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March 13th, 2013
09:28 AM ET

Could ideal pope candidate be someone 'outside the box'? Msgr. Hilgartner weighs in

As faithful Catholics wait for word from 115 cardinals in Rome to elect a new pope, the church continues to face issues of sexual abuse outside of conclave.

A new development this morning; the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles struck a deal to settle sex abuse lawsuits involving a defrocked priest who's now in prison. They agreed to pay nearly $10 million dollars to four different victims. The suits claim Cardinal Roger Mahony knew of the particular priest's behavior and allowed him to continue in his position. Right now, Cardinal Mahony is in Rome taking part in the conclave to elect the new pope.

Monsignor Richard Hilgartner, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat on Divine Worship, offers his thoughts on the development and day two of conclave. The cardinals are barred from communicating with the world and have “media silence” during conclave, “so it's possible that they have no idea that this happened,” Monsignor Hilgartner says. It depends on when the L.A. Archdiocese reached their decision and if they were able to notify Cardinal Mahoney before the start of conclave.

Also this morning, a third ballot among the cardinals in conclave proved inconclusive. Now that the smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney has emerged black, the speculation continues as to whether the next vote will be successful.

“There are lots of scenarios,” Hilgartner says. “I think that the longer it goes, the more outside the box they'll be thinking.” Depending on the conversations within the chapel doors, “it might be somebody that's not even been on a list.”

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