Pope's retirement: Could a former Clevelander be the next leader of the Catholic Church?

CLEVELAND - Pope Benedict the XVI's resignation takes effect on Feb. 28, and there is increasing speculation on who may become the next pope, including an American cardinal who was born in Lakewood.

While its been long thought that it's unlikely an American would ever be chosen to lead the Roman Catholic church, there is growing buzz about Boston's Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley. Cardinal O'Malley was born in Lakewood, but grew up in Western Pennsylvania.

The 68-year old has been archbishop of the Boston Diocese since 2003.  He was appointed archbishop of Boston after Cardinal Bernard Law was forced to step down over the child sex abuse coverup. He also served as Bishop for the diocese of St .Thomas in the Virgin Islands and as Bishop in Fall River, Massachusetts and Palm Beach, Florida.

Cardinal O'Malley has been very vocal in apologizing for the sex abuse crisis in the church.

According to the Boston Globe newspaper website, boston.com, when asked at a news conference last week about whether he would be interested in the job, O'Malley said with a laugh, "I haven't lost any sleep about it, and I have bought a round-trip ticket, so I'm counting on coming home."

We are also learning more about the pope's retirement that takes place on Feb. 28. The pope's papal pension kicks in that day. It's believed the pope will receive about $3,500 a month. That's what the Catholic Church typically offers retired bishops.

The Vatican has not disclosed any other financial arrangements that may have been made for Benedict's retirement. But we do know he will resume use of his given name, Joseph Ratzinger, that's according to Vatican officials.

The London Telegraph also reports the retired Pope will hold the title Bishop Emeritus of Rome.

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