While the health of Pope Francis is a subject of concern in Rome, rumors about his possible successor are multiplying. In the list of potential people concerned is a French archbishop.

The pope has decided not to attend Good Friday mass over Easter weekend. It is no secret that his state of health is of growing concern to the Vatican, which can only note the physical weakness of the 87-year-old Argentine. The pope has had to restrict his travel and only appears in a wheelchair. In the corridors of the Vatican, rumors about his possible succession are growing.

Pope Francis, however, warned that he did not intend to give up his office, Franceinfo recalled, as he has just entered his eleventh year of pontificate. “We do not lead with our knees, but with our heads,” he declared. However, his letter of resignation would already be written, it has been since the day of his election. He also revealed to Mexican television NMás that his burial was already in preparation: “It’s my great devotion… my great devotion. I want to be buried in Santa Maria Maggiore. The place is ready.”

According to Le Figaro, several names of cardinals would appear on the list of possible successors to the pope, if he were to finally give up. Three of them would be in pole position. One of the most sought after would be Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, current number 2 to the Pope, officially Secretary of State. He would compete with Matteo Maria Zuppi, Archbishop of Bologna and the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Pierbattista Pizzaballa. However, none of these three favorites would currently be really better placed than the others. The first being considered too “erased”, the second too close to the Sant Egidio movement, an association of faithful Catholics, while the last is judged, at 58 years old, too young.

Apart from these three Italians, other Europeans would be on the list of potential successors. In Hungary, it is Cardinal Peter Erdo who is making himself known but some consider him “uncharismatic”. Facing him, in Sweden, Cardinal Anders Arborelius could create a surprise. The list also includes Spanish, Portuguese and Asian cardinals.

It is in the “thirteenth” position that a Frenchman takes his place: the Archbishop of Marseille, Jean-Marc Aveline. He stood out during the pope’s summer visit to the Phoenician city, which was his last official trip. Aged 65 and a doctoral student in theology, he founded the Institute of Science and Theology of Religions in Marseille. He was named titular bishop in 2013 and then archbishop of Marseille in 2019 by Pope Francis. He would share the latter’s ideas on the policy of tolerance regarding migrants and his vision of a less European-centric Church. His weak point would be that he doesn’t speak Italian.