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Cardinal George Has Short List For Next Pope

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CHICAGO (CBS) — One day after Pope Benedict resigned, the Vatican is in a state of flux, with no clear indication who among a dozen or more possible contenders might be elected a successor.

On Friday, life went on, people strolled through St. Peter’s Square, they lined up to buy commemorative sede vacante stamps and even got engaged.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, Francis Cardinal George has four or five names in mind.

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said he hasn’t narrowed it down that much, saying his list “might be a little longer. Cardinal George knows the cardinals a little better than I do.”

“While nobody would campaign and nobody’s jockeying, there would be some honest conversation, saying, ‘What’s your read on this guy,’ ” Dolan said.

Dolan was raised in Missouri and served Milwaukee. He was asked how he avoided Chicago and eventually wound up leading the Catholics in New York.

“Hey, you have to ask Pope Benedict and it’s too late,” Dolan joked. “John Paul appointed me to Milwaukee and Benedict appointed me to New York. You better ask him, but I don’t think he’ll be answering his mail.”

Dolan is personable, accessible, but also spiritual and intellectual. He’s a friend and fan of Cardinal George.

“He is a real font of wisdom,” Dolan said. “He went through this in 2005. And to listen to his reflections not only on what happened but just to listen to his wise observations about the church today, what a blessing he is.”

George and Dolan dismissed the prospect that the 11 American cardinals with votes, would possibly vote as a bloc.

“I’d be very surprised if every one voted the same way. We do ask each other who would be good in the job and so we influence one another that way.”

“You Chicagoans, are always speaking about voter blocs,” Dolan said with a smile. “I don’t think that applies to the college of cardinals.”

Cardinal Dolan has been mentioned as a candidate. But while the time may not be right, yet, for an American pope, these two Americans, Dolan and George, are likely to be very influential.