KIM: He was a significant leader, both in the religious realm and also in civic Los Angeles life. He was very much involved in local politics, and also in Sacramento. He was someone who was a big spiritual leader, and whose name was also mention in connection to the papacy.
INSKEEP: Meaning that he was a potential candidate for the papacy, after the death of Pope John Paul.
The idea that Mahoney was ever a serious candidate for the papacy in the mind of anybody other than the conservative caricature of the NPR-listening coastal liberal is a joke. This is the kind of reporting that leads many on the right to declare that NPR is a biased bastion of liberal orthodoxy.