Melissa Harris-Perry | February 16, 2013
>>> pope benedict the xvith will later this month not only be the first pope to abdicate his post in 600 years, but he will retire from public view. even before we see the cloud of white smoke from the sistine chapel when a new pope is elected, the pope said thursday, he will be hidden from the world as he retires to a life of prayer. he will go to papal cloistering and he will go to live at his home and then as the home at the v vatican is ren na -- renovated, then he will return there. and we asked what that will look like going forward. we are joined by jesuit father james martin , and also joining me is sister camille who is a commentator for 1010 wens radio here in new york. father, i want to start with you about what becomes possible in this moment. how open is the group of, are the group of cardinals to a different direction for the catholic church ?
>> well, anything is possible with the holy spirit . they are very open, but what we have to remember is that all of the cardinals that are currently going to be electing the next pope, and all of the cardinals under 80 were chosen by pope john paul ii or pope benedict , so you will not see a lot of the change, you know, in a lot of the policies, but really once the man becomes pope, anything is possible, because he can do whatever he wants to do.
>> and there have been moments where we have seen the popes do extraordinary thing, and obviously vatican ii is the example. and are we at a moment to acknowledge a vatican ii moment, and john paul moment?
>> well, the history of the cardinals is like the lightning that stroke the dome a few hours after the pope benedict resigned. anything is possible, but if we could retreat to the essence of pope john the xxiiird who inish y -- initiated the last vatican counsel which so many are not happy with, and we could go back to the people of god and inviting everyone to look to the levels of the signs of the times that is asked by the matthew gospel and point to the needs of the people longing, and longing to know jesus and feel the loving merciless presence in their lives through the understanding of the sufferings they endure and the help they need.
>> this question of sufferings, and i want to talk after we come back from the break, we want to talk about this, but this is ben ticket of two minds and on the one hand, incredible writings about inequality and poverty and even being to the left of anybody in the u.s. on e redistribution, but this legacy of child sex abuse .
>> he is progressive about income redistribution , and he uses that word and in terms of sex abuse , i would say he is the first pope to meet with victims of sex abuse there. is an article of the catholic report which is a lefty paper that says that he was appalled by this and tried to push through change. i think that the sex abuse frankly needs to be laid at the doorsteps of the bishops more so than the pope, but he can certainly tet set the tone and the next pope should be strong about the sex abuse and meeting with the victims and listening, and that is the important thing for the next pope to do. sdl
>> we will talk about the possibilities of the next pope who will be and there is a betting game online, and of course, there is. please stay with us. we will talk more about this. more nerdland at the top of the hour.
>> melissa, you are one of the most brilliant people and i'm so proud that you reason msnbc and fighting for social justice , and i hope that your show lasts a long, long, time. th tums.