It's possible the next pope could be an American, like Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York. While some say Cardinal Dolan is a long-shot, others consider the enthusiastic archbishop of New York a top contender.
Dolan seemed to side with the naysayers.
"I hope I'm not being naive, but I don't think there would be many cardinals that would think about that chance. That's just way too, too out of the realm of probability," he said.
Although a leading candidate to replace Pope Benedict still hasn't surfaced, an Italian newspaper calls Dolan "The Shadow Candidate."
The paper noted that Americans support him, along with other cardinals who are looking for someone who is not a Vatican insider and is energetic and charismatic.
Dolan is considered the "rock-star cardinal," a man known for his down-to-earth, friendly personality, who's not afraid to joke with journalists.
He is, however, known for more than humor. He's also a rock-solid conservative.
At the Democratic National Convention in November, he boldly prayed for the unborn before an audience who disagreed with him on most faith-based social issues.
"Thus do we praise you for the gift of life. Grant us to defend it -- life, without which no other rights are secure. We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected," he prayed before the DNC crowd.
No matter the age, Dolan is pro-life.
"Cardinal Dolan has been, as we know, a pretty strong critic of the Obama administration," Vatican analyst John Thavis said. "I think in one sense that has helped the idea that an American can be elected pope because it's very clear that any American cardinal or pope is not going to carry forward a U.S. political agenda."
Another plus for Dolan is that he believes very strongly in spreading the Gospel and is a great spokesperson for the Church.