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An American pope would not ‘be taking orders from me,’ President Obama says

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President Obama dismissed the notion that an American pope would be too closely aligned with the U.S. government, pointing out that America's Catholic bishops "don't seem to be taking orders from me."

"It seems to me that an American pope would preside just as effectively as a Polish pope or an Italian pope or a Guatemalan pope," Mr. Obama said Wednesday in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

Cardinals Timothy Dolan of New York and Sean O'Malley of Boston are two Americans who have been mentioned as potential successors to retired Pope Benedict XVI.

Mr. Dolan has become a leading figure in the ongoing battle with the White House over the contraception coverage policy in Mr. Obama's health care overhaul.

"My hope is, based on what I know about the Catholic Church and the terrific work that they've done around the world, and certainly in this country helping those who are less fortunate, is that you have a pope who sustains and maintains what I consider the central message of the Gospel: We treat everybody as children of God and that we love them the way Jesus Christ taught us to love them," Mr. Obama said.

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