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Charisma A Key As Pope Is Picked

The rector of the American cardinals' residence in Rome says he can't be sure how the man selected to be the next pope will stand on the issues facing the Roman Catholic Church, or what part of the world he'll be from.

But the Right Rev. Msgr. Kevin McCoy, who's with the Pontifical North American College, where American cardinals usually stay while in Rome, says one thing the new pope will surely have to have is charisma.

"My own sense," he told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith Monday, "is that (the cardinals from around the world in the secret conclave selecting the new pope) they're going to look for a man who really is somewhat charismatic, who can make use of modern media to carry the message of Christ Jesus forward to all parts of the world.

"So, I think you're going to see them looking for a personality that is extremely charismatic. Where that comes from, whether from Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, I really don't know. But these men obviously for the last week have been paying close attention to one another, and while they may not be mentioning particular names, you can be sure that they've listened attentively in their general congregation meetings to hear what that man thinks."

McCoy says there's no doubt the enormous responsibility of choosing the next pope is weighing heavily on the seven American cardinals who've been in Rome for the past week: "While I've seen these men, these cardinal bishops, at our home on many occasions when they can be very relaxed, you saw there is a real seriousness of purpose as they go forward into conclave today.

"Just the way that they carry themselves -- each one of them, I would say, is just really -- you can see (it in) their shoulders. They're slumped just a little bit. But they know they've got an awesome responsibility and they'll do it."

Asked about a new CBS News poll showing a significant majority of U.S. Catholics believe the next Holy Father should admit women into the priesthood, allow priests to marry, and end the ban on artificial birth control, McCoy said. "I really don't know what this new pope will do in that particular regard, but I know that he'll be faithful to the teaching of the church. And I know that the cardinals, at least in one sense certainly have had some conversations about all of those concerns and many other concerns from all parts of the globe."