The Tablet's Robert Mickens believes that Cardinal Kasper is the leading candidate to replace Pope John Paul II
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Among them is Robert Mickens, Vatican correspondent for the respected British Catholic weekly The Tablet. Mickens is a former student of the Pontifical Gregorian University -- the premier institution of its kind in Rome -- and he spent a decade as a correspondent for Vatican Radio. Among the current crop of papabile -- those who are "popeable" -- Mickens believes the leading candidates are Walter Kasper, 69, former bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart and now Rome's chief ecumenist and a leading theologian; Godfried Danneels, 69, the primate of Belgium and an articulate intellectual; and Roger Etchegaray, 79, a poised French cardinal with a strong record of pastoral and diplomatic achievements, and close ties to John Paul.