VATICAN CITY -- With the 115 cardinals beginning the first day of their conclave, one larger-than-life American is taking Italy by storm.
The world is getting a taste of St. Louis native Timothy Dolan’s sense of humor.
Although Cardinal Dolan is considered a long shot, it hasn’t stopped a Roman paper from putting him on the front page. Fans also chanted “Pope Dolan” after he gave Sunday mass.
Click here to follow Chris Nagus' coverage of the conclave in Rome
Dolan is no stranger to controversy. He’s been criticized for his handling of sex abuse cases in Milwaukee, where it was alleged he paid accused priests to leave the priesthood.
Monsignor Kevin Irwin with the Catholic University of America has known Dolan for nearly 40 years. He says Dolan did almost everything he could.
“He inherited a number of cases about sex abuse he had to deal with,” said Irwin. “He did what was the playbook for American officials at the time in terms of having to deal with it.”
Dolan, 63, became a priest when he was 26. He rose through the ranks of the church, becoming head of the Milwaukee Archdiocese in 2002 and Archbishop of New York in 2009.
He was elevated to the College of Cardinals about a year ago.