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Cardinal chosen as pontiff 'perhaps not the most intelligent''

Pope Francis waves from his studio window during his Angelus prayer. Picture by AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

POPE Francis has said cardinals do not always choose "the most intelligent" of their lot to be pontiff.

A child asked the Pope 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 said the choice "is the one who God wants for that moment for the church".

Francis explained 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 was not necessarily the case.

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