Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George received a warm welcome as he celebrated Mass Sunday morning in his titular parish, the Basilica of St. Bartholomew on Tiber Island.
George delivered remarks on the upcoming election, and, in Italian, thanked parishioners for their prayers during this “momentous occasion.”
As for whether there's a frontrunner just yet, George says "the will of God isn't entirely clear to many of us."
The Italian press is buzzing over the possibility of an American pope with New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley getting the most attention. Even restaurant owners say an American Holy Father would enhance the tourism industry.
Polls indicate the priest sex abuse crisis is the top priority for American Catholics yet Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony wrote in his blog today that he is praying for those who accuse him of hiding abusive priests.
David Clohessy, from SNAP, the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said "Cardinal Mahony seems determined to rub salt into the wound." Clohessy adds "for decades he has hidden abusers."
So how long might the conclave, scheduled to begin Tuesday, take? The last five popes have been chosen within three days.