Pope Francis says cardinals do not 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 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.