HOUSTON One of the men who ll help select the next Pope is Houston s Cardinal Daniel Dinardo.

Like many cardinals he s also a possible candidate for the position.

He talked Tuesday for the first time since the Pope s surprise announcement.

Please pray for me. This is the first I have ever dealt with this. It is momentous. It really is momentous, he said.

Dinardo was elevated to Cardinal in 2007. That means he will be one of the men locked in the Sistine Chapel selecting the next Pope.

The announcement that Benedict the 16th would resign was as much a shock to him as anyone. He s met with the Pope twice in recent months and just days ago in Rome.

I found the Pope to be bright. He looked fine. He looked great, Dinardo said.

But Cardinal Dinardo said he has seen signs of the Pope s decline of health.

The Pope did not look well in November, he said.

The only Cardinal from the American south will cast a ballot for the next Pope.

Does he have a favorite?

I m sure you would love me to give an answer. While I love the idea of the question, I am certainly not going to speculate. I am not going to speculate at all, he said.

There are only 118 men who will be in the room with the gravity of choosing the new pope, but the catch is one of them will be the new Pope.

Dinardo s name has been mentioned as a possibility.

I do not think that it is likely, he said. First of all it would be a question of experience. I have only been a Cardinal for a few years. Also it would be unlikely from my point of view that an American would be elected Pope.

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