Coming up Wednesday

Wildfires burn through Colorado causing thousands to evacuate, and protests in Turkey are in 13th day. Tune in at 7am ET.
March 14th, 2013
09:48 AM ET

Cardinal Dolan: Every Catholic is happy about Pope Francis election, hope is he can change 'presentation' of the church

Today marks the first day of Pope Francis’s papacy. A man of many firsts, including the first to take the name Francis and the first Latin American pope, Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, is expected by many to revitalize the church.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, was in the conclave of cardinals which elected Pope Francis. He speaks to Chris Cuomo live from Rome on "Starting Point" to talk about his expectation for the future of the church with Pope Francis at its helm.

Cardinal Dolan calls the Catholic Church a blend of the "ancient" and the "new", and he believes Pope Francis's track record shows he'll lead it well.

"I think he's going to tend the Roman curia," which Cardinal Dolan says needs tending to like any government. Cardinal Dolan says he doesn't expect Pope Francis to move the church on its views on gay marriage or celibacy as dictated by what's called the Deposit of Faith, but present it more compellingly to the next generation.

"He can't change any of the substance, the givens,” Cardinal Dolan says, “but, boy, can he ever change the way that's presented.”

Cardinal Dolan also explains what it's like to partake in conclave, the best known secret process in the world. "First of all, it's not all fun and games," he says. "It's very intense and it's very emotionally draining, because you think about it night and day. I mean, this would be one of the most important things I ever have to do."

While many have described conclave in a political sense, Cardinal Dolan says it's more like a silent retreat. "It’s not a caucus. It’s not a convention. It’s almost like a liturgy, an occasion of prayer."

Posted by
Filed under: Conclave • Papal conclave • Pope
March 13th, 2013
11:24 AM ET

What qualities should the next pope possess? Cardinal Theordore McCarrick weighs in

This morning on "Starting Point," retired archbishop of Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick sits down with Soledad O'Brien to talk about the qualities he thinks are important in the next pope.

Even though McCarrick voted in the last conclave, he says that every conclave is different. All conclaves are completely secluded from the outside world, and McCarrick says “I think I would have to be a fortuneteller to think about what’s going on in those rooms now.”

On the qualities the next pope should have, the Cardinal states he needs to be a “moral voice in the world today,” and the new pope needs to “remind the world that the poor are getting poorer, remind the world that the fact that violence and wars are multiplying in our society in our world today.

McCarrick says the job of the conclave is for Cardinals to vote for “the one that God wants." He stresses that the Cardinals are “also praying because they want to do this right.”

Filed under: Catholic Church • Conclave • Papal conclave • Pope
March 13th, 2013
09:28 AM ET

Could ideal pope candidate be someone 'outside the box'? Msgr. Hilgartner weighs in

As faithful Catholics wait for word from 115 cardinals in Rome to elect a new pope, the church continues to face issues of sexual abuse outside of conclave.

A new development this morning; the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles struck a deal to settle sex abuse lawsuits involving a defrocked priest who's now in prison. They agreed to pay nearly $10 million dollars to four different victims. The suits claim Cardinal Roger Mahony knew of the particular priest's behavior and allowed him to continue in his position. Right now, Cardinal Mahony is in Rome taking part in the conclave to elect the new pope.

Monsignor Richard Hilgartner, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat on Divine Worship, offers his thoughts on the development and day two of conclave. The cardinals are barred from communicating with the world and have “media silence” during conclave, “so it's possible that they have no idea that this happened,” Monsignor Hilgartner says. It depends on when the L.A. Archdiocese reached their decision and if they were able to notify Cardinal Mahoney before the start of conclave.

Also this morning, a third ballot among the cardinals in conclave proved inconclusive. Now that the smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney has emerged black, the speculation continues as to whether the next vote will be successful.

“There are lots of scenarios,” Hilgartner says. “I think that the longer it goes, the more outside the box they'll be thinking.” Depending on the conversations within the chapel doors, “it might be somebody that's not even been on a list.”

March 1st, 2013
10:52 AM ET

Cardinal George: CNN's influence on the selection of the next pope

This morning on "Starting Point," Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, talks to Soledad O’Brien about the process of picking the next pope and CNN's impact on the process.

In particular, Cardinal George said that the names floated as possible successors on CNN are good choices, and may actually impact the selection process.

“You’re talking about them on CNN and other great networks," Cardinal George says. "And they’re interesting conversations you’re having. You help us. And I must say that the people you’re talking about would be good candidates from what I’ve seen so far. Eight years ago I recall listening to the media and I thought they don’t know who the candidates really are. There are some wild guesses going on. This time somebody’s done his or her homework and I think you’re coming up with good names.”

Filed under: Conclave • Pope • Vatican
February 28th, 2013
12:16 PM ET

Father Edward Beck on why he believes the world's second youngest cardinal could be the next pope

On Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI began facing his final hours of as the sitting religious leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. Earlier that morning Pope Benedict XVI met with more than 100 cardinals who must now choose his replacement. His decision to stand down - the first pope to do so in six centuries - has thrown the Roman Catholic Church into a whirl of activity. This morning, the CNN contributor Father Edward Beck joins “Starting Point” to talk about his resignation.

Regarding Pope Benedict XVI’s successor, Beck says, “there's a lot of talk that the Catholic Church is in the developing world, in Africa and Asia, so I want to go out a limb and I want to throw someone out from the developing nation of the Philippines, Cardinal Tagle.”

In November of last year at age 55, Tagle became the world's second youngest cardinal. Beck says Tagle also interesting because "he is so humble.”

“When he was bishop in… the Philippines, he would ride his bicycle. He would encounter all the people on the streets. He would invite the poor in his residence to eat,” Father Beck says.

Filed under: Pope • Pope Benedict XVI • Religion
February 28th, 2013
11:50 AM ET

Sr. Simone Campbell: Pope’s legacy to focus on his teachings and his 'courageous' decision to resign

On Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI pledged an "unconditional obedience" and respect to whoever takes up the reins after his dramatic resignation. During his final hours as pope he is expected to depart the Courtyard of San Damaso in his chopper and land in Castel Gandolfo – his temporary retirement home. Pope Benedict XVI is the first pope to resign in six centuries. At 8 p.m. (2 p.m. ET), the pope will officially be in retirement. This morning Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK joins "Starting Point" to discuss the pope’s resignation becoming effective today.

Pope Benedict XVI’s legacy is defined by two significant and historic factors, Campbell says. The first is “his amazing teaching with regards to the economic challenges of our globalized world and really challenging the first world to be mindful of justice for everyone.” The second revolves around the “fact that he acknowledged his limitations in aging and has resigned. I think it was a very courageous act on his part and I think that boldness hopefully will help open up some new opportunities in the church.”

Campbell, who also serves as a member of the Sisters of Social Service, says the likelihood that the new pope will push hard to change the role for women within the Catholic Church is “probably slim to none.” She however remains hopeful adding “as we embrace reality of our modern world, women are moving more into roles of leadership and, quite frankly, the church needs us there more than they ever have. And so I think maybe it's going to happen just by doing. Often law follows practice, not leads practice.”

Filed under: Pope • Pope Benedict XVI • Religion
February 28th, 2013
11:46 AM ET

What are the next steps for picking a new pope? Msgr. Hilgartner explains

Msgr. Rick Hilgartner on the next steps in the process for choosing a successor for Pope Benedict XVI.

Filed under: Pope • Vatican
May 28th, 2012
01:03 PM ET

Mole in the Vatican: Pope's butler accused of selling documents

Latest news from the Vatican confidentiality scandal: Paolo Gabriele, the Papal butler, was arrested and charged with selling the Pope's confidential documents to an Italian journalist

"Troves" of secret documents have been leaked to the press, says CNN Vatican correspondent John Allen, everything from confidential correspondences between ambassadors, documents from the Vatican bank, detailed descriptions of Vatican finances, and even a "Borgias-esque" assassination plot against the pope.

Panelist John Fugelsang compared the Vatican leak to Wikileaks in that it was not so much the damaging content of the information that was leaked as the fact that information was leaked at all - and by whom, for what reason.

Filed under: Pope
May 28th, 2012
11:59 AM ET

Did the butler do it? Barbie Nadeau on the lastest in the Pope's leaked docs scandal

Barbie Nadeau is live in Rome, taking a closer look at the Pope's butler Paolo Gabriele, who is accused of leaking confidential documents. The 46-year-old butler is one of the few non-clerical members of the vatican staff that is around the Pope at all times. Nadeau says the authorities are asking a series of questions regarding whether "the butler acted alone, if he acted at all and ...what would have been his motivation."

Filed under: Pope