This morning on "Starting Point," Cardinal Edward Egan, the former Archbishop of New York, talks with Soledad O'Brien about the beginning of the papal conclave, and shares his experience over the last four papal conclaves that he participated in.
ON THE QUALITIES HE THINKS THE NEXT POPE SHOULD POSSESS:
I'll give you five.
First of all, the person who is chosen has to be someone who loves to pray, leads public prayer with great enthusiasm and devotion and prays privately and continually. That's number one.
Number two, we look for a cardinal who will become the pope and is one who can repeat the message of the gospel, attractively and completely, and with great fervor.
Number three. It has to be someone who can lead the faithful in the great issues of our day, and I identify them for you: Justice, compassion, and peace.
Number four. It has to be someone who knows how to - they like to say in Rome, govern. How to administrate, how to run a world-wide organization, and that doesn't mean you do everything yourself. It means that you find others who do things for you and with you.
Number Five. It has to be someone who can handle criticism. And handle it with great calm, and with total trust in the Lord. If that is lacking, you are in trouble.
ON HIS CHANCES OF BEING THE NEXT POPE:
I'll tell you - I am interested, but I'm not available. Somehow or another the years passed and I am 80 years old and therefore not available. I also not as healthy as I used to be, I asked the doctor why. And he said 1932. And so, I'm believing that is exactly the situation. Maybe 1932 is the reason I'm not voting either.
ON WHO HE THINKS SHOULD BE THE NEXT POPE:
I would never name anyone, but I would say that the choices are broader than they used to be. I have been involved believe it or not in an awful lot of conclaves.
ON HIS EXPERIENCE SERVING IN FOUR PREVIOUS PAPAL CONCLAVES:
I was living in Rome teaching at the North American College when Paul VI was elected. And all of the cardinals in the United States and Canada were living with us. I listened to the consulate breakfast, lunch and supper throughout the day.
Then, for John Paul I and II, I was the judge of the Rota, the Supreme Court, you might say, of the Catholic Church. And for hundreds and hundreds of years, judges were assigned - there were 14 of us, to guard the cardinals in the conclave.
I wish you could have seen us. Some of us were to tottering at 75 and so forth. We weren't great guards.
Well, most who are to leave is the 14 Rota judges who did the guarding. When they say leave, we leave, along with a doctor and a few others. So, that's three.
And then I was a voter and an elector during the election, the conclave for Benedict XVI, and I just came back from Rome. And I said good-bye to Pope Benedict, and he told me I was to come back and tell New York how grateful he was for perhaps his most successful visit anywhere, here in the center of the world.
ON RUMORS THAT CARDINAL DOLAN COULD BE THE NEXT POPE:
Many years ago I was chairman of the board of the Pontifical North American College in Rome, the college where they are living at now. And I was looking for a new rector. And I knew I wanted Father Dolan from St. Louis.
So, I got on a plane, and went over and saw Cardinal Piolagi (ph), who was the head of the congregation for Catholic education and would make the decision. And I went in and I said I want Father Dolan to be the rector of the American College.
And he said, (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE), you don't do things that way. And I said, (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE), in Rome you do that, you know? Here are my reasons and here are 13 letters from the 13 members of the board of trustees. We want Father Dolan.
So we went in and have lunch, and he said, you can go home and have your Father Dolan. So, I've known him that long. And we are very good friends. I like him very much.
Will he be pope? Any one of 115 could be pope.