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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

PART 2: Cardinal Timothy Dolan

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.”

It was especially flattering, Cardinal Dolan told Amanpour, that the pope remembered him, and his trip to New York.

“I started to introduce myself and he said, ‘Oh, I know who you are,’” Cardinal Dolan recounted. “I like that, when the boss knows your name.”

In choosing a new boss, Cardinal Dolan admitted he was “a rookie,” but said he would be looking for one characteristic above all.

“I mean it when you say you look for a man who reminds you of Jesus,” he said. “When we see [the pope], we're immediately elevated to the things beyond, the eternal truth and to the man who described himself as the truth, Jesus Christ.”

That is the “supernatural” characteristic, he said, but like any voter in any election, there are some “natural” characteristics he is looking for in his next boss.

Any cardinal who wishes to be pope, Cardinal Dolan said, must be a good pastor, be well-versed in Catholic tradition, be aware of the “diverse needs” of Catholics around the world, and have good managerial skills.

Being a polyglot would not hurt, either.

“You need somebody who can get by in at least English, Italian and preferably some other languages, too,” he said.

Cardinal Dolan did not hold out much hope for progressive Catholics who hope to see vast change in the Church.

“For a pope, the mission statement is to conserve, in the best sense of the word,” Cardinal Dolan said. “That doesn't mean that he might not change the way it's presented. But to tamper with the immutable teachings of the church, he wouldn't see that as his role.”

So, for example, Cardinal Dolan did not anticipate a future pope who would allow priests to marry.

“I can't get my haircut without my barber asking me about married priests,” he said, “but I don't think it's going to happen.”

Whichever cardinal is chosen by his colleagues to become pope will inherit a Church with serious problems.

“We've had turmoil in the church since the beginning,” Cardinal Dolan said.

What is important, he said, is that people understand that abuse is not the result of Church teaching, but rather of a failure to follow that teaching.

He admitted that the Church has not always been a model citizen in dealing with the crisis, and that what happened in the past has “constantly got to be before our eyes.”

But “there are certain groups that are never going to be happy” with the Vatican’s response, he said.

“We could go back decades and decades and decades of this nauseating abuse,” Cardinal Dolan said. “Or we can say ‘mea culpa’ for that, we have learned from it, and now thanks be to God there is a rigor and a renewal and a responsibility in the Church that is laudable and exemplary.”

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

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. BNorth


    February 28, 2013 at 11:20 pm | Reply
  2. June Van Buskirk

    I have a question: Where are the Cardinals who have not crossed that line? You know who you are and who isn't. We need you to stand up and be our voice. We need to know that it's not 100 % of you involved with the abuse. We need to know how many are NOT involved. Now is the time for you to lead us into a period of healing through YOUR leadership. Now is the time!

    March 1, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Reply
    • SeekingTruth

      If you are covering this stuff up you are partaking of same.

      March 8, 2013 at 2:35 am | Reply
  3. Judy Sicora

    Please post the FULL interview, it was cut off.

    March 1, 2013 at 11:41 pm | Reply
  4. jolly

    How many abusive priests did he give sanctuary? Better still did he do any himself?These are legitimate questions.

    March 2, 2013 at 1:17 am | Reply
    • SeekingTruth

      There needs to be true repentance, confessing of + renouncing of sins. Unfortunately criminals, not just RC but in other christian churches, hide within the church,wolves in sheeps clothing. I feel RCs need to truely repent, just acknowledging it doesn't bring about change, a contrite repentant heart does within each church member. Definitely a revival+ personal conviction is needed there. Healing needs to take place on a lg scale, denial will not bring this forward.

      March 8, 2013 at 2:32 am | Reply
  5. Anam Patrick

    We should be practical and face the realities of life.pretence is the worst enemy of long as we still hide the realities of life we shall keep on rotating around

    March 3, 2013 at 2:26 am | Reply
  6. Yes I am

    OMG I just smoked marijuana right before reading this! Dolan totally should be made Pope, it's clear he has a great insight and wisdom!

    March 3, 2013 at 4:45 am | Reply
  7. alasda asdam

    wow! thanks for that tremendous short article. I really cherished it towards core. Hope you retain putting up these types of astonishing articles or blog posts alasda asdam

    March 3, 2013 at 8:25 am | Reply
  8. Geo

    Cardnul Dolan?
    Gooby, plz.

    March 3, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Reply
  9. M.A.P. (Mothers against poo)

    The Catholic Church is practically burning. And it's keeping me warm! Good riddance!

    March 4, 2013 at 6:23 am | Reply
  10. earl

    May Ms. Christiane Amanpour make a report about this POWERFUL Bible Exposition that will TRULY destroy Christianity

    The Bible exposition in the said link by Teacher Eraño Martin Evangelista will reveal the real Jesus that was unknown to us for the past two thousand years. It reveals the truth in the Bible, as based on the words of God through His prophets long ago that God punished Jesus with the floggings of men for his wrongdoing and not for our sins. This would therefore show that the apostles of Jesus had deceived humanity, since they claimed that God sent Jesus to die for the sins of mankind.

    To those who may read the link:

    It is suggested that the readers USE THEIR GOD-GIVEN WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING in reading ALL that was revealed through the Bible in the said link, for it will lead humanity towards a world free of the deception of the religions, especially Christianity.

    Thank you.

    March 5, 2013 at 7:08 am | Reply
  11. KEVIN

    Dolan has the exact same personality and character as the priests I grew up with (super funny, sarcastic, self-depricating and insightful). He is right that the Catholic church in America NOW has a no tollerance and super increased supervision of the priests. Where I grew up, for a priest to violate ANY personal to any extent would stand out like a Rabbi in a Convent.

    March 6, 2013 at 12:28 am | Reply
  12. abe

    i dnt understand this act of catholic election of popes through voting..y must a pope be votd for.

    March 9, 2013 at 5:39 am | Reply
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