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Cardinal Dolan for pope? You ‘might be smoking marijuana’

February 28th, 2013
05:38 PM ET

PART 1: Cardinal Timothy Dolan

On the day Benedict XVI left the papacy, Christiane Amanpour sat down with U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan.


PART 2: Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Part 2 of Christiane Amanpour's conversation with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, on the day Benedict XVI stepped down.

By Mick Krever, CNN

Cardinal Timothy Dolan is on many Vatican-watchers' short-lists as a papal contender, but he isn’t having any of it.

“I said people who say that might be drinking too much grappa or smoking marijuana,” he coyly told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an in-depth interview on Thursday. “I'm flattered that people think that, but I wouldn't bet the house payment on it.”

Cardinal Dolan spoke with Amanpour on the day that Benedict XVI – now pope emeritus – lifted off from Vatican City in a helicopter and left the papacy forever.

To choose his replacement, 115 cardinals, Dolan among them, will soon enter into a conclave.

It is the first time that Cardinal Dolan will vote for a Holy Father; Pope Benedict XVI elevated him to the College of Cardinals just last year.

Thursday afternoon, that group of scarlet-gowned men bid their final respect to the outgoing pope.

“It was very touching,” Cardinal Dolan said of his 15-second encounter with the pontiff. “And I don't mind admitting that it was kind of somber; it was kind of sad. I love him.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

Papal ruby shoes custom made, but not by Prada

February 28th, 2013
03:29 PM ET

While covering Pope Benedict XVI's final hours in the papacy, Christiane Amanpour cleared up a common misconception about the pope's ruby slippers - all live on CNN air. Watch above.

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour

How do cardinals pick a pope? "You don’t pick your buddy"

February 27th, 2013
05:19 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Becoming the pope is not a popularity contest.

When 115 cardinals from around the world sit down to choose a new pope, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday, they are thinking about only one thing: what God wants.

“You have your ballot in your hand,” he said. “You’re going to put it in the urn, this ballot in which you have written a name down of one of the cardinals.”

Looming above the voting cardinal is Michelangelo's imposing fresco, “the Last Judgment.”

“Every time you do it,” Cardinal McCarrick said, “you feel that same thing. ‘Lord, am I doing the right thing? Have I picked the right man?’”

In other words, he told Amanpour, “You don’t pick your buddy.”

Cardinal McCarrick is the Archbishop Emeritus of Washington D.C. Though he attended Pope Benedict XVI’s packed final public address today, he will not be able to cast a vote for the next pope. He is, to put it politely, of a certain age – only cardinals under age 80 may vote.

Through those many decades in the Church, he has seen the ups and downs. As the Vatican prepares for a new leader, many Catholics around the world believe that the child-sex abuse scandal, among others, spell a reckoning for the Church as it has rarely seen before.

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

Iran nuclear negotiator: Talks taking 'realistic' turn

February 27th, 2013
12:31 PM ET

By Josh Levs, CNN

World powers did not push Iran to halt enrichment at its nuclear plants during secretive talks Wednesday, the country's chief negotiator said.

In an interview with CNN, Saeed Jalili said the six-nation bloc conducting the negotiations is taking more "realistic" steps, including "paying more attention to the rights of Iran."

The so-called P5+1 - the United States, France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia - did not release details of the meeting in Kazakhstan aimed at working toward a resolution of the international battle over Iran's nuclear activities. But negotiators acknowledged making some concessions.

Jalili, in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, also stayed mum about what was being offered. But he indicated that some previous requests may be off the table.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

American writer: “No matter what, I’m still Catholic”

February 26th, 2013
05:07 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Mary Elizabeth Williams thinks the Vatican is strict, dogmatic, and backward-looking. She is also a committed Catholic.

With so much scandal and conservatism on the key issues of today, it is not unreasonable to ask why progressive Catholics stay in the Church.

“I think to be questioning, and to call out hypocrisy, and to illuminate injustice when you see it is about as Christ-like as you can get,” Williams told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.


A country where "insane" is the best hope

February 26th, 2013
03:48 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The “elite tend to not see what they don’t want to see,” Italian journalist Lucia Annunziata told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

She was reacting to the deadlocked political landscape that Italy faces as results from its latest election were announced on Tuesday.

Italian parties never win outright majorities, Annunziata said, so as in most parliamentary systems must enter into a coalition.

What is astounding is just how great the impasse is that Italy seems to face.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

Former Catholic friar: homosexuality is “the ticking time bomb”

February 25th, 2013
06:16 PM ET


Church in crisis: The Vatican responds

Christiane Amanpour, reporting from Rome, speaks with Assistant Vatican Spokesperson Father Tom Rosica.


Homosexuality and the Catholic Church

Christiane Amanpour speaks with Mark Dowd, an openly gay former Dominican friar.


Veteran journalist on papacy in crisis

Christiane Amanpour, reporting from Rome, speaks veteran Vatican journalist Marco Politi about a papacy in crisis.

by Mick Krever, CNN

Homosexuality is “the ticking time bomb in the Catholic Church,” a former Dominican friar told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

Mark Dowd, who is himself openly gay, spoke to Amanpour as a blitz of new scandals hit the Catholic Church, just days before Pope Benedict XVI is set to step down from the papacy.

The Vatican announced on Monday that the archbishop of Scotland is resigning, a day after British newspapers published accusations of decades-long sexual misconduct with other priests. An American Cardinal is facing fresh allegations of covering up abuse. And Italian newspapers over the weekend published sordid accounts of homosexuality and blackmail within the Church hierarchy.

That last allegation, of a secret “cabal” of gay priests, has been dubbed the “Vati-leaks” scandal.

“When you have this culture of secrecy and guilt and repression,” Dowd said, “you have conditions which foster the potential for blackmail and for manipulation.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

Killing the messenger, when journalists become targets

February 22nd, 2013
05:41 PM ET

By Claire Calzonetti, CNN

For generations journalists have risked their lives and given their lives – covering wars, human disasters and uncovering dark and ugly crimes.

Over the past several years the targets of these stories have increasingly turned their guns on the truth-seekers: the journalists.

Exactly one year ago veteran foreign correspondent Marie Colvin – a legend in journalism – was killed by a shelling attack in Syria. French photographer Remi Ochlik was killed alongside her.

British photographer Paul Conroy, who survived that attack, says he is sure they were specifically targeted.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says 70 journalists were killed in 2012, a 49% increase from the previous year.

232 journalists are imprisoned around the world and 35 are missing.

A new campaign called "A Day Without News" is trying to raise awareness and bring penalties to those who target journalists.

One of the leading voices in that campaign belongs to New York Times photographer Lynsey Addario.

In the video above CNN’s Christiane Amanpour speaks with Addario about the campaign and discusses how she and three of her colleagues were abducted while covering the Libyan revolution and held for six terrifying days.

Filed under:  Journalism • Latest Episode

Gay Americans forced to choose between love and country

February 22nd, 2013
12:51 PM ET

By Mick Krever & Claire Calzonetti, CNN

Love or country – it’s a decision many gay Americans with foreign partners are forced to make.

It may seem counterintuitive; in the past few years, a wave of American states have legalized gay marriage.

But because of a 1996 federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal government does not recognize those unions.

The result is that a heterosexual American can sponsor his or her partner for U.S. visa, but a gay American cannot.

Rather than break the law or split up, many gay couples are leaving American shores.

That was precisely the situation that Brandon Perlberg found himself in when his British partner, Benn Storey, who had been in the U.S. legally on temporary visas, was told it was unlikely he would ever obtain a green card to stay.

The couple had lived in New York for seven years, but upended their lives and moved to the United Kingdom to stay together.

“We never considered separating,” Storey told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour from London on Thursday.

“We had always thought that this was going to be our backup plan,” his partner, Perlberg, added. “At the beginning of last year, it became certain that if we did not move now, we really faced the risk of being indefinitely separated. And that wasn't a risk we were willing to face.”

In New York, Perlberg had been a practicing attorney. But his expertise in New York and American law was not valued in London, and he struggled to find a job.

“That was one of the most difficult parts of this process for me,” he said. “I spent eleven months hemorrhaging financially, burning through savings and going on interviews.”

President Obama has made immigration overhaul a top priority for his second term. Part of his proposal is to recognize, for the first time ever, gay partnerships when evaluating visa applications.

Perlberg, the American, said he is conflicted about his feelings for the U.S.

“On the one hand,” he said, “I love my country and I've never felt more personally attached and involved in its future as I do right now, as there's a debate going on as to immigration and a debate going on as to same-sex marriage. At the same time, I cannot shake this feeling of resentment that I have, that our lives were taken away from us.”

Unlike many intra-national gay couples forced to choose between love and country, they had a fallback, because Storey happened to be from a country, the U.K., that allows gay citizens to bring in their foreign partners.

“We are very much the lucky ones,” Storey said. “There are people who have no option but to go back to their home country and separate from their partner.”

READ MORE: Why is Uganda attacking homosexuality?

Filed under:  Gay Rights • Latest Episode

Former Greek PM Papandreou: We expected more from Europe

February 21st, 2013
06:25 PM ET

It may surprise you, but the best-performing stock market in Europe in 2012 was Greece’s.

The Athens index rose 33%, outpacing even Germany’s DAX.

But the news is not symptomatic of Europe’s health as a whole, where the overall economy continues to contract.

And after so long underwater, the Greek market may just be making up for lost ground.

Greek officials now predict that the economy will start growing by October, as European support lends a measure of confidence to foreign and domestic investors.

So, is a Greek exit from the euro – a Grexit – finally off the table?

Judging by events unfolding there, not yet.

A nationwide strike on Wednesday shut down government services throughout the country. Roads and railways were bare as transportation came to a standstill.

Once again, the young took to the streets to do battle with police – some 60% of them remain without jobs.

Greece has the highest unemployment rate in Europe. The country owes more than it makes: the national debt is 161% of GDP.

The human factor is tragic: Suicides, and people losing their homes, unable to pay for food, or for heavily-taxed heating oil.

In the video above, former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou speaks to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about the early days of the country's economic crash and future of Greece in the eurozone.

Filed under:  Eurozone • Greece
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