Pope Benedict XVI appointed Venice patriarch Cardinal Angelo Scola as archbishop of Milan on Tuesday, moving him to a high profile position in the Italian Catholic church.

The 69-year-old Scola is a theologian like Benedict and is considered one of his closest advisers among Italian prelates. He is known for his outreach to Muslim and Orthodox Christian communities.

Scola was considered a possible contender for the papacy when Benedict was elected in 2005, especially since Venice produced three 20th-century popes.

Milan is Europe’s largest archdiocese, Italy’s financial capital and a major cultural center.

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