The Cardinal tells what he's looking for in the next pope
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, DC, arrived in Rome along with all the rest of the world’s cardinals in order to participate in a historic moment for the Universal Church. Though he will not be able to vote in the conclave given his age (82), he will participate in the General Congregations. He believes the conclave will last three or four days and hopes that a reform of the Roman Curia will be among the first tasks the new Pope will undertake. Finally, he draws a sketch of Joseph Ratzinger’s successor.
Your Eminence, what has been your experience thus far in this moment of “transition” for the Universal Church?
First of all, I would like to recall that Benedict XVI’s decision was an act of great courage, and also one of great humility: courage, for having done something that hadn’t happened in 600 years; and humility, because he felt that he could no longer address the changes that characterize the times we are living in, which need to be addressed by a younger man with more energy. Ratzinger wished to step aside in order to make room for someone with more energy, someone who will be able to carry on the work, which he began. We owe him our deepest gratitude for his wonderful ministry over these last eight years. Of course his decision saddens us; he was a spiritual father for us all, but we know that he will continue to pray for all mankind.
What characteristics will the new Pope need to embody?
There are many factors. Above all, he needs to me a holy man, because he has to call all of us to holiness. He has to be a man who understands the Curia, though not necessarily someone who works within it. But he certainly needs to be a person who sees what is good in the Curia and values it, and, on the other hand, who is able reorganize whatever is not going so well.
Do you have anyone in particular in mind?
It would be difficult to point to only one person. I have seven or eight papabili in mind. But I believe that he definitely needs to be a man of vast experience, who is able to communicate well, who knows how to speak to the people, who speaks different languages, and who has the trust of the cardinals. In short, a man who is respected and admired.
How long to you believe the Conclave will last?
I don’t believe it will last a particularly long time. My prediction is three or four days.
Many overseas media outlets call Cardinal Dolan the “American Pope.” What do you think?
I know Cardinal Dolan well. He’s a wonderful person and I believe he would be a great Pope… but I’m not sure that now is the time for an American.”