James Downey: Choice of Pope will send powerful message to selfish world leaders
Joseph Ratzinger was already an old man when he was elected Pope and took the name Benedict XVI. His predecessor John Paul II ascended the throne of St Peter while still relatively young and became one of the longest-serving popes.
These simple facts will be greatly on the minds of the College of Cardinals when they meet to choose Benedict's successor.
Do they vote for another old man, someone unlikely to hold office long enough to make disruptive changes?