History has begun as cardinal electors have entered the Sistine Chapel. They come from 48 countries with one job in mind: selecting the 266th pope. Before that time comes and the white smoke clears, take a look at some of the men who are seen as favorites to next lead the Catholic Church.
|Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco|
Born: January 14, 1943
Bio Brief: The Archbishop of Genoa also serves as president of the Italian Bishops' Conference.
|Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio|
Born: December 17, 1936
Bio Brief: The 76-year-old from Argentina was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2001.
|Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz|
Born: April 24, 1947
Bio Brief: Cardinal Braz de Aviz is prefect of the Vatican's office that oversees religious orders. He is the son of a butcher and one of eight children.
|Cardinal Timothy Dolan|
Born: February 6, 1950
Country: United States
Bio Brief: The Archbishop of New York was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI and is known for his jolly exterior.
|Cardinal Peter Erdo|
Born: June 25, 1952
Bio Brief: The 60-year-old is an alumnus of UC Berkeley and was twice elected president of the European Bishops' Conference.
|Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley|
Born: June 29, 1944
Country: United States
Bio Brief: Cardinal O'Malley of Boston wears the simple brown robes of a monk. He is the only Capuchin monk who's a member of the College of Cardinals.
|Cardinal Marc Ouellet|
Born: June 8, 1944
Bio Brief: Ouellet has seven brothers and sisters and plays ice hockey when he can. He currently serves as head of the Congregation of Bishops.
|Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi|
Born: October 18, 1942
Bio Brief: The Vatican's culture minister is the author of more than 150 books. He blogs, tweets and has his own television show and newspaper column.
|Cardinal Leonardo Sandri|
Born: November 18, 1943
Bio Brief: Born in Argentina to Italian parents, Sandri has lived in Rome since his 20s. He was a chief of staff to Pope John Paul II and announced the pontiff's death to the world from St. Peter's Square on April 2, 2005.
|Cardinal Robert Sarah|
Born: June 15, 1945
Bio Brief: Cardinal Sarah oversees Catholic charities around the world. He traveled to Haiti as the pope's special envoy after 2010's devastating earthquake.
|Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer|
Born: September 21, 1949
Bio Brief: CardinalScherer is the Archbishop of Sao Paolo, a city which has more Roman Catholics than the entire population of New York City. He is the son of German immigrants.
|Cardinal Christoph Schonborn|
Born: January 22, 1945
Bio Brief: A count as well as a cardinal, Schonborn has seven first names to match the seven languages he can speak. He was a student of Joseph Ratzinger and has been called Pope Benedict XVI's "spiritual son."