The Cycle | February 11, 2013
>>> so the supreme pontiff the abdicating. god's rottweiler is stepping aside. technically can't resign. there's nobody to accept the resignation but the long and short of it is we need a new guy so soon we'll set until to vatican watch and twice a day smoke rises from the sistine chapel as the cardials burn the ballots. black smoke is no choice yet. white smoke means we have a new pope. let's spin on it. i really am interested in this process and can't wait for the waiting in the smoke. i remember it in '78 after the blizzard.
>> you are so old.
>> you shut your mouth , lady fingers .
>> young lady .
>> it's really a thing he wanted to step down and word is wise but anyway. stepping down because this man ratzinger really wanted to be pope. that's a great story in "the atlantic" the year of two popes. look it up from 2006 . talking about the years he spent inching toward being the pope. he was very close with pope john paul and spent years making himself seem like an intellectual massive figure so the others in the vatican look to him as the number two and starting the process, he was considered the favorite to win. you know, i mean, john paul was mr. outside. right? he would go out on the balcony. ratzinger is always mr. inside. everybody inside the vatican had great respect for him. i'm interested to see what happens with this process. we'll never know what actually happens inside that room and we know it's an election of a very small town and everybody knows everybody. you can't out wardly campaign. you can't ambitious but there's subtle ways of campaigning and ratzing ratzinger to benedict campaigned.
>> steve did all day.
>> i'm the right age.
>> call him now?
>> and the right religion.
>> 42 years. you know, what's interesting to me about this is you're right. you know, benedict is mr. inside and his election, first of all, there were so many reasons why it was sort of doubtful, he was an unlikely choice. likely but unlikely in 2005 . election was made possible by rules change that pope john paul ii put in place in 1996 and took the old super jorkt with two thirds of the cardinals to agree an they have as many ballots it took and he said after 30 ballots, a mere 30 ballots, majority rule wins and when somebody gets a majority, end the process because the majority hangs on and then win and probably enabled benedict to win in 2005 . almost unanimous and four ballots and that's it. he did away with the rules change and so we have reverted the two thirds majority and it's the only way that pope john paul ii would have become the pope. there was sort of two candidates duking it out and he was the compromise choice and the unlikely, nobody thought him, polish guy with a chance. and he emerged as the consensus candidate. the compromise candidate. back to that process now where it's wide open and also frankly with the factions that exist, the factions and sort of lines are drawn, if there's no -- if majority doesn't rule there's a potential for -- almost an endless number of ballots here.
>> are we going to have nate cohn on? will we get the silverstein -- look. toure, you are right. benedict and pope paul were very, very different popes and there's a lot of reasons for that. some of which you alluded but. benedict never really managed to get the emotional outpouring that john paul enjoyed. again, there are some reasons for that. one, john paul was a spiritual leader who oversaw a number of very important historical events . he was deeply involved in apartheid, ending the dictator in haiti with baby doc . solidarity in poland. huge moments where the pope more than instrumental. he was in many ways spiritually and politically leading the charge in some of those events. benedict didn't really have any of those moments of his own.
>> sort of a person.
>> and you explained that well. the insider versus the outsider. i'll also say that the liberal media which is somehow different than it was when pope john paul came in in '78 gave benedict a very, very hard time . i will never forget because i wrote about it at the time lisa miller of "newsweek" wrote a column about pope benedict saying he was going to have a hard time connecting literally because he's ugly. it was a really kind of gross and disturbing way of treating him. so there were a lot of factors. i think pope benedict had very good intentions but for a lot of reasons never really got to ascend to the place where i think he wanted to be.
>> well, and the legacy is interesting, too, because there's sort of something in there for everybody to either love or hate.
>> you know, he was a real advocate for addressing climate change , help for the poor. sort of had an tip think to the excesses of wealth.
>> he was on twitter.
>> everybody loves that, right? he was very outspoken in keeping women from being ordained. he went after the largest group of nuns in america for basically spending too much time focused on the poor and not enough on abortion and gay marriage . so again, there's something in there for everybody to love or to hate and in terms of the broader legacy, you can't leave out the fact that kind of the biggest news event and the biggest thing that happened while he was pope was the catholic church sex scandal . and he was himself before he was pope personally implicated in reassigning a priest who had been accused of molesting a child, reassigning him five days after having counseling and then this priest goes on to molest more children and be convicted of that so i think that will always be a stain on his legacy but definitely a complicated, interesting figure.
>> absolutely. wonder if the new pope will be on the twitter. hmm.
>>> coming up, what's on the the president's mind prepping for the state of the union ? a white house insider joins us next in the guest spot. as we head to break, another great grammy performance from the black keys . just