Timothy Dolan, Sean O'Malley Considered as Successor to Pope Benedict

Speculation on American cardinals as possible candidates in upcoming papal conclave.
2:08 | 02/19/13

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Transcript for Timothy Dolan, Sean O'Malley Considered as Successor to Pope Benedict
And tonight, the international guessing game about the new pope is taking an unexpected turn. Just ten days now until pope benedict steps down. And the common assumption has always been there will never be an american pope. But it's changing. Do we have the candidate now who may just do it? Abc's david wright tells us. Reporter: Cardinal sean o'malley is a prince of the church who lives like a pauper. Even his clothes set him apart from the other men in red. "Cardinal sean," as heikes to be called, wears the simple brown robes of a monk, tied with a rope. Plus sandals, even during winter in boston. He's a holy man. A man of simplicity. And wouldn't that be a lovely thing to have in a pope? Reporter: The boston archdiocese he inherited was badly tainted by the church sexual abuse scandal. O'malley sold off the cardinal's residence to pay the victims and moved into a single room near the cathedral. He put the victims first. The church has not always been so responsive. Any new pope is going to have to look at the issue and speak to it. Reporter: Here in rome, there's long been an unwritten rule -- no pope from a superpower. But vatican watchers say times have changed. I think people realize that, you know, a cardinal have the united states is not necessarily going to represent u.S. Political interest. So, I think there's more openness to it. Reporter: O'malley is one of two american names being floated. The other, new york's cardinal timothy dolan, who scoffed at the idea when diane recently asked him. What about you? Is this abc evening news or comedy central? What is -- you are -- Reporter: And o'malley isn't holding his breath either. I haven't lost any sleep about it, and I have -- I have bought a round trip tishgt, so -- I'm counting on coming home. Reporter: In boston, it would be the religious equivalent of the red sox beating the yankees. We always like boston over new york. I'm sure boston will represent the vatican very well. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Reporter: In fact, both americans are long shots. Popes tend to be from europe. Specifically italy. The last time the conclave chose a noneuropean was 1,000 years before columbus set sail for america.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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