Chauffeur Could Be Driver for the Next Pope

By ABC News

Mar 12, 2013 6:16pm
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 Father Antonio Hofmeister with Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Image: ABC News

From Pope Benedict’s historic abdication to the moment they closed the doors of the Sistine Chapel today, Father Antonio Hofmeister has had a front row seat to history.

The driver’s seat, to be exact.

It’s been Hofmeister’s job to chauffeur three Brazilian cardinals, including Cardinal Odilo Sherer of Sao Paolo, widely considered one of the frontrunners to succeed Pope Benedict.

“Today I was thinking, today is the last journey for one of these three,” Hofmeister told ABC News. “I might be dropping three but just picking up two.

“And in the Rome traffic,” he added. “Can you imagine that? It’s a big chaos here in Rome in the traffic.”

Hofmeister is in Rome working on a masters degree on church history.

“Now I’m kind of living it,” he said. “I’m seeing all the guys. I have probably shaked hands with the next pope.”

He especially likes Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston.

“O’Malley speaks very good Portuguese,” he said. “I was speaking with him.”

Hofmeister said his cardinals in his minivan haven’t really been talking papal politics.  “They talk about soccer. They will miss the soccer,” he said. “I thank God I am not going into the conclave because I will not miss one game.”

Today, as Hofmeister dropped them off one last time, he put in a request, in case his cardinal wins.

“I hope to be the popemobile driver!” he said.

ABC News’ David Wright contributed to this report.


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