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Analysis Of New Pope Live From Rome

Aired March 13, 2013 - 15:32   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There he is, our new pope, the Catholics' new pope, Pope Francis, the first Pope Francis that Catholics have ever had. The first pope from South America, they've ever had, the first pope not from Europe since the first pope, Peter, who wasn't -- who obviously immigrated to Europe.

How significant are these firsts?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Well, let's begin with what I think is maybe the most stunning development of the night, aside from the fact that we have a new pope to begin, which is choice of name, Francis.

You know, throughout the centuries, it was always believed that no pope -- in a sense, it was considered almost inconceivable that a pope would choose to name himself Francis on the argument that there are certain figures that are such cornerstone figures in Catholicism, so unique in their impact and their spiritual consequence, that they're unrepeatable, that there can only be one Francis.

CUOMO: What song do they play now?

ALLEN: This is the Vatican anthem, the hymn that is played at -- of honor to the pope.

CUOMO: Father Beck, what do you see in his face?

REVEREND EDWARD BECK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I see humility and I see a little fear.

Can I say something about the name Francis?

CUOMO: Please.

BECK: One of most famous lines attributed in the story of Francis is he went into a broken down church. He looked at a crucifix and he heard from the crucifix, Francis, rebuild my church.

Those are the famous lines associated with St. Francis. He thought it meant literally, so he started to rebuild the church. Little did he know that it would mean symbolic, as well.

CUOMO: Speaking again.

POPE FRANCIS (via translator): Dear brothers and sisters, I'd like to express my gratitude (INAUDIBLE) to your embrace. Pray for me. Tomorrow, I'm going to go and pray to the Madonna, so that she shelters and guides the whole of Rome.

Good evening and have a good (INAUDIBLE).

ALLEN: Francis is one of the if not the most evocative name in the Catholic spiritual tradition and what it says to Catholics at a glance is poverty, humility, simplicity and a moment of rebirth and reform.

BECK: And rebuilding.

ALLEN: And rebuilding Catholic life.

CUOMO: So what we know about how Pope Francis will fill out that name?

What do we know about him on issues about how forward-thinking they have to be to stop abuse in the church, how forward-thinking they have to be about getting more fiscal responsibility in the Vatican?

What do we know about his positions?

ALLEN: Well, we know that the child sexual abuse scandals have not erupted in Argentina in the same way they have, let's say, in the United States and Europe.

But we do know on those occasions when Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, has been asked about his position on the child abuse question, he has adopted a strong reform line.

In terms of -- you asked about the money question. Here's the thing. He's been the administrator of a complex archdiocese in Buenos Aires for an awful long time and there has never been the first whiff of scandal or crisis about financial misadministration.

And, further, remember he provided over the church in Argentina during its massive economic crisis, not the church but the country of Argentina which was in freefall, and won great credit for being a champion of the poor during that time.

CUOMO: Not a big indication of what flows through this man's heart and his head was that he asked before I pray for you as pope, I want you to pray for me and then had a moment of silence, which is somewhat unheard of.

ALLEN: I think it is worth noting that this pope, before he chose to speak, he chose to be silent. I think that too is symbolic.

Just the five-minute introduction that we've had to this new leader of the Catholic Church, we have seen a precedent shattering choice, the first pope from Latin America, the first pope since the original, from outside the -- from outside Europe.

Second, we've seen a precedent shattering name, the first pope to name himself after probably the most ironically beloved saint in the history of the church, Francis of Assisi. And we've heard a pope that chose to listen to the voice of God and to the voice of the people gathering in the square before he chose to speak.

That's three for three in a sense, in terms of the new pope sending a signal that this is not going to be business as usual.

CUOMO: That is the hope for 1.2 billion Catholics the world over to be sure.

Anderson Cooper is in the crowd in St. Peter's Square. Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC 360": A huge amount of excitement here, obviously, as you can imagine, and there was really this extraordinary moment.

I'm not sure how well it came across on television, but just moments -- times of prayer, where really the entire square seemed silent and was reciting prayers, silently, some out loud.

Now, the crowds are kind of dispersing. People are kind of moving off, but a lot of people are kind of lingering just wanting to kind of savor this moment and reflect on what it means for the church, what it means for this church moving forward.

I think so many people have come here on this evening with different expectations, with different hopes, for what happens now.

I want to talk to some folks who are just in the crowd. Where are you from?


COOPER: Columbia?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, but I live in Italy.

COOPER: So, what do you make of this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, we are very, very excited for South Americans. This is the first time that we have a South American pope, and he looks so natural, so easy.

He says (INAUDIBLE), we are all friends.

At the beginning, we were all very tight. We say, who is that, from where? Nobody expected him, but the pope.

COOPER: But when you heard Argentina, when you heard from South America, it's historic and, as somebody from Colombia, tremendously excited.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very important for Latin America and it's very important to have a new pope.

COOPER: What do you hope this means for the church? From Pope Francis, what do you hope ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stronger church. And (INAUDIBLE) that they did name a pope in two days. We don't have a government in Italy. The government, they are not able to do it, but the pope, they were able to do it in two days.

COOPER: To you, is it a sign of change?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it is going to change. He looks younger. He looks more human and he (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: For you to be here, what was it like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So exciting. So, so exciting. This will never happen in my life again. Very exciting. Everybody was running all over the city to get here.

COOPER: How long were you here for?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One hour. And then when he says, pray for me, everybody was quiet.

COOPER: I was just saying that, the silence was really extraordinary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The silence was extraordinary. When he says, pray for me, he looked so easy. And Francesco is a beautiful name. They're very happy.

COOPER: Thank you very much.

And there you have it, very happy, not just people from Latin America, from South America, but really Italians, everybody who was here, and I think people feel very privileged to have witnessed this and certainly anybody watching at home.

I mean, whether you are a member of this faith or not, it is a historic moment, something we have never seen before on so many different levels and so many different ways.

And you can hear the bells ringing out on this really truly extraordinary night, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Anderson. We'll be back to you in just a little bit.

I want to go to somebody we have, Jose Manuel Rodriguez. He's a reporter from Buenos Aires. He's covered the cardinal. He knows about him.

Can you hear me, Jose?

JOSE MANUEL RODRIGUEZ, CNN ESPANOL: I can hear you perfectly. How are you doing?

CUOMO: beautiful, thank you for joining us. Congratulations on having a pope from Argentina. What can you tell us about Pope Francis?

RODRIGUEZ: well, he was archbishop of Buenos Aires until last year, because he was 76 years ago, but the last pope to give a decision to maintain him until this event.

He's a very humble person, according what we can know from the people surrounding him on the archbishop of Buenos Aires.

He's a political guy because, I mean, he has some issues with the government, because of the same sex law that was approved within the last year

Second of all, he was, of course, in opposition of the abortion, and, you know, this government passed a law of the dignity death, so he has some confrontation with the government.

And on top of that, some people criticize him because they say that he didn't do much for the violation of human rights committed under the dictatorship in 1983.

So -- but on top of that, he is very well recognized by, you know, as a pastor, as a priest, you know, that head archbishop in Buenos Aires. He had good connections in Latin America. He was president of the (INAUDILBE). So, and he has a very good relationship with the Vatican, as well.

So, he's a charismatic person, but as I mentioned before, he has some political issues with this government, the current government.

So we'll see what will be the reaction of the government when they have to express, you know, an opinion of what they think about his appointment as pope.

CUOMO: OK. Jose, thank you very much. It's good to meet you down there.

I know you are reporting for CNN Espanol, so thank you very much for the information about our new pope.

I want to go now to Jim Bitterman. He is also in St. Peter's Square.

Jim, what is the mood like where you are and what do you think a Pope Francis can mean for the Catholic Church?

JIM BITTERMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the things that is interesting, for me, is the name Francis. John Allen was saying, the significance of that, I think, for Catholics around the world.

Of course, here, there was an unbelievable reaction when he stepped out on the balcony, the kind of thing that you've already have been describing.

But I thought I would bring into the picture here, Chris, a young seminary student. He's just about finished with his seminary studies, Alejandro (INAUDIBLE) Romero from Mexico City.

And, Alejandro, how important is this for you as someone from Latin America, how do you feel about the idea of having someone from Argentina now as your pope?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I'm happy. I'm excited because, for us, as a Latin American person, it is kind of a great lesson for us.

It is kind of also a great movement in the church, and I would say also it is God's plan, in the sense he was looking for somebody and now somebody is coming. His name is Francis the I.

And for me, it's a very, very excited mood, and also, I am very happy because he's my -- I would say my own language. He speaks Spanish. And he knows, also, Italian.

But for me, the main point of the bridge is the language, the Spanish. He seems to me he's going to be closer to us.

BITTERMAN: What do you think of the name Francis? Does that say something to you? Does it have a significance as a Catholic?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly. I think -- the idea that comes to my mind is the name of Francis of Assisi.

He was a humble guy. This new pope, his name is Francis. Everybody knows his name. Everybody will remember his name. It's a very short name.

It's kind of more approachable. Just by seeing this name, by mentioning this name, everybody knows. Everybody receives a blessing as we have received now.

BITTERMAN: Thank you very much, Alejandro (INAUDIBLE) Romero (ph), from Mexico City, a young seminary student.

Back to you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, thank you so much, Jim.

Jim, of course, covered the last conclave where then-Cardinal Bergoglio supposedly finished second, and now he's here at this conclave and Cardinal Bergoglio has become Pope Francis.

The first time we've had a Pope Francis, the first time we've had a pope from South America, and what a period for South America. They have the Olympics, they have the World Cup, and now they have the pope.

ALLEN: And let's point out that the first major international travel on the new pope's schedule is likely to be something that already planned before the -- Benedict's resignation, which is a visit to World Youth Day, which is kind of the Woodstock of the Catholic Church, a gathering of a million or so Catholic youth from all over the world, which, coincidently, is scheduled for Rio de Janeiro in the summer. I mean, can you imagine the first pope from Latin America making his first international trip to Latin America, the crowd of ecstatic 1-million-plus young Catholics. I think the greatest Catholic party of the early 21st century is likely to roll out in Rio.

BECK: John, am I correct about something else? Another first here is the first Jesuit pope?

ALLEN: You're absolutely right about that.

BECK: The first Jesuit pope. Now, why that's amazing is the Jesuits take a fourth vow of allegiance to the pope, a special connection with the papacy. So, they've never had a Jesuit pope, though, before.

ALLEN: Society of Jesus, founding during the Reformation Period, by a Spanish saint, Ignatius of Loyola, often sort of quasi- derisively, but also affectionately known as the pope's "shock troops" over the years, that is the outfit that the pope would send to the area of most dire need.

Also seen as an order of great intellectuals and a real "can-do" group, Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, comes out of that community.

CUOMO: Here is the big measure, though. The big measure for all firsts and it is interesting and its detail is something that really drives the fascination with this entire process, but at the end of the day, it will be where is Pope Francis on the issues that matter most, the accountability of the Vatican, the issues about contraception and whether it's women priests in the west or whether it is about just making sure that the abuse scandal is handled correctly everywhere, that will be how it defines him.

However, we don't want to get ahead of ourselves and the analysis because this moment is about "habemus papam," having a new pope.

Let's get back down to the excitement where it is in St. Peter's square, Becky Anderson. Becky, can you hear me?


CUOMO: Hey, Becky, can you hear me? It's Chris.

ANDERSON: I can. Chris, can you hear us?

CUOMO: So, what is it like there?

I can. What do you have for us?

ANDERSON: It is a remarkable atmosphere. I'm with Raymond Arroyo from EWTN here, and we were just discussing as people were walking past what this really means for the church.

RAYMOND ARROYO, ANCHOR, EWTN: Well, look, for the Latins, this is such a moment.

Look, 46 percent of the church is in Latin America, Becky, and they were so underrepresented.

So many of these cardinal electors, the ones from Latin America, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, throughout last week, they told me, look, we need a pope who will respond and understand Latin America is here, and this church must be addressed.

This was clearly, if I had to guess, and I'm only guessing, the Latin bloc here, those 19 voters, probably swung to Bergoglio because he was an Argentinean and yet he's got Italian roots, so he plays to the hometown crowd.

ANDERSON: People are streaming past us here. They were tens of thousands if not 100,000 or so people just behind us there at Vatican City, and those that we have spoken to since they have been walking past have almost to a man and woman said this is good news for the church.

They like the idea, even though many of them actually didn't know who Pope Francis the I actually was.

ARROYO: Right. Well, Francis I, first of all, the name is so evocative. I mean, people around the world love St. Francis, the Italians certainly do. He resonates, his simplicity, his humility and Bergoglio is known for that in Argentina.

He lives in an apartment. He doesn't live in a big fancy mansion or a condo. People like that. He takes the bus to work. He's a very humble man of the people.

He's often spoke about social justice for the poor, the inequities in South America and that we need to rethink and think about how are we to distribute the many gifts we have been given?

That will play well, not only in Latin America, but in many other parts of the world.

ANDERSON: One of the things that a number of people did said to me, though, as they walked past, is this, is he a reformer?

ARROYO: That's the big question. You know, going into this conclave, cardinal after cardinal said somebody has to restrain this Curia, the Vatican governance, the bureaucracy here.

There is corruption. There's nepotism. A lot of it is Italian society. So the question is this, can a man who is Italian, even though he grew up in Buenos Aires, does he have the context and the know-how to restrain, if you will, this beast here on the outer fringes of Vatican City?

We'll have to see, but depending on how that vote broke, Becky, the Italians might be betting that he's not a reformer.

He's also 76-years-old. ANDERSON: Yeah, he had a strong voice as he was speaking for the first time.

ARROYO: He did. He did.

ANDERSON: It's interesting, isn't it. I mean, people ask whether he is going to be a reformer. That is a question that will just be -- I guess it will come out in the wash.

ARROYO: We'll know soon.

ANDERSON: People walking past didn't necessarily know who he was. People within the church do. People say he came in second in the last conclave. We don't know that for sure.

ARROYO: Well, there was a diary leaked in 2005 which suggested he was the runner-up and they were neck and neck. It was a horse race and Cardinal Ratzinger became Benedict the XVI.

But, look, he is certainly well regarded, respected, a humble man, the first Jesuit to be a pope. Now, that tells us something. Though he fought and went against the trends of the Jesuit order, there is a liberal wing of the Jesuit community. He resisted that.

ANDERSON: thank you very much indeed. It is fascinating stuff. People walking past very slowly, very respectfully now. As they ran earlier on up the street with this real sense of excitement and anticipation. I think people it is fair to say are satisfied, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Becky, what an experience we're living through right now.

Here, the people are starting to stream out of St. Peter's Square. There are literally thousands coming past us, a very jubilant mood here. They have Pope Francis I, in so many different ways.

The big question will be, what kind of pope is he going forward?

Let's get back to Anderson Cooper. He's on the other side of St. Peter's Square from where Becky was. Anderson?

COOPER: Yeah, Chris. And there are still a lot of people in the square.

I want you to meet two people who are here from Mexico.

What is your name?


COOPER: And your name?


COOPER: You're from Mexico City?


COOPER: And where are you from?


COOPER: So, why did you want to be here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We thought it was an absolutely memorable moment in history.

We happened to be lucky enough to be in Rome for the announcement of the new pope and, as a youth and as a Catholic student and as a Mexican, I am overwhelmed with emotion at the fact that we have a new pope, someone that will represent that part of the nation.

COOPER: The first time the pope is not only from Argentina, but from Latin America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. That is something very exciting. I feel that Mexico has been a country that has suffered a lot and so has a lot of Latin America, but it is a people that have always put a lot of trust in God and it is absolutely wonderful to have him represent our part of the world this time around.

COOPER: And for you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I am so excited. It's a reason to be proud tonight because Latin America is a very important (inaudible) area and now it is going to be totally represented here. So, I'm so proud and I'm so happy today.

COOPER: The name pope Francis, what -- does it have a special meaning for you to hear the Francis?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. No, it's -- everything is special for me. It's everything.

COOPER: You -- how quickly did you come here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were in our hotel which is maybe two blocks away and you could hear it on the street. You could feel the commotion, the people talking outside the window. We heard honking on the streets, and we knew.

COOPER: You knew something.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We didn't have to turn on the TV. We knew. We ran over here and could hear people screaming, viva il papa, viva il papa, and we were here right in time to see him come out on the balcony, which was a magical moment.

COOPER: You came to Rome with your boyfriend for a very special reason.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did. We came here. My boyfriend is diagnosed with cancer back in August and he was barely able -- he had remission, completed his hundred-day period after the transplant, and this is kind of our pilgrimage to thank God for all the blessings we've had in our life and kind of put an end to that period in our life.

COOPER: And to celebrate he's doing well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's doing extremely well.

COOPER: And for you to be here together in this square.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a magical moment. We had no idea we'd be here at such an important moment in history.

We heard maybe two days before we were coming that the new pope, the conclave would be going on.

To be able here and see the pope come out on the balcony was a wonderful moment, very fulfilling.

COOPER: Were you able to get a good view of him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It's the same view. I was here just on holidays, so (inaudible) it just made my heart jump.

COOPER: It's one thing to see it on TV. It's an entirely different thing to be here.

Describe, if you can, the atmosphere, the mood of people here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's joyous. You feel the youth. That is something very beautiful about being here.

So many young people are on the street and you feel the excitement and you hear that the youth has lost its religion but you will see it here. You walk around here and you feel the passion.

You feel the love for the church. And it's truly wonderful to be in a city that has so much history.

COOPER: What do you hope this means for the future of this church?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think there's been a lot of problems with people falling off the wayside with the churches right now.

But I think having a pope that will represent 40 percent of the Catholic Church, the majority of the catholic churches in Latin America, will truly unite people. I hope he is able to speak to the youth.

COOPER: And to have a pope who speaks Spanish, can speak in your language?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It is going to be great. It is going to be great. We have a lot -- we are really looking forward to what is going to happen in the church. It's going to help a lot. A Latin American pope is going to help. It's going to reveal many things, and it's a new start.

COOPER: I am so glad you were both here for it. Thank you so much for talking to us. Thank you. Wish you the best.

Also want to bring our Jim Bitterman who is also elsewhere here in the square.

Jim, there are still an awful lot of people who do not want to leave who are staying here very orderly, very happy. They want to just try to soak up this moment as much as possible, Jim.

BITTERMAN: Absolutely the case, Chris. In fact, they're still streaming out at St. Peter's Square.

We're told that St. Peter's Square, when people are packed in, can hold about a hundred thousand people. I think it must have been close to that tonight.

All afternoon long, people were screaming in to see the results of the vote and when they saw the white smoke even more people streamed in. People were running down the street to get in here. Now, they're taking their time getting out.

We've seen some celebrating going on. A bunch of Brazilians went by a minute ago. People have somehow found bottles of wine here in Italy. I don't know how that ever happened, and already into drinking a little bit.

There is some dancing going on in the street so it's been quite a scene here. And of course the Latin Americans we talked to really are so enthused about this idea.

I think anybody -- actually, I talked to a young man from Cameroon who said the same thing, you know, it is very important, a very important message for the church to say they're going out beyond Europe, looking out into the areas of growth that you've been talking about where the church is really growing, sort of to pinpoint that growth.

And, as John said, you know, this is really a leaning toward the group of cardinals who were so much in favor of more evangelization, more sort of getting the church's message out there, getting more masses to the masses because the church has been suffering especially in Europe and Latin America with sort of people turning out for the masses, also suffering from a lack of priests and, of course, Latin America and as the developing world, the growth rate is best for priests.

COOPER: I'm -- Jim, thank you very much.

I'm joined by Phil Kelly (ph) and your entire family. Who do we have here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Conner Kelly (ph). COOPER: Conner (ph).

Hello, what is your name?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cameron Kelly (ph).

COOPER: Cameron (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Michelle Kelly (ph).

COOPER: You're all from Houston, Texas.

And who's this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Carson Kelly (ph).

COOPER: Hey, Carson.

So, what's it like being here? Why did you want to be here with your family?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is just fantastic. We started out with just wanting to take the kids to Italy for vacation, got here about a week and a half ago and fate has put us here at just the right time.

So, we've been coming here for the last day and a half looking at the smoke and a couple times black smoke which was exciting because we knew we'd keep coming back and just feel blessed that it happened while we're here.

We fly out on Friday and it's very exciting. The kids, it's late for them, but they're as excited and smiling as can be.

COOPER: Yeah, isn't it past your bed time?


COOPER: Yes? What is it like to be here?


COOPER: Yes? Exciting?


COOPER: There's a lot of crowds. Is everyone -- seems like everyone is very happy here.



For you, why was it so important to bring the kids?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it's such an historic moment, and we are Catholic, so it's even more special for us. I come from -- both of our families are Catholic, so I think this is one of those things that is a once in a lifetime event, so we even debated, should we bring the baby, should we not? It's a little cold and rainy.

And we are so glad we can look back and say, you were here when you were 19-months-old.

COOPER: You've all been braving the rain. It's more than just a little rain.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It makes it more memorable.

COOPER: Makes it more memorable.

What do you hope this means for your faith?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, look, I think it's exciting to have someone from that part of the world where there's certainly a big part of the growth from Latin America.

We were talking earlier, I am a bit biased. I was born in Boston and was rooting for O'Malley, but we said I hope it's from either North or South America.

COOPER: Well, I'm so glad you were here. Thank you for talking to us.

And there is obviously a lot of excitement here.

Let's go to Wolf in Washington. Wolf?