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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."

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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 12th, 2013
11:53 AM ET

Cardinal Egan on 'Starting Point': The 5 qualities the next pope must have

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

Filed under: Papal conclave • Vatican
March 12th, 2013
08:40 AM ET

VIDEO: First papal conclave vote likely to be 'learning experience' – Msgr. Hilgartner & Father Beck on what can be gleaned

Father Edward Beck and Monsignor Richard Hilgartner on how the first papal conclave vote will be a learning experience for voting cardinals.

Filed under: Papal conclave • Vatican