Dionigi Tettamanzi was appointed Archbishop of Milan in 2002, taking a prominent post which marked him as a leading candidate to succeed Pope John Paul II in 2005. Dionigi Tettamanzi began studying at seminary while still a boy, and was ordained a priest in the Catholic Church in 1957. He taught theology for two decades while also serving as a priest to local parishes. In 1989 he was appointed bishop of Ancona-Osimo (also called Ancona-Osma) in Italy; later he became Archbishop of Genova, and in 1998 was elevated to Cardinal. Charming and rather hefty, Tettamanzi is a theological conservative but considered moderate enough to reach out to the more liberal wing of the church. During the slow decline in health of John Paul II early in the 21st century, Tettamanzi was often mentioned as a possible papal successor, along with fellow Cardinals Francis Arinze and Angelo Scola. On 19 April 2005, Germany's Joseph Ratzinger was elected to the papacy and took the name Pope Benedict XVI. Dionigi Tettamanzi resigned from the post of Archibishop of Milan in 2011, becoming Archbishop Emeritus, and was succeeded by Angelo Scola.
Dionigi Tettamanzi was called papabile in 2005 — the Italian word indicating a possible pope. By the time of Benedict XVI’s resignation in 2013, Tattamanzi was (at age 78) considered too old for the job… The Cardinal’s heft has sometimes been a joking matter; according to a 1999 article in the National Catholic Reporter, the Archbishop of Edinburgh, Keith Michael Patrick O’Brien, once referred to Tettamanzi as “that wee fat guy.”