MADISON (WKOW) – The absence of official papal candidates doesn't mean local Catholics can't root for their favorite Cardinals, especially if they're from the United States.
Some experts say this is the first time an American has had any chance of becoming pope.
"The big objection has always been that you cannot have a pope come from the unquestioned super power of the world," said Bishop Robert Morlino, of the Diocese of Madison.
That's changed now, according to Morlino.
"The way things have gone in the United States recently, I don't think at all that we're the unquestioned super power honestly, so I don't think that should be an obstacle," Morlino said.
Sunday, Morlino held a special prayer service ahead of Tuesday's conclave, when Cardinals will take up the task of electing a new pope. Some at the service have a candidate in mind for pope.
"I'm hoping for [Raymond Leo] Burke. It's a long shot, but I really think he's what the church needs," said Ben Yanke, who goes to St. Patrick Catholic Church.
"Everyone says we can't have an American pope but he's from America, where our primary export is the culture of death. So [Burke] knows how we can stop it," Yanke said.
Others' criterion was wholly holy.
"I really hope that they're of the holy spirit and we end up with someone who seeks to ever be converted to the gospel," said Ben Beier, who also attends mass at St. Patrick's.
Morlino has his own pick for pope, but said, "I'll just keep it to myself, and I'll only reveal it if he actually wins."
Morlino did however say his candidate is not from the United States.
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