O’Malley gives a glimpse of what it was like inside conclave

Each of the cardinals has to swear an oath of secrecy, promising not to reveal the substance of what went on during the conclave that elected the pope Wednesday; the penalty for breaking it is excommunication.

But in an interview with the crew that helps design and illustrate his blog, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston today shared a few details about the experience of participating.

He also shared some of his keepsakes from the conclave, including the large red leather-bound folder each cardinal received with all the cardinals’ names in it; a blank ballot; and a book with the hymns and prayers used in the services surrounding the papal election.


O’Malley looked relaxed and happy today after returning from the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the residence within the Vatican where the cardinals were staying during the conclave.

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He said he was overjoyed with the results of the election and he has high hopes for Pope Francis, who like O’Malley prefers a simple lifestyle and belongs to a religious order. O’Malley, a fluent Spanish and Portuguese speaker with strong ties to the church in Latin America, said he was also excited to have a pope from that part of the world.

Asked what he wants people back home in Boston to know about the pope, he said: “Just that he is a very good man, and he is going to be a very good leader for the church.”

More video will be posted on O’Malley’s blog,, on Friday night.