Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’ Malley had a message for supporters who are excited to see his name mentioned as a possible candidate for the papacy.
Writing in his personal blog, O’Malley says:
“I know people like to root for the home team — who wouldn’t want the pope to come from their home diocese — and, of course, I am honored to participate in the conclave. But, I assure everyone, no cardinal goes to the conclave with ambitions to be elected the Holy Father.”
O’Malley says any talk of who the next pope may be is just idle chatter:
“I realize that there has been much speculation about who will succeed Pope Benedict. However, I deem that to be very fanciful. Instead, we should be concentrating on praying for the Holy Spirit to help and guide the cardinals so that we will elect the person the Church needs at this moment.”
Fair enough. But there’s a Catch 22 at the heart of this. Absolutely, we should take him at his word. He’d be the longest of long shots if he were elected. But, at the same time, being humble and professing doubt about their chances is what these guys are supposed to do if their names ever come up. Papal candidates are required to play hard to get. Cardinal Sean is being humble but not quite Shermanesque.