There has never been an American pope. And if you ask Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, he will lightheartedly dismiss the possibility that he could become the first. But a leading Italian newspaper suggests Dolan’s papal prospects are no laughing matter.
CBS New York cites a report on Wednesday in the Rome-based daily, La Repubblica, which indicates that Tarcisio Bertone, a powerful prelate in “the old country,” is working feverishly to advance Dolan’s chances in the upcoming conclave.
It’s not the first time the ebullient Dolan has been mentioned as a potential papal successor. Outgoing Pope Benedict XVI clearly saw the viability of this option a year ago, when he elevated Dolan to cardinal, thereby eliminating one hurdle.
Dolan is not the only American prelate under consideration for the highest position in the Catholic Church. Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston is also in the running. CBS quotes John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter as saying:
The next pope is going to have to be a serious reformer on the child sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church and, of course, O’Malley has that profile.
Meantime, Dolan remains humble, telling a local reporter on Wednesday, “You know, listen, all the cardinals are really embarrassed to talk about that, and we’d be uncomfortable talking about it, so I’ll leave it at that.”
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