U.S. Rep. Mike Grimm says that if he had a say in choosing the next Pope, he would support Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York.
“New Yorkers will never forget the gift (Pope Benedict) gave us with the elevation of Cardinal Dolan,” said Grimm, a Republican from New York who is one of 163 Roman-Catholic members of Congress. “Cardinal Dolan has lifted the spirits of Catholics and non-Catholics throughout New York and the world, and renewed the faith of many.
“If it were up to me to pick the next pope, Cardinal Dolan would have my vote,” he said.
Pope Benedict XVI, 85, announced on Monday he lacks the strength to fulfill his duties and on Feb. 28 will become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. The announcement sets the stage for a conclave in March to elect a new leader for the world's 1 billion Catholics.
Dolan, who has been archbishop of New York since 2009 and was named a cardinal a year ago, is considered a longshot. He is popular and backs the Pope's conservative line, but the general thinking in the Catholic Church is that the Pope should not hail from a “superpower.”
The top contenders include Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan; Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, archbishop of Vienna; and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian head of the Vatican's office for bishops.
House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement on Monday: “The Holy Father's decision displays extraordinary humility and love for the Church, two things that have been the hallmarks of his service.
“Americans were inspired by his visit to the United States in 2008, and by his quiet, steady leadership of the Church in uncertain times,” said Boehner, who is Catholic. “People of all nations have been blessed by the sacrifices he has made to sow the seeds of hope, justice, and compassion throughout the world in the name of Our Lord and Savior.”
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