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New Pope Elected

Aired March 13, 2013 - 15:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's be honest. Everybody's mother wants him to be pope, whether they're Catholic or not. That's just talk about this point.

Let's get to New York.

Christiane Amanpour is there.

Christiane, the significance of this. How big is it?


You know, as you have been saying, 1.2 billion people in the world are waiting to see who their next leader will be, but, of course, it is not just Catholics. It is people all over the world, because the Catholic pope is a bit of a statesman.

You remember all the travels that John Paul II did. He really started the rock star pope, the evangelizing around the world, the presence of the Catholic Church all over the world. Pope Benedict XVI didn't have as successful an international mission because he wasn't as charismatic.

But, of course, here in New York, the home of Cardinal Timothy Dolan. And Cardinal Dolan has been on many people's list as a possible contender. Now, he's told us, he's told many people -- I interviewed him in Rome a couple of weeks ago, just ahead of going into the conclave, just while Pope Benedict was stepping down, and he says, look, I have got a better chance of pitching for the Yankees than actually becoming pope.

He's used terribly colorful language to describe and to play down his chances. However, he did seriously say and enumerated for me that the qualities that are going to be needed in the next pope. Somebody who is not just a man of God, obviously, but somebody who is also a very good administrator.

I think you will find that a lot of these cardinals who are going in realize full well that they have been in conclave, electing a leader at a time of quite unprecedented turmoil. We have mentioned over and again over the last several weeks the abuses, whether it be the financial scandals, the allegations of corruption, whether it be the sex abuse scandals, and therefore a good administrator, a good evangelizer, somebody charismatic, and who can get the message across and clean up the place a little bit -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Christiane, we will come back to you in a little bit.

Obviously, the reaction from all over the world. We heard that when white smoke was seen, President Obama in the United States was in a conference with Republican leaders. And he immediately stopped the session and made a joke about how we have white smoke, so obviously significant no matter where you are, no matter who you are.

Let's get to Anderson Cooper. He's with the people who are expectantly waiting in St. Peter's Square -- Anderson.


We have been talking with people who -- a lot of people have come from the United States who are here.

I want you to meet Flavio, who is actually Italian, who lives in Rome.

You heard there was white smoke. Time me how you got here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I just took my car, took my mother and my friend and drove really fast and got here. Well, I live -- normally it would take me like 15 minutes, and I drove here in seven.

COOPER: You got here in seven minutes, no police around to stop you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No police around this year. It is one-time opportunity, I guess.

COOPER: Why was it so important for you to be here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, first of all, because it is my first time as a Roman to see the pope. There is a saying in Rome that you can't be in Rome and not see the pope. I guess I can't live in Rome and not see the first day of pope.

COOPER: You remember John Paul II. That was your sort of first memory of a pope, and he was very special to you.


COOPER: What are you hoping for in this pope?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe a little bit naive, but John Paul III, maybe something like this.

Well, I consider John Paul II as my second father, like, in a special way. So I am really looking forward to see somebody not exactly like him, but will just bring even to me as a Catholic some faith in the church.

COOPER: How do you see him compared to Benedict? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Paul II or...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, John Paul II was my first pope. So I was really attached to him. And I really cried a lot the last year of his life.

And then I guess I couldn't manage to carry on with Benedict XVI. Now I'm just reconsidering him. And...

COOPER: You hope there is an Italian pope?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope -- I hope the pope is for everybody. So any pope will be just fine, as soon as he will just bring the faith in all the world.

COOPER: Is this something you will one day tell your children, your grandchildren, that you were here in this moment?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I will tell them that I was here and I was interviewed by CNN. I never expected that.

COOPER: All right, well, listen, I wish you the best.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

COOPER: I'm glad you're here. Thank you very much, Flavio.

And, again, it is amazing of course how many people sort of have the smiles on their face just to be here, and to bear witness to this moment, whether it is -- they are people of faith or whether they are they're not Catholic and they simply viewing this as a moment in history. There is just so much joy and excitement and you see people unfurling flags, flags of faith, flags of different countries all around the world.

You see groups of young people kind of huddled together, jumping up and down, dancing and singing. And there is a roar going up through the crowd. I'm not exactly -- maybe you can see better than we can, Chris.

CUOMO: Yes. There is a little bit of light being cast now up on the balcony, Anderson. We're starting to watch it. It seems like light could mean movement, could mean that they're getting ready to come out. There is a lot of anticipation, but you have to remember, as we learned from John Allen, as he's been giving us a tutorial and how things work from the conclave and the presentation of the pope, between the time there is smoke and when you see the pope is about 45 minutes, right?


Let's remember that the pope is, among other things, given an opportunity to pray in the Pauline Chapel. And this is after the habemus papam announcement. And, of course, it is up to him how long he chooses to pray. It is also up to him how long he chooses to remain in the Room of Tears.

And so there is some elasticity built into the timing. But based upon what we saw five years ago, we would be expecting this habemus papam announcement virtually at any moment.

CUOMO: The crowd is chanting now. Let's take a listen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that picture. Look at how many people.

ALLEN: This is a stunning sight, isn't it, Chris?

CUOMO: The lights have become righter there. That is what is fueling the anticipation right now.

ALLEN: And, of course, we were looking at the square maybe an hour ago in the sort of river of humanity that has poured into St. Peter's Square and the surrounding areas. It is just astonishing.

It is a reminder that the transitions of any sort, but certainly transitions in the papacy are always fraught with drama, but they're also fraught with hope, hope for change, hope for a new beginning. And you feel that excitement in the crowd that has gathered here tonight.

CUOMO: And also very pointed expectation about this. This may be beautiful and majestic and the sound you hear going past us is a hospital nearby, there's no emergent situation. They come by regularly.

But this is pointed expectation because of what has been going on in the world regarding the Catholic Church, because of the desire of women to be more equal within the Catholic Church, addressing financial and the behavior of priests. So there are big issues on the table.

If I can go back to Christiane Amanpour in New York, Christiane, you have been tackling these issues for some time now. And whoever this pope is, they're going to have to be very big steps that are part of his early introduction. Isn't that a fair point, no matter what label you want to put him on as a reformer or traditionalist, that he will have to be very strong on things like taking steps to stop the abuse, making financial accountability? What do you think of that?

AMANPOUR: Well, Chris, you're absolutely right. And, you know, for instance, we know that this pope has been elected by 115 men. No women are either eligible or able to vote.

And many women, particularly here in the United States, are concerned about that. There is a majority of American Catholic women who believe that there should, as you say, be a lot more movement towards more equality for women in the church. For instance, if they're not immediately going to be allowed to be priests, which, they're not, there is another role called deacon, which is less than a priest. Nonetheless, they can conduct certain church business, certain official duty. So you saw also a group of female activists who came to the first day of the conclave and let off that pink smoke. That was their symbol, for, hey, it's time for a little bit more equality for women. And many women have raised the point, many Catholic women have raised the point that if there were more women in the administrative and not just the pastoral missions of the Catholic Church, but in the hierarchy, perhaps some of these horrendous abuses and crimes would have not happened.

CUOMO: All right, thank you for that, Christiane.

As we look at the faces in the crowd, so many children on their parents' shoulders. And it raises the question, what kind of church will they inherit? This man who is about to come out, and be presented as pope, the people we see in the crowd, whether they're clergy or not, whether they're young or they're old, they are the church.

It is the people that really carry forth the belief, the faith and the tradition. Their leader is il papa, the pope, this man who is going to come out. But the direction he takes this church will be the church they inherit, old and young. The decision means so much to them, and, of course, that has, Father Beck, larger significance because of the Catholic Church's influence on society in general, whether or not you're a believer.

BECK: Worldwide influence. I think it's exemplified right here.

These are not only Catholic people you're looking at. This is every religion, every nationality, religious, laity. This is humanity right in front of us, witnessing what is about to happen on that balcony. It really is a vision of the Catholic Church. Catholic, of course, means universal. And this is a universal view, right now, that we're seeing in St. Peter's Square.

CUOMO: St. Peter's Square is packed to the gills. As I look around us here, down the street from St. Peter's, people are running up, still flooding in, still coming all the way down the avenue as you look there, as you look up at those lights that are on either side of the Road of Conciliation. There are people that go all the way up there.

There is an announcement coming right now, I believe. Let's listen for a second.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The new pope who in a short period of time will come out to the balcony of the facade of St. Peter's Basilica. OK. The curtains are moving. The curtains are moving. We have arrived. We're there. We can see some movement.

CUOMO: The curtains are starting to move. That means we're just moments away. There they are. They're open.

That is Cardinal Tauran.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I announce to you with great joy, we have a pope.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said it in Latin. I'm not sure what...

CUOMO: All right. We believe that the name they said was Bergoglio, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. He's the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Very important to note he's the man believed to have finished second to Pope Benedict in the last conclave.

We had been told earlier today by a retired cardinal Bergoglio had not been in the conversation of front-runners. He said, you're making a mistake, because if they cannot get somebody to get 77 votes, Bergoglio is the man who can bring everyone together. He needs no introduction.

ALLEN: You may recall, Chris, earlier in the week, we were saying that if the cardinals did have a strong desire to elect someone who could symbolically represent the dynamic growth of Catholicism outside the West, and if they could unify around the single Latin American candidate, that that person would be in very strong position.

We simply thought there was a number of plausible candidates, but obviously we know from eight years ago, Cardinal Bergoglio enjoyed enormous respect then and enormous respect now. He's a member -- a Jesuit, a member of the Society of Jesus.

CUOMO: What are they putting out now, John?

ALLEN: This is a tapestry, getting ready for the pope's -- what is known as his Urbi et Orbi address, his address to the city and the world. This is the papal tapestry, Chris, because now there is once again a pope of the Catholic Church.

CUOMO: Right.

Now, for those of you who are trying to figure out what this will mean before the pope comes out himself, we believe he finished second in the conclave, which means he has tremendous respect. He's a very simple man, he lives in a small apartment, he makes his own meal. He eschews any of the grandeur, the trappings...


ALLEN: He renounced his chauffeur-driven limousine that the archbishop of Buenos Aires typically had and actually took the bus to work every day, so the people of Buenos Aires knew that if they wanted a few minutes with their archbishop, they could simply hop on the bus with him and have a sort of informal rolling audience.

CUOMO: He was born September 17, 1936, in Buenos Aires. That makes him, what, 76 years old.

Alexander That's right.

CUOMO: He was ordained for the Jesuits in 1969. He was made a cardinal in 2001 by John Paul II. That's who it is, if it is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. He's the next pope.

BECK: Chris, if you remember, last week in New York, I said to you the second person last time got 40 votes supposedly according to the accounts of the cardinal's diary. Why is no one talking about him? And we looked at it and we said maybe he's considered too old.

But I guess if this is the case, he was not considered too old.

ALLEN: It just goes to show you so many of the factors we often thought out in terms of the handicapping of the papal sweepstakes, things like nationality and age, and whether they come from the Vatican or whether they come from the diocese, often are secondary.

I think those 115 voters, the members of the college, wanted to elect the man they believed brought the right qualities and they believe they found that man in Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio who becomes the first non-European pope in the history of the Catholic Church.


ALLEN: ... new world.

CUOMO: Very important because it shows the Catholic Church expansion around the world. South America has the most Catholics of any place in the world.

We have been talking about would the Catholic Church extend itself, go beyond Europe? And now we know our answer. If Cardinal Bergoglio is the new pope, South America has its first -- we have our first non-European pope.

Would he be the first pope...

ALLEN: He will be first pope outside of Europe and therefore the first pope from the realm outside the West.

And let's remember, Chris, that almost half, over 40 percent of the Catholics in the world today live in Latin America. Spanish is the most commonly spoken language in the Catholic Church. And so this is a dramatic, historic moment for the Catholic Church.

BECK: And Italian television is saying that he picked the name Francesco, Francis.

ALLEN: Which would be stunning, the first pope whoever named himself after St. Francis of Assisi, the legendary...


CUOMO: What would be the significance?

BECK: Well, St. Francis of course believed that the church needed to be reformed. He went into the square, took off all of his clothing and said, no, I'm not going to be trapped by all of these externals. I'm going to live a simple life, a life of poverty, as witness to Jesus.

And so how fascinating that we have been talking about a reformer pope and that may be exactly what we have got?

ALLEN: Francis, of course, the great patron saint of poverty, lady poverty. He talked about his love and his romance with poverty, seen as the great patron of simplicity, humility, closeness to the people, sort of, if you like the antibody to all of the sort of usual stereotypes we often have about princes of the church, as kind of aloof and ethereal and out of touch.

If indeed the new pope has chosen the name Francis, I think you would agree that is one of most dramatic bits of introductory symbolism one could imagine.

BECK: And for a Jesuit not to pick Ignatius, his own founder...

ALLEN: Is fairly dramatic in and of itself.

BECK: Yes.

CUOMO: We have been talking here about, is the Catholic Church, are there symbols as you said of potential change? Pope Benedict creating this opportunity, doing something so new.

The conclave having unusually robust general congregations before it, where big issues came up. The idea that this is on the fifth ballot and that's unusual. And now you get a pope who is from South America. When is last pope from South America?

ALLEN: Never.

CUOMO: This is the first pope from South America. This is the first pope named Francis. These are all firsts.

ALLEN: Incredibly dramatic, both substantively and symbolically.

Again, it is worth saying that of these 1.2 billion Catholics in the world today, two-thirds of them live outside the West. That share will be three-quarters by mid-century. You could make an argument that the single most dramatic transition in Catholicism today is the shift in the center of gravity from north to south.

And to have a pope now who symbolizes that burgeoning Catholic footprint outside the West, obviously there is not only going to be a party in Buenos Aires tonight, but I think will be joy and hope and optimism all across the Catholic landscape.

CUOMO: And just to reset for people who are coming now from America or around the world, we have a new pope. We believe he is a cardinal from South America, the first pope, first non-European pope, first pope from South America to be sure, and we believe it is Cardinal Bergoglio, Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Buenos Aires.

This is portentous of change is what we have been saying, Pope Benedict creating this opportunity by resigning, the novelty of it, this conclave giving us a pope on the fifth ballot, which hadn't happened in 100 years. And now a South American for the first time, named Francis, we believe, according to Italian television, the first time, the first Pope Francis I, all signs that maybe there will be change.

Cardinal Bergoglio, important to note, we believe, finished second to Pope Benedict in the last conclave. We have been told if a big name doesn't pull out to 77 early on, he could be the great uniter. He is somebody everybody respects.

ALLEN: Left, right and center, I think he would be seen very much as a moderate in terms of his own ideological stance, someone who crosses boundaries, but deeper than that seen as a keen mind, seen as a very capable administrator, seen as a man of real personal integrity, humility and simplicity and a man of great faith.


CUOMO: And humble. That matters, doesn't it?

BECK: How often have we heard people want the church to relinquish some of the wealth and the power?

This is a man who gave up his residence, his cardinal residence, moved into a small apartment, gave up his driver. He wanted to project and live a simple life. And this is a man who took the name we hear St. Francis.

CUOMO: And we have that confirmed now from Vatican radio. He has taken Francis, St. Francis of Assisi, of course, someone who was symbolized by be humble, give to the poor, take away all your riches. It sends a strong signal.

ALLEN: And this may not be immediately clear to non-Catholic audiences, but we should say how astonishing a choice it is to take the name of Francis. It used to be thought no pope would ever call himself Francis.

CUOMO: Here we are. Take a watch.


CUOMO: The curtains are opened. The cross bearer is coming out. And there he is.