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O’Malley: ‘It’s A Whole New Ballgame Now’

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Papal Conclave

BOSTON (CBS) – Pope Benedict’s resignation officially took effect at 2 p.m. Boston time Thursday.

To mark that moment Cardinal Sean O’Malley asked churches and other Catholic institutions in the Boston Archdiocese to ring their bells for eight minutes starting at 1:52 p.m.

Read: O’Malley Biography

Shortly after Pope Benedict XVI left the Vatican Thursday, O’Malley spoke to reporters in Rome at a news conference with other American Cardinals about who might be the next pontiff.

“I’m comforted by the fact there are obvious candidates who would be competent popes,” O’Malley said. “We’re faced with a number of choices but I don’t think any of us have gone in thinking ‘this is who I would vote for.'”

O’Malley said he’s praying for guidance and has been researching the potential papal candidates on the internet.

“There are some wonderful candidates there and we recognize their talents, goodness and competence,” he said.

When reporters asked O’Malley if the resignation of Benedict XVI would affect who they choose next, O’Malley said “it’s a whole new ballgame now.”

Read: What is the conclave?

“I can see the conclave deciding to elect an older man realizing he’s not going to have to carry on this burden into his 90’s, and if he becomes incapacitated, he would feel permission to resign,” he said.

There was no talk during the press conference about rumors O’Malley could become the next pope.

Benedict XVI was pope for 8 years.

Read: Who Is Sean Cardinal O’Malley?

He spent part of Thursday meeting with the College of Cardinals, which includes O’Malley, at the Vatican before departing in a helicopter for his summer home at Castel Gandolfo.

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