Buzz growing for Cardinal O'Malley as next pope

Posted: 02/19/13 at 12:30 pm EST      Last Updated: 02/20/13 at 10:26 am EST

BOSTON (WHDH) -- A Catholic newspaper reported that buzz is growing for Cardinal Sean O’Malley as a contender to become the next pope.

The National Catholic Reporter cited six Italian newspapers that have mentioned O’Malley as a possible contender.

John Allen, the respected Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, said for a long time the conventional wisdom was an American could not be elected pope because you “can’t have a super-power pope.”

But O’Malley’s reputation as a reformer and his experience as minister in South America, where the Catholic population is quickly growing, could be fueling the buzz around him in Rome.

However, Allen warned it is very early to speculate.

Pope Benedict is set to step down on Feb. 28. It is the first time in more than 600 years a pope has resigned.

The Archdiocese responded about the speculation saying: “The Archdiocese is not commenting on this or any other stories about who the next Pope will be. As the Cardinal said last week at the press conference he has a round trip ticket to return home and will rely on the guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit as the College of Cardinal's enter the conclave in March.”

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