Cardinal Dolan supplies several times over.
The Rev. James Farnan, a pastor in Beaver County, attended seminary at Rome's North American College in the 1990s, when then-Monsignor Dolan was the rector. He was such a brilliant teacher and preacher that students were eager to attend his seminars.
"They were entertaining, stuffed with content and inspiring. He would take the ethereal and make it practical, without losing its lofty nature," Father Farnan said.
When the eighth-graders from Father Farnan's school, Divine Mercy in Beaver Falls, visited St. Patrick's Cathedral on a class trip, Cardinal Dolan met them there and connected with them. "He told them that, because he was my rector, he considered them his grandkids," Father Farnan said.
But the outgoing, glad-handing qualities that make him so appealing to Americans may be off-putting to those of other cultures who consider Americans brash. And, as with Cardinal O'Malley, there are questions about whether someone who has never worked in the Vatican bureaucracy can solve entrenched problems there. Cardinal O'Malley has drawn a lot of media interest for his track record on sex abuse and the brown Franciscan habit that symbolizes love and humility throughout the Catholic world.
Mr. Allen believes that Cardinal Wuerl may be the most qualified American, with a decade of Vatican experience, a history of successfully confronting its bureaucrats and a gift for building consensus among feuding factions. But he may be more likely a kingmaker than a king in the conclave.
There may still be major resistance to an American. Not only is there a long-standing tradition against a pope from any superpower, but at least one American cardinal has noted that in nations where America is viewed as the enemy, some Catholics might be endangered for their association with an American pope.
Plenty of non-Americans are getting mentioned in what seems to be a wide-open conclave.
According to La Stampa, Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio, 76, an Argentinian who takes the bus to work and is said to have finished second in the 2005 conclave, and Cardinal Louis Antonio Tagle, 55, a gifted evangelist from the Philippines, gave influential speeches in the pre-conclave meetings. Cardinal Tagle and Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, 68, of Vienna were cautiously endorsed by the Survivors Network of the Those Abused by Priests for speaking boldly against abuse and its cover-up.
Cardinal Schoenborn rallied the support for his mentor, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, to carry the 2005 conclave. Long viewed as a conservative, the editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church has recently drawn liberal interest for saying that a partnered gay man should be allowed to serve on his parish council and for denouncing the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who belittled concern over sex abuse. The question is whether Cardinal Schoenborn's perceived shift to the left will draw more votes than it alienates.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, 65, of Sri Lanka has some conservative support -- his tenure at the Vatican was marked by more-Catholic-than-the-pope stances on liturgical matters. English-speaking cardinals who are still contending with priests unhappy with Latinesque changes that the Vatican imposed on their liturgy are likely to align against a cardinal who banned communion in the hand.
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