Archbishop Edwin O'Brien, 60, has been the archbishop for the Catholic Archdiocese for the U.S. Military since 1997. He was born in the Bronx borough of New York and educated at parochial schools there and in suburban Westchester County before entering St. Joseph's Seminary, where he served as rector in the late 1980s and mid-90s.
Like O'Connor, who was a career military chaplain, O'Brien has a military background. He was a priest at the Military Academy at West Point before joining the Army in 1970. He worked as a chaplain with the 82nd Airborne in Fort Bragg, N.C., and then served in Vietnam in 1971-72 with the 173rd Airborne Brigade.
O'Brien served as an aide to O'Connor and his predecessor, Cardinal Terence Cooke, in the mid-1980s, and was director of communications for the New York Archdiocese in the early 1980s.
Bishop Henry Mansell, 62, bishop in Buffalo, is a native of New York City and was educated at parochial schools in the Bronx and later at St. Joseph's Seminary.
He served in a variety of administrative positions for the church, including director of the Office of Parish Councils, chancellor for priest personnel, and as an auxiliary bishop in New York City and a former top aide and trusted adviser to O'Connor. He has been the bishop of Buffalo since 1995.
Bishop Sean Patrick O'Malley, 55, has been bishop of Fall River - a diocese of about 400,000 in southeastern Massachusetts - since 1992. Before that he spent eight years in the Virgin Islands, where he was bishop of St. Thomas.
O'Malley is a Franciscan friar and often wears the brown robes and sandals that are the uniform of the Capuchin Order, which is dedicated to the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi.
In the 1970s, O'Malley ran the Catholic Hispanic Center in Washington, served as vicar for the Hispanic, Portuguese and Haitian communities, and headed the church's Office of Social Ministry.
Born in Ohio, O'Malley attended Catholic schools in Butler, Pa., and Capuchin College in Washington, D.C. He also holds a doctorate in Spanish and Portuguese literature from Catholic University in Washington, where he taught for four years.
Archbishop Justin F. Rigali, 64, was appointed archbishop of St. Louis in 1994. Before that, he had never led a parish. He went to Rome as a young priest from California and spent 25 years in the Vatican as a career diplomat, head of the Vatican diplomatic school and papal translator.
When Pope John Paul II talked to Mother Teresa, Rigali stood beside them translating. Like O'Connor, he is believed to be close to the pope and holds similarly conservative views.
Rigali was host for the visit of the pope to St. Louis in 1999 - the only such visit to a single diocese in the United States by the pope.
Rigali was born in Los Angeles, one of seven children. He attended parochial schools and seminaries in California and was ordained a priest in 1961.
Michael Egan, 68, has been bishop of the Bridgeport, Conn., diocese, which includes the wealthy Greenwich area, since 1988. Egan was made an auxiliary bishop for education in the New York archdiocese in 1985. He is a native of Oak Park, Ill., and served in Rome for 18 years.
William Murphy, 59, a native of Boston, has been auxiliary bishop there since 1995. He is a graduate of Harvard and is close to the pope, having accompanied him on trips to the Middle East and Cuba.
Theodore McCarrick, 69, archbishop of Newark since 1986, is a native New Yorker who was educated at Fordham University in the Bronx, St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, and Catholic University in Washington, where he was a dean of students in the early 1960s. He was also the president of Catholic University in Puerto Rico in the late '60s, and served briefly as a secretary to O'Connor's predecessor, Cooke. McCarrick was not close to O'Connor, and had not been seen as a likely replacement if O'Connor had retired before dying. But he does have his proponents at the Vatican.
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