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ROME (CBSMiami) – The countdown to conclave is on and while cardinals can’t campaign, there are standouts capturing the attention of this city.

Leading the way is an American who seemed to speak a universal language, cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.

He’s considered the rock star of cardinals and Sunday it was a crush of fans and global media enveloping the personable Cardinal Dolan.

Like all the other cardinals, Dolan was banned from discussing serious and secretive matters of the upcoming conclave but he gave information on what he could.

“You know the Italians have a beautiful saying ‘You can only make gnocchi with the dough you got’,” said Dolan. “So we say we want to be good dough for the Holy Spirit to work through and I think we are almost there.”

“He’s such an outgoing guy, a warm person, you can see by the reaction of the people here they were applauding and laughing,” said Richard Lamb, a WCBS Radio Reporter, who spoke about Cardinal Dolan to CBS4.

Dolan was one of 11 high profile American princes of the church who officiated masses in churches across Rome.

For pilgrims coming up close to the men who might be pope the experience was unforgettable.

“As a catholic it’s the ultimate,” said Linda De Franz from New Mexico.

However, media attention may not translate into votes.

“I want to warn everybody not to pay too much attention to the names that are popular now in the press,” said Father Robert DoDaro. “The front runners that are mentioned now in the press will not necessarily be able to acquire the two-thirds majority that’s necessary.”

Some of the men, considered possible contenders, showed they can walk the fine line of remaining silent on matters of the conclave while still delivering a message on a global stage.

In regards to the Miami natives and there hope and thoughts for those in Cuba, cardinal Dolan said “I love Cuba and I love the archbishop there. I’ve spoken with him and he brought me a cigar, it was great.”

There is no denying cardinal Dolan and his seasoned relationship with the press is in stark contrast to many of the older European cardinals, which may play into conclave.


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