The local headlines today focus on a deposition Cardinal Dolan has given regarding the Milwaukee's archdiocese's handling of clergy sex abuse allegations. 

But, meanwhile, there are indications that the long-shot possibility that Dolan could become the first American pope are not quite so far-fetched after all. This report says that there is a very real buzz about Dolan... in Italy.

Now, with Benedict leaving office next week, it’s becoming clear Dolan is a serious candidate.

The Italian paper La Repubblica reported the powerful cardinal Tarcisio Bertone is working behind the scenes to advance Dolan’s chances in the upcoming conclave.

Cardinal Dolan was in a good mood Wednesday, but didn’t really want to answer Aiello’s question about the La Repubblica report. Italian papers are buzzing about another potential American pope — Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston.

"The next pope is going to have to be a serious reformer on the child sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church and, of course, O’Malley has that profile," said John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter.

Dolan plans to be in Rome when the pope leaves office on Feb. 28. He’ll lead 10 other American cardinals in the conclave — a powerful voting contingent Vatican watchers consider second only to the Italians.