All 115 cardinals will gather in the Vatican for the papal conclave this week and the list of possible candidates is long. Though any one of them could be the next pope, Vatican experts have identified a few potential favorites.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley's simple brown Franciscan robe and sandals make him a standout amongst the College of Cardinals, and his firm handling of the sex abuse crisis in Boston has won admiration in Vatican circles. Despite perceived wisdom that an American cannot be elected pope, O'Malley has developed a chorus of supporters for his simplicity, seen as an antidote to the complicated politics and power plays of Vatican governance, and for his practicality, such as selling off the cardinals' residence in Boston to pay victims of sex abuse.
In this photograph, a newly-appointed Cardinal O'Malley receives congratulations from his diocesan during the courtesy visits at the Regia Hall in Vatican city, March 24, 2006.