FORT PIERCE, Fla. - In Vatican City on the verge of their conclave, Catholic cardinals are offering their views of what they want in the next pope.
Among the potential pontiffs are some Americans, including the head of the Archdiocese of Boston, Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley. In the early 2000s, O'Malley was bishop of Diocese of Palm Beach, leaving impressions in south Florida.
"I remember him cutting up and telling jokes and I didn't expect that," said Dave Sheil, who crossed paths with O'Malley as the two reached out together to inmates.
Sheil is also a man of the cloth. To the three hundred or so people in his congregation, Sheil is known as the 'barefoot preacher'. He gives his sermons at a Treasure Coast restaurant - not from a pulpit; which is a far cry from the pomp and circumstance at the Vatican this week.
Sheil says O'Malley crossed denominational lines. "I think outreach is administering love and inviting somebody into the family of God and I think Patrick is perfect for that."
The Catholic church is at a crossroads. Will the new leader aim to clean up the Vatican's bureaucratic mess? "I think if we just push them under the carpet and pretend they don't exist, that's the biggest problem." Here is some advice from Sheil for the next pope; whomever it may be. "Not allowing themselves to get too heady and to stay genuine is the key for any strong leader."
There is no clear front-runner and no sense that a single man has what it takes to fix the church's many problems.
Cardinals enter the Sistine chapel Tuesday with no indication how long voting will last.
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