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Chance of American Pope Are Slim to None

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images(ROME) -- The College of Cardinals begins it conclave on Tuesday at the Vatican to select the next pope and there's been no shortage of rumors as to who might be selected as the new leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church.

Some of the buzz is that an American cardinal might be in the running for pontiff but as Monsignor Christopher Nalty explains, "There's probably 20 or 25 of those cardinals who we can see walking out on that piazza, walk out on that loggia in a couple of days and whichever one is, will be our pope."

A former official of the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy, Nalty says people shouldn't read too much into New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan's frequent appearances on TV.

According to Nalty, "The Americans have let their personalities shine and I think that's getting people to talk about them.  Whether that's getting the other cardinals to talk about them is another thing."

The monsignor, in fact, would be stunned if Dolan or another American becomes the successor to Benedict XVI, who resigned on Feb. 28, adding, "My jaw would drop so much I'd need reconstructive surgery after it hit the cobble stones on the piazza."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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