MILWAUKEE---Leading Italian newspapers were speculating as recently as Wednesday morning that the surprise would come with the selection for Milwaukee's Former Archbishop, Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York as the new pope.
By Wednesday afternoon with the elevation of Francis instead it became clear that the church was setting out on a mission for which Dolan had no track record.
Dr. Bill Thorn, a Vatican media consultant since 1982 and Marquette Professor says the choice of Francis indicates that the Cardinals want to focus on Latin America, and the challenges it faces with young people drifting from the church.
"Dolan might be a good guy a nice guy," Thorn explained. "A good with the media in America and New York but those weren't the kinds of problems they were trying to solve. And Latin America is not part of Dolan's portfolio."
But Thorn says Dolan is doing extremely well as the face of the Catholic Church in the United States which has always been the job of the Archbishop of New York because it is such a huge media center.
For his part, Cardinal Dolan told reporters late Wednesday about how the new pope toasted the 114 Cardinals who elected him.
"He toasted us and said may God forgive you which brought the house down," Dolan's voice a little hoarse but his laugh was still hearty. "In other words I hope you don't regret this later."
Dolan said he never took the rumors seriously, only hinting about reports that he was in the running.
"I think we're all relieved and at peace because once again Jesus is taking care of his church..."