NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As the cardinals gather at the Vatican for the start of the conclave, excitement is growing in New York over the possibility of an American becoming the next pope.
While there is no clear front-runner, among the names being mentioned as a papal contender is New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
Outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, many parishioners have been pulling for Dolan.
“I think it would be wonderful,” Chris Boland said.
“I don’t think any part of the world would mind having him as a pope,” said Joe Peluso.
Some Vatican observers predict Dolan may win 10 or 20 votes in the first round. It takes 77 votes to win election.
“It’s an exciting time for every single Catholic around the world, and the Americans, for those of us who are Americans, just throw another thing into the mix. This is the first time they’ve ever taken seriously any American name,” Vatican adviser Greg Burke said.
Dolan was elevated to Archbishop by Benedict only a year ago, but has become something of an international darling.
On Monday as Cardinal Dolan arrived at the final pre-conclave meeting, Rome was waking up to Dolan’s smiling face on the front page of the popular newspaper, La Repubblica. The headline said the field of papal contenders is basically wide open, with the head of the New York Archdiocese gaining support.
“It’s a wide open field,” Burke said. “It is for all Catholics, a time of joy; a time of hope.”
But Dolan has brushed off speculation that he may be elected as the next pope.
“I’m anxious to get going,” he said. “Tuesday will be great.”
Speaking for the last time Tuesday before being sequestered, Dolan said he felt more at ease about the task at hand.
“And there’s a sense of resignation and conformity with God’s plan, It’s magnificent,” he said during his radio show on “The Catholic Channel” on SiriusXM. “It’s almost a microcosm of life itself, you know how you try to make the right decisions in conformity with God’s holy will. And I think that’s what’s happening now. I just hope I see you soon.”
Another American, Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, the Archbishop of Boston, has also been mentioned. Insiders say while it’s significant that Americans are even being considered possibilities, the two are long shots.
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