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Patrick O’Malley was born on 29th June 1944 and took the name Sean after St John the Apostle when he became a Capuchin Friar. He was elevated to Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI on 24th March 2006, the feast of the Chair of St Peter. Whilst he apparently only has an outside chance of being elected Pope, he is the candidate I have decided to pray for during Conclave.

He insists on wearing the uniform as he describes it, of a friar and intends to do so until his death, despite his high office among the princes of the Church. Others have described his personal humility and his willingness to use several different languages at Mass to communicate with the diverse groups gathered in church.

It is said that he has tackled sex abuse head-on and operates a zero tolerance policy and he closed several parishes, selling church property along the way to pay out settlements to victims. He also established a comprehensive set of guidelines to deal with future reports and complaints of such conduct. Furthermore, he was appointed to observe and report back on the scandal that broke out in Ireland.

For me, the most important part of Cardinal O’Malley’s armoury is that he embraces modern technology to evangelise. He was the first cardinal to write his own blog, which can be found at http://www.cardinalseansblog.org/ but don’t expect personal updates on there during conclave! He comes across as a gentle man with a great sense of humour, qualities which the next Pope will require in abundance.

Finally, his name suggest that he is of Irish ancestry and as we in Britain have no representative among the Cardinals, he provides the obvious candidate for prayer during the important hours and days ahead. May God bless him and direct his heart and mind in the forthcoming conclave.

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