Jansing and Co | February 27, 2013
>>> we've never really had a chance to say good-bye to a pope this way. today about 150,000 people packed st. peter's square for pope benedict xvi 's final public good-bye. he drove around the square in his popemobile and kissed a handful of babies much to the delight of the crowd and their parents. of course we know the cardinals will meet march 4th to decide the exact date of the conclave that will pick the next pope. let me bring in my guests. thanks to both of you for being with us.
>> thank you. and thanks for getting up so early this morning to cover all of this.
>> believe me, it was my pleasure. i had father barren with me. we listened to it together. you know, i said this this morning for people who weren't up at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. it was a very personal set of remarks from this pope. give us what you thought were the headlines here.
>> you mentioned the pope kissing babies . i've been to many of those audiences over the years. he has never done that. in his talk he mentioned that he is the papa, the father of the catholic family. so i saw a line between what he did on the way in and the talk he gave which you're right was very personal. it was a spiritual talk, talking about his spiritual fatherhood. it was about a father saying good-bye to his family. this was much more from the heart.
>> and a little bit in the speech about a defense of his decision to step down. we are hearing there's been increasing criticism in rome in particular about people questioning whether they should break that tradition and what precedence it sets.
>> my thought is it was a very courageous decision on his part and in some ways the most modernizing move this pope made, as many have noted. it is a way of saying, look. this is at some level a sacred office but it is also an office of leadership in the church and if you feel like it is -- you can't carry out that office the way you'd like to, resignation is quite proper. i was also struck by the fact that he really acknowledged difficulties in the church . he used the word difficult twice depending on the translation you look at. he spoke of moments of joy and life but also difficult moments. he said god guides his church and maintains her always and especially at difficult times. and that very touching reference to jesus falling asleep on the boat with the disciples. now, yes, jesus eventually wakes up but i think all of this spoke to a pope who is very aware that the church faces enormous problems right now and i think he thought that allowing the election of a new pope might be a way to move toward the solution to some of these very serious difficulties the church has in the vatican and around the world.
>> because without a doubt he is handing over a church that is vibrant in many parts of the world, father, particularly in africa and latin america but also has some clouds hanging over it. the leaks and the documents there and of course the presex abuse scandal. what are they going to look for in the next pope?
>> i think they'll be looking for someone with that governing ability. we talk about priest, prophet, king. the last two popes have been very strong in the priestly, sanctity fiing element and also the pro-fetic, the teaching eleme element.
>> great intellectuals.
>> absolutely. but also the governing element. to take control, allow for more transparency, more accountability, and get control of the -- this problem. it's been a nightmare since 2002 . we haven't entirely awoken from that nightmare. i think the church has to do more and more to address it. that will be a very high thing on the list of priorities for the new pope.
>> tomorrow we'll see the pope meet with cardinals and then he'll leave in a helicopter. officially he has no role. he says he is going to essentially disappear into a life of prayer. but i wonder if you're the next pope are you going to give him a call and get a little friendly advice? is this like former presidents?
>> it isn't exactly like the chicago machine where he can direct his committeemen to vote a certain way. but he did appoint i think of the 115 who are expected to vote in this conclave. my sense is that whereas the last time benedict went in as an overwhelming favorite, because he had a very solid block of conservative votes and a lot of cardinals who felt some day their day would come felt having benedict there in the meantime might open the way for them. i think this time the votes may be much more scattered and you could have a longer conclave and that could lead to a surprising choice.
>> well, we may be there a while. e.j. you need to get over there. thank you so much for being with us. it was a remarkable, historic morning and great to have a conversation with both of you. thanks.
>> good to be with you.