Contrary to media reports, he said, the focus of the cardinals' meetings is much the same as it was two millenia ago, namely: "How most effectively to present the Person, message, and invitation of Jesus to a world that, while searching for salvation and eternal truth, are also at times doubting, skeptical, too busy, or frustrated."
This means discussions on such subjects as preaching, teaching the faith, care of the poor and sick, and support for the church's clergy and the families that make up their congregations, Dolan said.
"Those are the 'big issues.' You may find that hard to believe, since the 'word on the street' is that all we talk about is corruption in the Vatican, sexual abuse, money. Do these topics come up? Yes! Do they dominate? No!" he wrote.
Meanwhile, the Italian press is full of speculation about which cardinal may win enough support from his counterparts to be elected, and what regional alliances are being formed.
The United States has 11 of the 115 votes, making it the second largest national bloc after Italy.
Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said Saturday that the symbolic Fisherman's Ring and the seal that Benedict XVI used as pope have been scratched to render them invalid.
Three other symbols of Benedict XVI's papacy were destroyed in the same way, he said. The next pope will get a new Fisherman's Ring and seal with his own name on it after he is elected.
Benedict XVI resigned 10 days ago, becoming the first pontiff to do so in six centuries.