Europe

Pope to parish: Pontiff pick not always smartest cardinal

  • A boy takes a selfie with Pope Francis, during a visit to the parish of Santa Maria Josefa del Cuore di Gesu', in Rome, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    A boy takes a selfie with Pope Francis, during a visit to the parish of Santa Maria Josefa del Cuore di Gesu', in Rome, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • A boy shows his phone to Pope Francis during a visit to the parish of Santa Maria Josefa del Cuore di Gesu', in Rome, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    A boy shows his phone to Pope Francis during a visit to the parish of Santa Maria Josefa del Cuore di Gesu', in Rome, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pope Francis greets faithful as he arrives for a visit to the parish of Santa Maria Josefa del Cuore di Gesu', in Rome, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Pope Francis greets faithful as he arrives for a visit to the parish of Santa Maria Josefa del Cuore di Gesu', in Rome, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

Pope Francis says cardinals don't always choose "the most intelligent" of their lot to be pontiff.

A child asked Francis during a papal visit to a Rome parish on Sunday how he became pope.

Francis said the man picked as pontiff "perhaps isn't the most intelligent, the shrewdest, the quickest to do what has to be done."

But he says the choice "is the one who God wants for that moment for the church."

Francis explained that while cardinals discuss the strong points of various candidates, "above all they pray."

Francis asked the children who they thought was the most intelligent cardinal in the secret papal conclave at the Sistine Chapel that ended with his 2013 election.

"You!" they shouted.

But Francis said that wasn't necessarily the case.