O’Malley says there are some ‘wonderful’ candidates to be new pope

From left, Cardinals Sean O'Malley, Daniel DiNardo and Francis George meet the journalists at the North American college in Rome, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. In a final farewell to his cardinals as pope, Benedict XVI tried to dispel concerns about the unprecedented future awaiting the Catholic Church, with one reigning and one retired pope living side-by-side. He pledged his "unconditional reverence and obedience" to his successor. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
O’Malley spoke at the news conference, while Cardinals Daniel DiNardo and Francis George listened.
Gregorio Borgia/AP

Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, who is in Rome to join the conclave that will select the new pope, said today at a news conference that there are some “wonderful candidates.”

“I’m comforted by the fact that there are obvious candidates who would be competent folks, that you’re faced with a number of choices,” he said.

But he also said, “I don’t think any one of us have gone in saying, ‘This is who I would vote for.’” He said the cardinals were “still in the process of discernment and prayer.”

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O’Malley spoke along with two other American cardinals at the Pontifical North American College. The news conference was webcast on wcvb.com.

Asked what Americans were looking for in a new pope, O’Malley said, “I think certainly our people want a holy man to be the pope. We have been very blessed in the last century to have extraordinarily learned and holy men.”

He also said, “In today’s world, the ability to communicate the faith is important,” noting the need to “touch the hearts” of people, particularly youth.

O’Malley’s name has been floated by some Vatican watchers as a possible candidate for pope himself. But he has said he’s not losing sleep over the possibility and has bought a round-trip ticket that will bring him back to Boston.