msnbc | March 14, 2013
>>> all right. so it is the beginning of a new era for the catholic church today. the newly elected pope francis taking part in a private prayer service it morning at the santa maria basilica in rome. his first official event was a huge contrast to the events we witnessed yesterday. certainly the crowds outside the sistine chapel going wild when the chimney spewed white smoke signaling the election of a new pope. pope bergoglio was elected. the first latin american , first jesuit, first named francis . the first to meet his predecessor in more than 600 years. new york cardinal timothy dolan says francis will give the church new life. catholics optimistic about that change.
>> the chair of st. peter was empty, now it's full again. that gives us hope and renewal. let's watch close. i think we're going to see a lot of renewal.
>> it 's wonderful that we finally have a pope that can represent a large piece of community, the latinos.
>> it took such a short amount of time. he wasn't a front-runner. that's great. that means there's a different kind of blood, a different mentality.
>> means there's change coming. it's a reason for hope.
>> he has so many issues to take care of. just so many. i'm going to pray a lot for him.
>> where pope emeritus benedict is staying is quiet. pope francis is expected to meet with him in the next few days. at the vatican briefing today, there was a briefing on why he's being called quote "very humble".
>> when they left the sistine chapel to return to santa marta , a special car was prepared for him with the license plate with number one. he said no, i'm going in the bus because i came here in the bus with all of you. i'll drive back in the bus. at the dinner there was a toast to him at the end of the meal. he just said a few words and at the end, he said may god forgive you for what you've done.
>> joining me from the vatican is chris jansing as well as a father for the vatican museums . chris , i want to start with you. as we watched the crowd, they were massive yesterday. they've died down now obviously. the social media crowds were massive as well. more than 7 million tweets, 130,000 per minute after that announcement. what's been the reaction today to pope francis and the hope that he brings to the future of the church?
>> well, first of all, the crowds will come back because he's going to be at the window of the papal apartments on sunday for the usual ud jeaudience. i think there's a sense of hope. he's not going to do all the things necessarily that all catholics , especially american catholics want him to do. he's got a lot on his plate. we've talked about the sexual abuse scandal and the reform, the bureaucracy that is the vatican . that would be huge for anybody. this guy is 76 years old and he has one lung. yeah, when i talked to cardinal dolan this morning and i asked him about the conclave and what it was like in there, here's what he told me about it.
>> it was difficult for me to make up my mind at first. but i mean it when i say, i'm hard boiled when it comes to the spiritual life. you could sense the gentle breeze of the holy spirit and gradually you saw this man emerge and as you'd watch him and listen to the cardinals who know him well and as you saw just the acclimation of the college of cardinals moving in his direction, there was a great sense of resignation and peace.
>> and i would say cardinal dolan also looked relieved of course. he was someone mentioned often as a possible contender for pope. but he certainly leaves here, i think, with a lot more influence and it will be interesting to see how that works on the american catholic church . thomas?
>> father hey due, as chris brought up, leadership of the church and as we know, one of the first acts of the pope is to be to read this 300-page investigative dossier on the scandal that pope benedict left under lock and key . it could be sexual misconduct that occurred, as well as corruption within the vatican . how do you foresee pope francis to handle that and make it transparent so the 1.2 billion catholics around the world know what's in that?
>> you know, thomas, i think one of the things i always think about when talking about this new breeze of hope is that hope isn't burying your head in the sand and not seeing the problems. part of hope is seeing the problems and kwon fronting them with the spirit of initiative, ingenuity, new ideas. what we're all hoping isn't so much to know everybody's dirty laundry as much as whatever that is, let's fix it. we don't want to be part of the problem and part of the solution. part of the new era is to move on. confronting the past and confronting the future. with hope and confidence and putting solutions to the problems which we all want.
>> father and chris swrjansing from rome. thank you.
>>> the papal seagull, the bird perched atop the chimney several times, prompting of course the papal seagull hash tag and its own twitter account. the bird tweeted look mom, the "today" show loves me. cpac