Mitchell Reports | February 11, 2013
>> the author of the pew book evangelical catholicism , deep reform in the 21st century church . got a copy here. just hot off the presses. to write this book you deeply reporting and, of course, you have known pope benedict xvi for 23 years since he was cardinal ratzinger . tell us about this process, first of all, the decision which, as you have said and others, this comes from great humility.
>> it's a real reflection of the character of the man. this is someone who has never thrust himself into the public eye. he is shy scholar. he is extraordinarily lucid mind, and if he decided in conscience and prayers, as he put it together, that he could not give the church the service the church deserved, then i think we ought to take him on face value at that. in this book evangelical catholicism , i describe in the last chapter some of the qualities that the cardinals will be looking for in the next pope. a man of evangelism, someone who will take the message to the world and indeed around the world. a man of judgment. a man who knows how to pick good suborder nants and then let them do their job. a man of linguistic skills . the catholic chr is a multi-lingual enterprise, and the pope needs a lot of language skills. deep spiritual resources. there's a sense in which, as i saw of john paul ii and as we've seen it with benedict xvi the pope bears the weight of the whole church , including the sins and the people in the church on his own back in a singular way. it takes a certain kind of character to be able to absorb that without being spiritually destroyed by it.
>> drained by it.
>> drained by it.
>> to what extent do you think going back to what ann was just suggesting, sxipt to ask ann a follow-up and a question in a second, but to what extent is it possible this would be a noneuropean --
>> i think it's entirely possible. i think it's entirely possible. this is now a world church in a way it has not been before. the demographic center of gravity in the catholic church is the global self. at a recent sinod of bishops in rome , from all over the world, in october i believe it was the archbishop of an ethiopians, why are all these europeans here? the church is dying where you are. the church is alive where we are. the question of what's the growing end of the church and how do you address this faith deficit in the historic way of catholicism, the western world , is going to be high on the agenda, it would seem to me, of the cardinals meeting in conclave and in the informal conversations which let's not forget began about six hours ago that will precede the formal meetings before the conclave is closed.
>> you've touched on something that ann thompson, you know very well, that there is a sight of this that is political. not in the grungy sense of the word, but in the larnler sense that there are factions, correct, and as you have been covering this in the past with john paul ii and the asinges of benedict xvi , you have a feel for how that work as well.
>> well, i think the thing -- the thing for people to understand here, andrea, is that there is a clear difference between what some of the people in the pews want and what the leadership believes in. you know, there's a lot of speculation today. would the new pope consider married priests or women priests or gay marriage or sexual reproduction -- reproductive freedom ? you have to remember the cardinals that are going to elect the next pope are just as conservative as pope benedict xvi and pope john paul ii . george can certainly speak to this. nobody is expecting sort of a great turn in the theological direction of the catholic church . what is -- what will be interesting and cardinal spoke to that this morning. the archbishop of wash washington. he said what is important in today's age, given 24 hour news cycles and our constant communication, is the men industry of presence and that means traveling the world. especially to asia, latin america , and africa where the church is growing, and that was something that clearly this pope felt he could no longer do, and it's a really, really important part of the job .
>> and i saw that in havana when he was last march. it was a very limited communication or contact with the people. it wasn't like in the early days when we saw john paul iind first in alaska and then in denver with the youth ministry going into the crowds and reaching out to people. claudo, what would be the reaction many rome if will were a choice of a non-european?
>> i mean, the italians in particular got used to a non-italian at first when john paul ii was elected. well, of course, that was difficult for them. the pope was always meant to be italian, and they accepted him and embraced him, and, of course, he became one of the most popular popes in history. well, then came joseph ratzinger , a german, but then at that point they could choose to a non-italian being pope. if our catholics, and especially catholics in rome and in italy, are they ready for a noneuropean? yes, i think so. they have come to understand that what really matters is the passion, the stamina, the strength, and the message that a pope sends out and how he delivers it. they embrace that and understand that the world is now a worldwide church . that the catholic church is now a worldwide church . yes, i think there are ready. they're not -- i don't think they are particularly too bothered about the fact that the next pope will be italian. they just want to know who is next because that's always a massive event here in rome . when the white smoke comes out of the sistine chapel , people will be charging here down the big street from rome into the vatican because everyone wantston who their new pope is. that's exciting.
>> george, you talk about the challenges that the first has faced. is that going to be part of this conversation, the scandals here, and else where in the world. in ireland.
>> i think very much ireland is on everybody's mind. andrea, i think what these cardinals are going to be reflecting on is the fact that the church is growing when the goss pet is preached without apology. the church is dying. catholic light is the winner of the day. who can express the fullness of the catholic nate a positive way that lifts up the dignity of human beings and in a vast variety of cultural situations. it's almost an impossible job, but somebody has to do it, and some one will be chosen. there is a modern church as well, and the book is evangelical catholicism . it's never more relevant than now and written by someone that knows benedict xvi and knew john paul ii very well, and we'll be talking to you in a bit. thank you very much.