A ‘papabile’ with ties to our area

Mar 11, 2013

As the cardinals gathered in Rome, one name that rings a bell with Catholics in our area was mentioned in the Italian press as a “papabile” – or possible pope.  He is Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, 68, archbishop of Boston and once the bishop of the Palm Beach diocese, which includes the Treasure Coast.  He came to Florida in 2002 after serving as bishop in Fall River, Mass.  He stayed only eight months before being called to the troubled archdiocese of Boston.  O’Malley was considered a “papabile” because in Fall River, Palm Beach and Boston he cleaned up after disclosures of sexual abuse by priests.  He reached settlements with victims and established a policy of zero tolerance.  In Palm Beach, he succeeded two bishops, both of whom resigned because of past sexual misconduct.  Another mark in his favor was his fluency in Spanish, Portuguese and Creole, the languages of heavily-Catholic Latin America.  As a member of the Capuchin order, the bearded cardinal wears sandals and a plain brown cassock.  O’Malley did not take the “papabile” talk seriously.  He told WBUR radio in Boston, “I have bought a round-trip ticket.  So I’m counting on coming home.”  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch