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Boston Catholics Show Support For O’Malley

Pope Benedict XVI made Sean O'Malley a cardinal in 2006.  Now, some speculate the Bostonian could replace Benedict at the Vatican. (L'Osservatore Romano/AP)

Pope Benedict XVI made Sean O’Malley a cardinal in 2006. Now, some speculate the Bostonian could replace Benedict at the Vatican. (L’Osservatore Romano/AP)

BOSTON — As Pope Benedict XVI prepares to step down, Boston-area Catholics are considering the possibility that one of their own could replace him.

At St. Cecilia Parish in Boston, Father John Unni opened Sunday’s homily by discussing changes under way at the Vatican.

“It’s a pretty historic time for the church and it means a lot of change, possibly,” Unni told parishioners.

He addressed speculation that Cardinal Sean O’Malley, of the Boston Archdiocese, could be chosen as the next pope. Italian media have mentioned O’Malley, specifically crediting his handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal.

That was a theme echoed by Richard Kimball of Boston, a lifelong member of St. Cecilia’s.

“He’s done a very good job here in Boston and he has taken care of a lot of things,” Kimball said. “When he came into the church at a tough, not-so-easy time, and he dealt with it. He overcame it all. He’s running the church very well.”

Still others, like Rob Henderson, were not as sure. They worry about O’Malley’s personality, and his preference to wear a simple brown habit, rather than more elaborate vestments of the Vatican.

“He still doesn’t seem to me to be the sort of personality that billions of people will respond to,” Henderson said.

O’Malley’s critics in Boston also say he did not do enough in handling the abuse scandal. They say he has not been forthcoming in publicly identifying abusive priests.

Perhaps just as important, O’Malley does not seem to want the job. During a Mass last week, O’Malley said he expects to return to Boston after the conclave in Rome where he and other cardinals will choose Benedict’s successor.

“I assure you no cardinal goes into the conclave with the ambition of being chosen for this responsibility,” O’Malley said.

Regardless of who is selected by the College of Cardinals, Catholics in Boston said they’re hopeful about the next leader of their church.

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  • J__o__h__n

    No one seriously thinks he is going to be Pope.

    “I assure you no cardinal goes into the conclave with the ambition of being chosen for this responsibility,” O’Malley said. — Ratzinger did last time.
    The story only interviewed Boston Catholics who stayed with the Church, not those who voted with their feet.

  • gorilla monsoon

    The sex abuse scandal is consistently swept under the rug. If a Priest sexually abused a child of mine, I would make sure he would not remain in the priesthood. Does the priesthood attract child, sexual abusers?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LLH7SFRBBDZ54YLFVP6POB6XAI ANNA

      Yes, it does. It is the perfect occupation for a pedophile. You have the instant trust of parishioners with children. If the RCC truly wanted to fix this problem, they would change the requirements for becoming a priest. Open it up to married men and women with families. The pedophiles will no longer have a place to hide…..

  • Sinclair

    The stories about Cardinal O’Malley’s chances of being the new pope are strictly from a media seekng attention from listeners and readship and are not from fact. I noticed the UK’s Cardinal O’Brien swftly resigned. Now that’s a news story.
    I wish WBUR would refrain from stories about O’Malley’s chances of becoming pope. WBUR is better off reporting about the hungry news outlets who are reporting these misleading stories.

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