BOSTON (CBS) – For the first time since his name surfaced as a possible successor to Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Sean O’Malley spoke about the role of the Holy Father and the process to replace the Pope.
Pope Benedict XVI will resign in one week, and he is making moves for his transition; ordering changes to the installation process, and studying the rules of the conclave.
But Cardinal O’Malley is focused on paying tribute to the Pope, not replacing him.
On Friday, O’Malley celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving in Braintree, honoring the retiring Pope Benedict.
“In this Eucharist we thank God for the life and ministry of Pope Benedict,” Cardinal O’Malley said to a couple of hundred people who gathered at the Pastoral Center.
The Cardinal will travel to the Vatican next week for Benedict’s last days as Pope.
Along with his fellow cardinals, O’Malley will vote to elect the next pope.
“There will be endless speculation about candidates and outcomes, and I assure you no Cardinal goes into the conclave with the ambition of being chosen for this overwhelming responsibility,” he said.
Some of that speculation centers on O’Malley himself, though he says he doesn’t want the job.
“For us it must not matter where the Pope comes from, what color he is, how tall or how short, what language he speaks or doesn’t speak. What is important is that he becomes the successor of Peter, the Pope of Rome and of the world, the one destined to walk in the shoes of the fisherman,” said O’Malley in his homily.
When the Mass ended, the Cardinal greeted each of the parishioners, many of whom are hopeful that the speculation turns out to be true.
“We have to pray for him and maybe we’ll be lucky to have Cardinal Sean as our new Pope. You never know,” one parishioner told WBZ-TV.
One interesting footnote; Friday marked the seventh anniversary of Pope Benedict’s announcement that he would elevate then Archbishop O’Malley to the position of Cardinal.