of prolonged suffering of children, a new study says.