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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

Catholic Church names Joseph Ratzinger to be the next pope.

Aired April 19, 2005 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: The Catholic Church rings in a new era with the election of a new pope. Where will Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger lead his flock as Benedict XVI? In the next 90 minutes, we'll profile the man, his mission, his conservative views and the challenges ahead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST "INSIDE POLITICS": Welcome to this special expanded edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington.

In a unique moment combining spirituality and suspense, the Roman Catholic Church introduced its new pontiff to the world today. Joseph Ratzinger of Germany was elected by his fellow cardinals on the second day of their conclave at the Vatican. He will lead more than a billion Catholics around the globe as Pope Benedict XVI, and leave his own imprint on a church guided for nearly three decades by his good friend John Paul II.

Right now, we are awaiting the first comments by U.S. President George W. Bush, the first comments he's made on the announcement of the new pope, and we will air those for you just as soon as we can pull them together.

But for right now, we want to go back to Vatican City and to CNN's Alessio Vinci. Alessio, tell us what reaction was, what was the scene, when the announcement came forward?

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, it was amazing. Three hours ago, three-and-a-half hours ago, when this smoke came out of chimney on top of the Sistine Chapel, it was really difficult for us to identify the true color of the smoke. At first we saw a gray, and then as it happened already this morning, it turned towards black and we were waiting for that smoke to turn towards black but the crowd didn't simply want to believe a pope had not been elected and they started chanting and cheering and waving flags from all around the world.

This was truly the election of -- the first international election of a pope. Back in 1978, when John Paul II and John Paul I were elected, the vast majority crowd here were Italians. This time around it was completely different. We saw flags from the United States, from Canada, from Brazil, from many places in Latin American, from Poland, of course. And it was immense feeling of liberation. I think the people here simply did not want to believe this was not the election of the pope.

And, indeed, it took us a good 10 minutes to confirm that a pope had been elected because we were waiting for that very important signal, that, indeed, besides the smoke, the bells of St. Peter's were going to be tolling. Without that confirmation, we simply could not confirm that a pope had been elected, but in the crowd already as they really felt it, they really went crazy immediately after they saw the smoke. They believed it was white. We, the reporters, of course, wanted a second confirmation, and when those bells began tolling, only 10 minute later.

I can tell you, they must have been the longest 10 minutes of my life because it was very, very difficult to identify what was really happening. The vote had come, the smoke had come a bit earlier than we expected, so we knew there had been only one vote and the reason why we're seeing the smoke, it meant really that the conclusion had been reached, but bells were not tolling and it was really, difficult to get that confirmation, and eventually, alongside with the crowd, everyone began cheering, and it was quite an amazing moment here three-and-a-half hours ago.

Now the crowds have began to leave. There are just a few thousand -- perhaps even less -- people left here in St. Peter's Square, today. They will come back on Sunday when the inauguration mass will take place here in St. Peter's Basilica in St. Peter's Square. Now, in the crowd was Barbara, who is half-Italian, half- American. You brought your camera here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

VINCI: Obviously this is a historic day for you and for the world, obviously. Tell me about it. How did you live it through and how do you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, this was my first time, so I didn't want to miss it. And it's an important time, I believe, because this pope has a really, you know, important job to do.

VINCI: What is it that you expect him to do right now? What were the things you think he should tackle right away? There are a lot of problems, of course, in the Catholic Church. Frail John Paul II there really couldn't tackle them right away, especially in the final months of his papacy. What would you expect this pope, now, should do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, what I expect -- really, I don't know what to expect, but not really sure. But to keep up what John Paul did, that's really, really hard. It's a really hard job to do. And I hope he would do a great job as John Paul did before.

VINCI: Are you disappointed the papacy did not go back to an Italian? John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. Were you expecting an Italian pope?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I don't think that's a -- it's not a problem. No.

VINCI: Not important?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it's not important at all. Just -- he can keep everything, you know, as it is. Or better.

VINCI: For you today, being here in St. Peter's Square, was it more spiritual or more participating in a historical day, historic day?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Both, both. It was really, I mean, it was just great. Feeling it all with the people and expecting -- to say the words, you know, the words, the pope is -- and, I mean, it was -- I just run from home. I was in the house and I just took my moped and burned down here and said, don't miss it.

VINCI: When you saw the smoke, you were at home, so obviously watching it on television. Did you understood (SIC) right away that the pope had been elected or you were waiting for that confirmation, for those bells to toll, because, obviously, the smoke was gray. It wasn't really white. So, what did you feel about that, in the moment?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know -- I just went down as anything. I have to be there.

VINCI: All right. Well, thank you very much...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

VINCI: ...Barbara, and good luck to you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

VINCI: And, Judy, let me just share with you, briefly, the front page of the "L'Osservatore Romano," which is the Vatican official newspaper here. Large picture of Cardinal Ratzinger. "Habemus papam," we have a pope, Benedict XVI. Back to you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: And that's what we'll be calling him, Pope Benedict XVI. Alessio, thank you very much. I know it's been a long day for you and we appreciate it.

Well, as we mentioned a minute ago, President Bush has not weighed in just yet on this. He's just returned to Washington after a road trip. Our Dana Bash is at the White House.

Dana, tell us -- Dana -- well, we're told we're just 10 or 12 seconds away. First of all, Dana, very quickly, where did the president say this?

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president just spoke moments ago, Judy, on the South Lawn, upon returning from Springfield, Illinois, where he was making a speech. We have the tape now. Let's listen.

GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Congratulations to Pope Benedict XVI. He's man of great wisdom and knowledge. He's a man who serves the Lord. We remember well his sermon at the pope's funeral in Rome, how his words touched our hearts and the hearts of millions. We join with our fellow citizens and millions around the world who pray for continued strength and wisdom, as His Holiness leads the Catholic Church. Thank you.

QUESTION: Have you met him before? Can he expect an invitation to the White house soon?

BASH: There you see the president and the first lady just moments ago returning back to the White House from Springfield, Illinois, where the president was giving a speech at the Lincoln Memorial at the new library there. You heard the president congratulating the new pope, of course, and mentioning that he remembers the sermon that he gave at Pope John Paul II's funeral. That is a time that the president said that he found incredibly moving, incredibly spiritual, a time that reaffirmed his own faith.

Now the president, Judy, we understand, found out that there was a new pope while he was in Springfield, just as he was about to give a speech at the Lincoln Library. He went out. He gave the speech. And then he came back out, and he was informed by his press secretary, Scott McClellan, who the new pope was. Of course, it was then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Now the president of course did meet with Pope John Paul II three times, all those times on his turf, so to speak -- twice at The Vatican, once at his Summer Palace. But the White House is unclear whether or not the president has actually met the new pope. They're saying here that he certainly met lots of cardinals but unclear if he met specifically with Joseph Ratzinger.

Back to you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: And Dana, we want to apologize to our audience. I think between the sirens and jets overhead, it was a little difficult to hear everything the president said. But we did hear him refer to having heard some of the sermon that Cardinal Ratzinger gave at the pope's funeral. All right, Dana, thank you very much.

BASH: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Well, some analysts had been skeptical that Cardinal Ratzinger could be elected pope given his staunch conservative views. But his long history with the church and his close relationship with his predecessor may have helped his standing.

Ratzinger was ordained in 1951. He was appointed a cardinal in 1977. As dean of the College of Cardinals, he called his colleagues to Rome after John Paul II's death.

CNN's Jim Bittermann has more on the man now known as Benedict XVI.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is a policeman's son who became The Vatican's enforcer. But Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is known best for his very public, very doctrinaire points of view. And as head of Congregation of the Faith, The Vatican institution which once ran the Inquisition, the prelate was in a powerful position to impose those views on his fellow churchmen.

He said, for example, that modernity has led to a blurring of sexual identity, causing some feminists to become adversaries of men. He called homosexuality "an intrinsic moral evil." And he argued that Muslim Turkey did not belong in Christian Europe.

Sometimes he even lobbied the pope into taking contentious positions. While John Paul spent most of his papacy trying to reach out to other religions, Cardinal Ratzinger issued a document saying that Catholicism was the only true religion and questioning the validity of other religions, even Christian ones. Although objections came even from some of his fellow cardinals, the pope did not restrain Ratzinger, in part because their friendship went back four decades, to the time the two were young priests at Vatican II meetings in Rome.

But a Ratzinger biographer believes there is another reason.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think basically that the pope felt that as long as he had Ratzinger in the Congregation for the Faith, then the church's faith was going to be safe.

BITTERMANN: Jim Bittermann, CNN, Vatican City.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: And in just a moment, we're going to speak with two analysts CNN has been talking to in the last days, Delia Gallagher, John Allen. They're both be joining us from Rome.

Meantime, here in the United States, are American Catholics celebrating the selection of their new spiritual leader? We'll have reaction from New York.

And we'll consider how the selection of a conservative pope will play into American politics.

Plus, we'll have more live reports and analysis from Rome on this historic day at The Vatican.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Two of our Vatican analysts join us now from Rome to talk more about the new pope and how he may lead the Catholic Church. Delia Gallagher and John Allen.

John Allen, to you first. This pope was -- Cardinal Ratzinger was selected after we think four or five ballots. Does that say anything to you?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: Yes, I think it says that there was an overwhelming consensus among many church watchers, and obviously among the cardinals themselves going into this conclave. Cardinal Ratzinger was a leading candidate and did not take them long, in the end, to settle on him as the next supreme pontiff, that is, chief leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

And therefore, I don't think this was a terrible earthquake. You know, there's an old saying around Rome that he who goes into the conclave a pope comes out a cardinal, meaning the frontrunners don't win. Well, obviously, in this case, that turned out not to be the case. And I think therefore, unlike many previous popes, unlike, say Karol Wojtyla, the cardinal of Krakow, or Albino Luciano, the patriarch of Venice, the two popes of 1978, they came into office as something of question marks. It wasn't really terribly clear what they stood for to much of the rest of the world.

Obviously, that is not going to be the case with Pope Benedict XVI. This is undoubtedly the most published, the most talked about, the most scrutinized, member of the College of Cardinals. He is that most rare of Vatican officials who has been a celebrity in his own time. Normally Vatican officials move in the shadows, but Cardinal Ratzinger has published books that are runaway bestsellers. He has given extensive media interviews around world. There is a long, long track record there.

And obviously, in the coming hours and days, we will spend a lot of time unpacking that track record to get some clues as to where Pope Benedict XVI might intend to lead the 1.1 billion-strong Roman Catholic Church.

WOODRUFF: Delia, if the new pope is not a question mark, what does his selection say about what these men who run the Catholic Church want the church to be?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN ANALYST: Well, that's why this choice is so interesting, because of course, it's the cardinals who have chosen him and it suggests a very strong mandate from the cardinals. Of course, we don't know what the votes were, but at least a majority, 77 of them, want, A, to continue the legacy of John Paul II, which Cardinal Ratzinger had a great deal to do with, and B, place their confidence in a man who, as John says, is somebody that we know very well. We know where he stands on all of the issues, and if you're a conservative, you probably love him. And if you're a liberal, you'll probably have to wait a bit to see how he plays out in the role of pope.

We know how he's been in the role of the defender of the faith on doctrinal issues, but in the role of pope, of course, he has many other considerations. And probably we will see in the coming years a man who in some ways has to change himself in the way that he addresses the world and the Catholic Church. He's used to doing it from a very doctrinal, intellectual level, which is really his forte. So now we will have to see a more pastoral side of Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Ratzinger, coming out in coming months.

WOODRUFF: John Allen, how different will he be from John Paul II? ALLEN: Well, I think the overwhelming things you will notice are the points of continuity. And I mean, as Delia rightly points out, Cardinal Ratzinger has, in some sense, been the chief intellectual architect of John Paul II's papacy for the last 24 years. And so if anyone is expecting significant doctrinal swings from the positions taken by John Paul II, they're going to be disappointed.

On the other hand, these are very different men. And those of us, such as Delia and myself, who have covered them over the years -- you know, beyond the obvious symphony between the two, we also notice subtle differences. John Paul II has over his -- before he became pope, was, for most of his career, a pastor -- that is, worked directly in pastoral settings. Now, he obviously was also an intellectual, but he had a great love for the outdoors, he had a remarkable connection with youth, loved to travel, and of course, continued that as pope; had a remarkable common touch. These are not things that one immediately associates with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. It would be interesting to see whether Pope Benedict XVI continues in the mold of some of the stylistic elements as John Paul II's papacy, whether he travels as much, whether he canonizes and beatifies as much, whether he stages as many sort of spectacles in St. Peter's Square. John Paul had a great flair for show business, so whether Pope Benedict will want to continue that remains to be seen.

WOODRUFF: And Delia, very quickly, age 78 -- that means he's a transitional pope?

GALLAGHER: Oh, I don't think so. I don't think there is anything transitional about Cardinal Ratzinger. Certainly one doesn't know how long the papacy will be, but I definitely think it was a mandate to continue Pope John Paul II's legacy.

WOODRUFF: All right, we are going to have to leave it there. Delia Gallagher, John Allen, we thank you both.

Now, a quick take on the new pope is that he does represent continuity. But does that mean American Catholics will be willing to follow his lead? We'll get reaction from American Catholics in New York.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The new pope who has given himself the name Benedict XVI has the reputation as a hard-line defender of Church doctrine. Will that help or hurt him as he reaches out to ordinary Catholics? Let's go now to CNN's Deborah Feyerwick in New York, where she's been talking to some of the faithful outside St. Patrick's Cathedral. Hello, Deborah.

DEBROAH FEYERWICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy.

Well, some Catholics here at St. Patrick's, really very disappointed at the choice of the new pope. They really think that he's too conservative. They were hoping for somebody a little bit younger, a little bit more liberal who would reach out to some of those American Catholics who don't feel a tie to the church any longer -- somebody who might reach out and really make an effort.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know if it's a big priority to win back the American Catholics, you know? And there's been enormous attrition in American Catholicism, partly because of the sex scandal with, you know, with the priests, and partly because it's not welcoming of people who choose -- who are of different persuasions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fact that they did come up with a person so quickly is an amazing thing, and it must stand him in very good stead, meaning, everybody obviously voted for him and wanted --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Agreed that he was the right person to lead the Catholics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I think it was maybe the wish of our prior pope that this man fill in next.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just have to keep the church united, and we only have one God and that's what we -- we should be -- he should know what to do.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK: The World Jewish Congress did praise the new pope and praised his work that he's done to build bridges with the Jewish community. Some here though still skeptical. They want make sure that kind of work continues. One man that we spoke to from Florida said he was willing to give Pope Benedict a chance as long as he fought to unite the church. Judy?

WOODRUFF: All right, Deborah Feyerick. She's in New York. Deborah, thank you very much.

Coming up next, a closer look at Pope Benedict XVI. We'll talk with two priests who have met Joseph Ratzinger.

Plus, the political effect of today's announcement from The Vatican. We will speak with our Bill Schneider.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The new pope calls himself a simple and humble worker on the vine of the Lord, but when Benedict XVI made his first appearance today as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church, he was treated in some ways like royalty, cheered on by tens of thousands of people gathered in Vatican Square. We continue our special coverage of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's selection as pope by going back to Vatican City and to CNN's Alessio Vinci.

Alessio, a moment ago, I asked you, when we spoke about the reaction there when the news that a pope had been selected -- what about when the news of the identity of who it was? What did you hear from the people? VINCI: There was a roar. There was even more applause and cheers in the crowd. I think that, you know, most of the people here were simply happy to see that there was a new pope.

I want you to understand that, on a day like this one, when a new pope is selected, I think the first instinct, especially for those that are here in St. Peter's Square who wanted to be here, was to welcome the new pope. We spoke to a number of people here, some of them from Latin America, some of them from Africa, some of them from Europe, from the United States, all of them with different opinions about Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

Unanimously, it does appear at least for tonight here in St. Peter's Square and to this day, the people really welcome him. As you can see from the pictures, it looked like it was a stadium crowd. There was cheering, there were flags from all around the world. If you go back to footage of the last conclave in 1978, there were actually two of them since the first John Paul II died only after 30 days. The main -- mainly the crowd was just Italian. This time around there are people literally from all around the world. We have seen flags from literally every corner of the world.

This is perhaps the legacy, of course, of John Paul II. He's traveled in so many countries, and this time around, his successor was welcomed by the people who John Paul had visited so much around the world. The incredible thing about this journey here in St. Peter's Square today, Judy, was the fact even before the bell tolled and Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, emerged from that balcony, we had about a 10 or 15 minute period during which we really didn't know whether the selection had been made because we saw some gray smoke coming out, puffing out from the chimney on top of the Sistine Chapel. The crowd immediately -- starts crying, "cris meni" (ph), white, white, it's white, it's white. We really couldn't confirm that.

Most importantly, we didn't hear the great bells of St. Peter tolling and we knew that John Paul II, to avoid any confusion, which actually happened back in 1978, had ordered that alongside with the white smoke, we should hear the bells toll. But that did not happen for several minutes. Perhaps -- I can't even recall, it must have been the longest 10 minutes of my life initially. Then at some point we heard the small bells tolling. That is signifying the time. It was shortly before 6:00 local time when the pope had been selected. So, then the crowd went out again into a loud cheer. We didn't know if that was the great bells of St. Peter.

Finally, after 15 minutes, that's when we really could confirm, once we saw the big campanonia (ph) as it is known here in Rome, the 20,000 pound bell on top of St. Peter's Basilica, on the lefthand side of the basilica, if you look at it, it began -- that began moving, and that is when we knew that the successor of John Paul II had been selected.

But incredible thing was it took us, the journalists, almost 15 minutes to confirm it, obviously, because we wanted a second confirmation, if you want. But the crowd in St. Peter's Square from the moment we saw the gray smoke, regardless of the fact the smoke earlier today in the morning of the earlier ballots was almost the same color. They felt it instantly, that a selection had been made. It is really amazing. I just couldn't explain it, Judy. I was really afraid, of course, to give the wrong information and I didn't go with it. But everybody around me here was looking at me, saying it's white, it's white, it's white. It is really an amazing moment. Incredible.

WOODRUFF: Oh, well, the scene -- just watching you tell the story, again, Alessio, and watching those pictures, it is just -- it leaves one speechless, and particularly your comment that the crowd instinctively knew the choice had been made, even as journalist were being careful, as journalists should be.

OK, Alessio Vinci, thank you very much. Reporting for us from The Vatican. Thank you.

Well, we want to talk now with two Catholic clergymen who know the new pope to some degree. Reverend David O'Connell is president of Catholic University here in Washington. He met Joseph Ratzinger during his years as a cardinal. And with us from Rome, Reverend Thomas Reese. He's editor-in-chief of the Catholic publication "America." He has interviewed Cardinal Ratzinger. To you first, Father O'Connell. Surprised?

REV. DAVID O'CONNELL, PRES., CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY: Real surprised. And I tell you, great elation. I am filled with such joy. My secretary came into the meeting that I was in and he said, we have a pope. We have a pope. And I didn't expect the news that it would be Cardinal Ratzinger as I mentioned in past days.

WOODRUFF: Why not?

O'CONNELL: I really felt that the cardinal himself wanted to return to his homeland. He made it clear to his family. He's made that clear, I thought, in his homily the other day. I refer to it as almost a farewell address. I felt that he was using the opportunity, not to campaign as some suggested, but rather to speak to the world, his final message from his role as the chief custodian of doctrine. What a surprise and what a joy.

WOODRUFF: Father Thomas Reese in Rome, I gather you're somewhat surprised, too. If that's the case, how did this selection get made?

REV. THOMAS REESE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "AMERICA": Well, I agree with everything that father said. I was surprised, also. I was surprised that they picked someone who is 78 years of age. I expected them to pick someone, you know, around 65. Sixty-five years of age was the average age of popes selected during the 20th century. So, I expected it to be someone in the middle like that.

Clearly, this is a vote for a transitional papacy, as well as a vote for continuity. You know, Cardinal Ratzinger was extremely close to John Paul II. They met on a weekly basis to talk about issues facing the church, to talk about documents and cyclicals that the pope was working on. He was his closest theological advisor. Clearly, when the cardinals picked Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, they voted for continuity and not for change.

WOODRUFF: Father O'Connell, transitional papacy, what does that mean? Temporary?

O'CONNELL: Well, I think, in the minds of some -- you know, they said of Pope John XXIII when they selected him, his would be a short- term and transitional papacy. I think the idea that's being put forward is that not a lot will be accomplished, that, you know, in a sense, just keeping the fires burning, and I don't think that's going to be the case here. I think this is a man of great holiness and great conviction. I think that was evident from the words of his homily the other day, you know, his talk really against moral relativism. And I think we're going to see some interesting things happening in the church under his guidance and shepherding.

WOODRUFF: Is that what you expect, Father Reese? And you interviewed him. Tell us about that. What is your sense of him?

REESE: Well, when I interviewed him I found him quite charming. He's very personable, you know, laughed a number of times during the interview, kind of self-deprecating in his humor. His English, of course, is absolutely perfect. He struggled once with an American idiom, but he's quite brilliant. He's a very brilliant theologian. His personality is like that of a German university professor, very clear in his statements, very clear in his articulation.

And I would agree with what father said, also. You know, his homily that he gave before the -- before the conclave began, I mean, I think that's really his platform. He sees a lot wrong with a lot with Western culture, Western civilization, and he's going to be a real challenge to the various things that he mentioned in that homily.

WOODRUFF: And Father O'Connell, what does that mean? Practically speaking, I mean, what might we expect?

O'CONNELL: Well, as Father Reese indicated there, and Father Reese certainly does know him well and know his background very well, you know, I can only judge from my experience of the man. I would even describe him as shy. When he came out on the balcony today, he seemed truly uncomfortable with the adulation of the crowd. But at the same time, when you look into his eyes, steel blue eyes, you see a man who has great depth, great profoundness, great holiness, and I think he's going to draw on that. But he's a very firm and decisive man. And I think what we're going to get from him is a man who speaks his mind and he speaks it with courage and clarity. But he's not arbitrary. He means what he says.

WOODRUFF: So, we expect if not change, what?, affirming of church doctrine, Father Reese?

REESE: Yes, I think what we will see is continuity. Just as John Paul II, I mean, clearly Cardinal Ratzinger is not going to ordain women next week. Clearly his positions on things like gay marriage are quite clear. His views on the importance of Jesus as our savior, his view of the church as an important route to salvation for people. I mean, he is, you know, he has had -- well, almost 50 years as a teacher, a professor, to think out very clearly his theology and his positions, and I wouldn't expect him to suddenly flip flop on that now that he is pope.

WOODRUFF: Very quickly, Father O'Connell. I'm reading a wire story out of Bogota, Colombia. Latin American Catholics disappointed. What does that say to you?

O'CONNELL: I think the media and many people built up their expectations that perhaps this time they would be looking to developing countries, Africa or Latin America, for a pope. And I think that the disappointment is certainly natural. But they have to realize that you're pope of the whole world, you're pope of the whole church, and he will love them as he loves everyone.

WOODRUFF: Father David O'Connell with Catholic University and Father -- Reverend Thomas Reese, editor-in-chief of the Catholic publication "America." Thank you both. It's very good to have you with us. Thank you.

Well in this capital city and others, world leaders are preparing to forge a relationship with the new pope. Up next, the Bush administration's take on the conservative cardinal now at the helm of the church. Might he help or hinder the president's agenda?

And we'll look back at the remarkable images at The Vatican today heralding the selection of a new pope. Finally, are the bloggers sending up smoke signals about Pope Benedict XVI? Find out when we go "Inside the Blogs."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Laura and I offer our congratulations to Pope Benedict XVI. He's man of great wisdom and knowledge. He's a man who serves the Lord. We remember well his sermon at the pope's funeral in Rome, how his words touched our hearts and the hearts of millions. We join with our fellow citizens and millions around the world who pray for continued strength and wisdom, as His Holiness leads the Catholic Church.

WOODRUFF: President Bush commenting on the selection of a new pope as the president returned to the White House from a trip today to Illinois.

Well, the new pope, Benedict XVI was one of Pope John Paul II's closest associates, but does that mean his papacy will be very similar to John Paul's? And if it is, is that what American Catholics want?

Joining us now with his take on all this, our senior political correspondent, Bill Schneider. Bill, first of all, what kind of pope do we believe American Catholics want?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Another John Paul II. Two weeks ago, we asked a sample of American Catholics whether they wanted the College of Cardinals to select a new pope who is more liberal or more conservative than John Paul II. A solid majority, 59 percent, wanted a new pope who was about the same as John Paul, and that majority held up among the roughly half of U.S. Catholics who attend church regularly and the half who don't. Only four percent of U.S. Catholics wanted the new pope to be more conservative. About a third said they wanted a more liberal pope.

WOODRUFF: So, do they want a more liberal church policy?

SCHNEIDER: Well, on church-related issues, yes. More than 60 percent of American Catholics believe the new pope should allow priests to marry. Nearly 60 percent favor allowing women to become priests. Even church-going American Catholics are split over those changes. More than 40 percent of Catholics who attend church regularly think the new pope should allow married priests and women priests.

WOODRUFF: And what about their position on the so-called social issues, Bill?

SCHNEIDER: Well, there the answers are a little bit more complicated and mixed. Should the new pope allow Catholics to use birth control? Absolutely, Catholics say, 78 percent. Even among church-going Catholics, more than two-thirds favor birth control.

Now how about making church doctrine on stem cell research less strict? Fifty-nine percent of U.S. Catholics favor that. Interestingly, Catholics are divided over whether the new pope should allow Catholics to divorce and remarry without getting an annulment. About half say yes, half say no. Divorce is an issue that clearly splits church-going and non-church-going Catholics. About 60 percent of regular church-goers do not want church doctrine on divorce to change, about 60 percent of non-church-going Catholics want the church to allow divorce.

But most U.S. Catholics don't want the church to become more liberal on abortion. Even Catholics who don't attend church regularly tend to oppose any change on abortion. Now, we're going to be interviewing American Catholics again tonight to gauge their reaction now that the new pope has been chosen, and we'll have those results tomorrow.

WOODRUFF: Bill, from listening to these analysts, it doesn't sound as if this new pope is inclined to make any liberalization on any of these issues, whether church or social.

SCHNEIDER: It doesn't sound like it. But again, we'll gauge the reaction tonight as they greet the election of the new pope. It doesn't sound like this is what they're looking for.

WOODRUFF: And what time will you have those results?

SCHNEIDER: They'll be out at close to 10:00 tonight.

WOODRUFF: OK, great. Bill, thank you very much.

Well, as you might expect, the new Pope Benedict XVI is attracting a lot of attention from the bloggers today. Let's check in now with CNN political producer Abbi Tatton. She is with Jacki Schechner, our blog reporter. Hi, Jacki.

JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN BLOG REPORTER: Hi, Judy. It's a good day for Abbi to come back and join us again, because we have big news. They are talking about the pope on the blogs. They're talking about it on the political blogs, the Catholic blogs. We even found a Jewish blog that was talking about the pope.

Well, we start with the usual suspects, and the first one is thepopeblog.blogspot.com. The latest news -- they've been commenting throughout the day and the latest is that this Sunday, April 24th, will be the mass to inaugurate the pope.

Another one we've been checking in on periodically over the last couple of weeks is Papa Vilay (ph) and they have been dedicated solely to the discussion of who the next successor would be. They have been blogging their emotions throughout the day over there, and now they're saying this is actually the end of the blog, which I suspect is what happens when you create a blog for a specific event.

Another one we like to check in on, with regard to pope news, is amywellborn.typepad.com (ph). That is Open Book. Amy being the top Catholic blog for 2005. And she talks about the choice of Ratzinger, saying "the weird thing about a pope not coming out of nowhere is that you are so familiar with him as something else that it's hard to think of him as pope." And she goes on to say, "that's another good fruit of taking a new name, I suppose."

ABBI TATTON, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: Some big fans of now former Cardinal Ratzinger amongst the Catholic bloggers out there. A good place to start is ratzingerfanclub.com. This was started about five years ago by Christoper Blosa (ph), a big fan of the cardinal, who felt there was some bad press out there, that he was just not getting a good time of it. He's a big fan and he started this blog. It's so popular today, you can't get on it. If you go there, "service temporarily unavailable." It's full of biographies, usually. So, we went across to his father's blog. This is another big fan who sees it in political terms. It smells like victory. He says, "After the 2004 election," that, "there was no more disappointed a constituency than Democrats, until now...progressive Catholics," he says. "The liberal cafeteria Catholics worst nightmare has come true. The grand inquisitor himself has come to the papal thrown." Go across here to Relaxed Catholic, talking about the fact that Ratzinger was some kind of frontrunner. What were the odds that were just out there?

SCHECHNER: Eleven to two yesterday.

TATTON: Eleven to two, very popular going in, but this old adage, "enter a pope and leave a cardinal" didn't work out this time. "Went in a pope, came out a pope," she says here, Kathy (ph). "Ratzinger's election will annoy all the right people," she goes on.

SCHECHNER: Someone annoyed, not-that.com, "not" dash "that", dot com. This is a gay man in Tennessee, I think he is, and he says, "Somehow the cardinals manage to find one of the few people who is actually to the right of J.P. II on most theological issues. I can't wait for more diatribes against women, contraception, homosexuality, and liberation theology.

And then, Abbi and I went looking for some Italian blogs, to get some feedback, and one that we didn't have to use the Google translator for, it says aleizaveta.it (ph), and it says, "Ratzinger" and then in giant letters, "No!"

TATTON: One quick update for you here.

Catholic Insider, this is Father Roderick Von Hogen who left his home in Netherlands on Friday, April 1, when Pope John Paul II's health -- he was in grave condition. He went to The Vatican. He's been chronicling the events there ever since, pod-casting these audio files that you can download and listen to. Father Roderick went out there today for the ballot. He's going to be updating his site in the next half hour or so. So, we'll be looking for that. Judy?

WOODRUFF: OK, Abbi and Jacki, thank you very much. So sounds like the Catholic faithful are not wasting any time weighing in on the selection. Thank you both.

Well, the Catholic faithful were gathered in Vatican City waiting for the College of Cardinals to act earlier today. When we return, another look at how their wait ended. The day's dramatic events leading to the first blessing offered by the man who will lead the Roman Catholic Church.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Thousands of the faithful crowded St. Peter's Square today watching the skies just above the Sistine Chapel. Filled with anticipation, they waited to see what the cardinals gathered inside would do. Here's another look at the day's dramatic events.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROWD CHANTING, CHEERING)

(SPEAKING IN ITALIAN)

CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER, SELECTED AS NEW POPE (via translator): Dear brothers and sisters after the Great John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker on the vine of the Lord. It consoles me, the fact that the Lord knows how to work and to act even with insufficient instruments. And above all, I trust in your prayers.

(CHEERING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: That was the scene at The Vatican just hours ago. When our special coverage of the selection of Pope Benedict XVI continues, the hosts of "CROSSFIRE," Paul Begala and Bob Novak, look at the impact the choice of a new pope will have on their church. But right now, we want to turn back to Rome to our Alessio Vinci who may be with one of the cardinals who selected the new pope. Alessio?

VINCI: That is correct, Judy. We have a guest of honor here at a CNN position in St. Peter's Square, The Vatican, and that is Cardinal Kasper Thank you very much for joining us here; I know it's been a very busy day for you.

So, first of all, we want to know what it was like inside the Sistine Chapel for the last day. Give us a little bit of sense, how this vote came about?

CARDINAL WALTER KASPER, PRES. COUNCIL FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY: Well, I cannot tell about the conclave, but it was a very moving event. And for me, it's the first conclave I participated, and a sense of high responsibility, not only for our own church but for all churches, for the whole of the world. And then, the first German cardinal after 800 centuries, it's also something -- Adrian VI the last German pope. He was a pope of reformers. And now, Cardinal Ratzinger was before my colleague as professor, and now is pope, makes also moving atmosphere among us. Now it's an atmosphere of joy.

VINCI: How well do you know Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI? You say you were a colleague of him. You obviously spent a lot of time with him. Tell us things we don't necessarily know about him. He's been described as a harsh conservative, as God's enforcer of the doctrine. What kind of a person is he really?

KASPER: Well, there are lot of prejudices about him, and most of these prejudices are unfair. And I think you should leave these prejudices now and give him -- at least a chance, for the first hundred years (ph), and not to always to tell about his prejudices -- I know him since the '60s when he was a professor at Munster. I was also a professor there, and we worked together. He can be a very charming person. He's a very bright person known everywhere, and I think he will be a pope, of conciliation and peace, is the, I think, the explanation he gave for his name, "peace and conciliation." And the first meetings I had with him, he told me, well, now we will work together, walk together, on the paths to unity of the churches.

And I think that's a good sign also for the ecumenical movement. He was formerly very engaged especially in the dialogue with the Orthodox churches and I think he will go on in this direction. I am happy to be able to work together with him.

VINCI: Now, on Sunday, I went to the church where you delivered your homily before going inside the Sistine Chapel. I remember you said two things in the homily. The first thing you said was we should not choose a clone of John Paul II. And the second one you said we should choose a good pastor. Do you think that your desires have been met today?

KASPER: Clearly he's not a clone of John Paul II. These are very different personalities. They are very friendly to each other and work very well together. But they are different, very different. I think he's a pastoral man. He will be a pastoral pope, to be a pastor, since the office is job of a pope. And I think he will do his best with the gifts he has and he has very rich gifts. VINCI: Now, I want to make sure that our audience knows the reason why I am not asking you whether you voted for him or not. Your vote is secret, and you're not allowed to share with me and with the audience. Just in case they wonder why I'm not asking you that.

Give us a little bit of a sense how -- this was a very quick consensus that you reached. In just a couple of votes. One vote yesterday, two votes this morning. So how quickly everything shifted in favor of Cardinal Ratzinger? Give us a little bit of sense about how quickly the consensus was reached?

Because many people, many observers have been following the conclave a long, long, long time have been saying that if the consensus wasn't Ratzinger perhaps that could have been reached this morning or if not, last night.

KASPER: I think there was time -- direction, a dynamic in this direction. There were various expectations outside the conclave in this direction before. This was -- the fact was real. Also within the conclave, too, people wanted an outstanding person and he is one without any doubt and they wanted a man who is firm in faith and church doctrine but also a man who wants explain faith to not only important to have to truth but to communicate truth. And he is very able to do this. And it can have a good impact in this direction in our very religiously indifferent modern world.

VINCI: And you have insisted so much throughout the homilies in recent months and in the interviews how the new pope should be a man of the people and how he should be able to communicate to the younger generation, especially. Do you think Cardinal Ratzinger now Pope Benedict XVI has the quality? We know he speaks many languages. We know there's a very important meeting coming up in Cologne, World Youth Day. First of all, do you think whether he will be going? Can you perhaps tell us that? Do you think he will be able to succeed in communicating to the young people the way John Paul II did?

KASPER: Not in the same way, he can't do it. He's a different person. But I have the impression that Cardinal Meisner, who is a host in this meeting was very happy and moved about this election. I think he is of the conviction of the opinion that he will very well communicate, also.

VINCI: One final question. He is considered a conservative in the church. You are considered a more liberal perhaps, a saftizen (ph). How do you think you two will work together now?

KASPER: We work together 'til now. We work together also in the future. Sometimes have you different aspects. But when he came to the center, faith itself, we were always of the same opinion, of the same direction and when he comes to the real issue of faith, there was never a difference. But among professionals it is a normal thing to maintain different positions and different aspects. But now he's pope and it's a different relation now.

VINCI: Many people say once you get the big job, people change. Do you expect that perhaps Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI will soften his stance a little bit? Will become more moderate? Perhaps listen more carefully to those who have more moderate opinions about certain doctrinal issues?

KASPER: Well, he's the pope and the pope has a ministry of unity. And I think this will be a stand of his pontificate, too -- he has to bring people together. To unify, to reconcile. He mentioned this duty already in the first very short speech he gave to us. Peace and reconciliation. I think this is very important.

VINCI: Reconciliation with whom? With other religions? The Muslims? The Eastern Rites? What is one of the priorities you think? What will be one of the priorities of this new pope? It's too early to speak about priorities but give us a sense a little bit about which direction we're taking here right now.

KASPER: I cannot say, because we must have a little bit of patience. He will explain it in his homily on Sunday. He will explain it in his first encyclical. But reconciliation is on many levels. It is in the church, it is among the churches. The other religions and the peace process within the world. And all this will be important for the new pope.

VINCI: Were you surprised by his homily during the mass foragende papi (ph) when they elected the pope last Sunday -- before going to the conclave? Were you surprised by his homily where he basically delivered a very strong campaign speech almost? Were you surprised by him sticking to his traditional conservative line?

KASPER: Well, I did not find it too conservative, this homily. I think it was very nice and a good homily. It was linked to biblical text and I did not say it is conservative, progressive. I do not like this shameatas (ph) because he's now the pope. The pope of all. He is the pope of all and we should not have this different boxes to put him in. I think he will be the pope of all people. And we must give him the chance to be.

VINCI: On that note, your eminence, I really thank you very much. I can tell you I was here in the square when he emerged from that window behind us, here. When the white smoke came on top of the Sistine Chapel. You unfortunately were not able to see it because you were inside.

KASPER: No it, was ...

VINCI: You had as well, so you were able to see the crowd. There you go, it was an amazing scene. I think, as you said, it will be, or at least it is today the pope of all Catholics. And I thank you very much for joining us here today.

KASPER: Thank you, too.

VINCI: All right. Judy, back to you now.

WOODRUFF: Now, Alessio that's fascinating. This is the first cardinal we have had a chance to speak with. Is that right, since we learned of the new pope? VINCI: That is correct. He just came out of the Sistine Chapel. What we do know is that the new pope, John -- Benedict XVI. Let me show you where John Paul II used to sleep. He's over there in the Apostolic Palace. The last window to your right as you can see. It is still shut. No lights. That is because the new pope is not going to take possession of that Apostolic Apartment until the coming days. We do know that Pope Benedict XVI will sleep in the Santa Marta residence with the rest of the popes.

It is tradition for the newly elected pope to spend an evening with his fellows cardinals, not just those who elected the new pope, but also those that are over 80 that did not participate in the conclave but have been here in Rome, of course, throughout this period ever since the death of John Paul II. They will all celebrate and have dinner together and eventually on Sunday we're expecting the inauguration mass. And I'm not clear whether Pope Benedict XVI will take possession of the Apostolic Palace before then or after that. Certainly all eyes and ears will be him on Sunday when he will deliver the very important homily during which we will know how much he will differ from -- his homily he delivered only the day before the -- on the day of the conclave began.

Back to you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: OK. Alessio Vinci. A very interesting interview with Cardinal Walter Kasper of Germany. Thank you very much, Alessio.

Well, joining us now from Capitol Hill we're taking a turn here. Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. He's a Republican. He's also a Catholic. Senator, is this new pope going to change anything about the way the American Catholic Church operates?

SEN. RICK SANTORUM, (R) PA: No, I don't think so. I think the cardinals were very clear when they chose Benedict XVI that they wanted to see a continuation of the way that John Paul II was governing the church. There's nobody who was closer to John Paul II. There was no one who was out there in front more publicly in writing and talking than Cardinal Ratzinger was. If you are a Catholic in America and you follow the church at all you know the name Cardinal Ratzinger. That's a very high profile person under the previous pope. I suspect he will continue along the theological line that John Paul II did.

WOODRUFF:: Senator, just moments ago our Bill Schneider, our political analyst here at CNN told us about some poll results among American Catholics and it's clear that by some large numbers they would like to see some changes in terms of allowing priests to marry, allowing women to be considered for the priesthood.

But it sounds as if none of those interests on the part of American Catholics will be rewarded. Is that your sense?

SANTORUM: Well, I think what you have to look at is that American Catholics represent about six percent of Catholics in the world. We're a very small part of the church. And obviously the biggest part and the fastest growing part is in South, Central, South America and Africa and even in Asia. So Europe and North America are an increasingly smaller part of the Catholic Church. And unfortunately more of a marginalized part of the church because they are tending to stray from the traditional beliefs of the church. So I think what you saw is an affirmation by the cardinals the church is not going to change even though maybe Europe and North America want it to. It is going to stay the way it has been for 2,000 years. At least according to Cardinal Ratzinger it will stay that way for many years to come.

WOODRUFF: Senator, you're here talking to us on the day the new pope is selected. How much does your Catholic faith play a role in what you do as a United States senator?

SANTORUM: Well, I think everybody comes to a position in public life or any work that you do based on your life experiences. And certainly part of -- a big part of people's life experiences is the faith tradition in which you were raised and the values you were taught as a result of that faith tradition.

So, I think you know, candidly I don't think it's intellectually honest to suggest you don't bring some of that to your worldview. It influences what you think is right. What you think is wrong. What you think the responsibility we have to others. Whether as a Catholic, whether it's the right to life or the right to serve the poor and to take care of those in need in our society. All of those things were taught to me as a little child. And obviously they informed me as to how I look at the world. And I think that's probably true for most people.

WOODRUFF: Quickly, Senator, one last question. What above all would you like to see this pope accomplish?

SANTORUM: Well, that's -- you're asking how do you follow a saint? How do you follow one of the greatest popes certainly of the century but of many centuries? I think what this humble man, and he certainly came across as a very humble man, will try to do is certainly follow in the footsteps and try to carry on that mission and do so in a way that I think will obviously be different than the charismatic leader that John Paul II was. He'll have a different approach. And who knows? Maybe that different approach is exactly what the church needs. We certainly hope so.

WOODRUFF: Senator Rick Santorum. Thank you very much. It is good to see you. We appreciate your joining us.

SANTORUM: Thank you. You bet.

WOODRUFF: And when our special coverage of the selection of Pope Benedict XVI continues, the hosts of CROSSFIRE, Paul Begala and Bob Novak look at the effect this choice of a new pope will have on their church.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Two people who have been known to have divergent views have been able to agree on their faith as members of the Catholic Church. For their views on the selection of Pope Benedict XVI and what it could mean for the church, the hosts of CROSSFIRE, Paul Begala and Bob Novak join us. All right, Bob, what do you think?

BOB NOVAK, CNN HOST: Well, everybody that I have talked to today is just euphoric and delighted because all my friends and people in the faith, they wanted Cardinal Ratzinger. Thought it wouldn't happen because he was so old. But the fact that he is 78 I think was a plus in his favor because I don't believe the cardinals wanted another long papacy. I think they wanted what they call a transitional papacy that won't last that long.

WOODRUFF: Why wouldn't they, Paul, want a long papacy?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN HOST: Well, you know, the Holy Father serves for life and it's been 27 years. The new Pope Benedict XVI, I'm going to have to get used to saying that, like everyone is, fully 20 years older than John Paul II when Karol Wojtyla was named the pope. That's an enormous difference. In fact, he turned 78 on Saturday. So this is quite a birthday week for Joseph Ratzinger.

WOODRUFF: What was your reaction?

BEGALA: Well, it's a fascinating choice. Very bold choice. I think the college knew what they wanted. Four ballots to get two thirds of that group. They clearly knew what they wanted. And he had a thankless job under John Paul which is running the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the successor office to the Inquisition. That is not an office for a uniter. That is an office for a divider. He has spoken with great strength and absolute clarity and in a way that's put off a whole lot of people in the church and outside of the church. The question is now as he steps into the papacy is, will he be a uniter rather than a divider? And that?s going to be a very difficult transition.

WOODRUFF: And let me come back to that point that you made, Bob. Why would the cardinals not want a longer lasting papacy?

NOVAK: Because I do believe that they want to continue the policies which are conservative policies of Pope John Paul II. But they don't want to get somebody in there who is going to continue it for another 40 years. I don't think they thought that was the proper way. This is just the perfect way to continue his policies but for a definite period. This was not a question, boy, who do we want? We want Cardinal Ratzinger. What does he stand for? I don't think it worked that way. They decided we want to continue the policies of John Paul II and who is best equipped to continue those policies? They decided it was Cardinal Ratzinger.

WOODRUFF: Paul, we have been talking about Catholics for obvious reasons, but what about people of other faiths, Protestants, Muslims and other faiths? What can they expect from this new pope?

BEGALA: I think that's going to be a very difficult thing for the new pope. John Paul II, one of his hallmarks, one of many, was his ability to reach out in the faith they call it, the ecumenical movement. And in fact in 1986 the Holy Father brought 200 religious leaders of very different faiths to Assisi and they all prayed together. Cardinal Ratzinger, even though he worked for the pope criticized that meeting. He said I don't think this is the proper forum. He didn't like the idea of the Holy Father praying as if he were an equal. He wrote a very -- Ratzinger, that is, wrote a very controversial directive as the prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith called Dominus Iesu, Jesus the Lord, in which he asserted the primacy of the Catholic Church in a way that seemed offensive to a lot of Protestants. He won't call Protestant churches sister churches. He won't call them churches at all. He calls them ecclesial communities.

NOVAK: But I think as Paul did mention, he was in charge of the successor office to the Inquisition. And was in a different role than he is as pope. I think on something like that, on the relationship with other Christian faiths, I think he should be given a chance to see which way he wants to go because he's wearing a totally different hat. A lot of people do act quite differently when they arrive in the papacy. It's not all that predictable. Pope John XXIII.

WOODRUFF: We only had a few in our lifetime depending how long we've been around.

NOVAK: I have had quite a few. This is about my sixth or seventh pope. Pope John XXIII. I remember a lot of things that was said of him. He was going to be very conservative. He was old when he came in. He wouldn't do anything. He wouldn't make any changes. He was probably the most radical pope in two or three centuries. So you can't really totally predict the things but I do believe that you are not going to find the things that Protestants want. You're not going to find an easier policy on homosexuality. You're not going to find women priests. A blessing of gay marriages. Those things wouldn't happen whoever they picked. And they certainly won't be, having picked Cardinal Ratzinger.

WOODRUFF: I want to get Paul's take on that and also talk about what ordinary American Catholics should expect from this new pope.

We are going to take a break and in a moment, a view on the selection of this pope from inside the church. We're going to be joined by Monsignor James Moroney from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He'll be joining Bob and Paul. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: We are joined now by Monsignor James Moroney. He's the executive director for the secretariat for the liturgy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and he joins Bob Novak and Paul Begala who are with us as well. Let me start with you Monsignor. You know Joseph Ratzinger. You were just telling us you have been around with him.

MSGR. JAMES MORONEY, U.S. CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS: Yes. I have been with many meetings with him. The first time that I ever met him, Judy, it was an incredible experience. It was actually quite at a distance in 1979 on New Year's Eve. And believe it or not in Munich they have a midnight mass on New Year?s Eve. It was packed to the rafters in the Munich Cathedral. He preached for 45 minutes in German. Now my German isn't very good. What I could tell was that young people and old people were sitting there listening and to him talk about the Gospel of Life before John Paul II had even become pope. They were enraptured by his gentle pastoral presence.

WOODRUFF: That was 26 years ago. And as Bob Novak and Paul have just been discussing, the fact that the cardinals have chosen someone at the age of 78, does that say that they are looking at a transitional papacy?

MORONEY: Yes, but they were looking for a transitional papacy under John XXIII too. And they got the Second Vatican Council. I think one is never sure what the Holy Spirit truly has in mind for the church. This Holy Father took the motto of co-worker of the truth when he became pope -- not when he became pope when he first became bishop. It comes from one of the letters of John in the New Testament. What he's saying by that is he has an unfailing dedication to the truth. But at the same time he sees himself as the co-worker of Jesus Christ. He's the little guy in this operation. That God should shine forth through him is the most important thing in his life.

WOODRUFF: I want to bring both Bob and Paul in and Paul, I was going to ask you before we went to break. Ordinary American Catholics who are out there wondering is this going to make a difference to me in the way I practice my faith? What is your sense of that? And do you have a question for ...

BEGALA: I think it could very well make a difference. In fact, I would like to ask, Monsignor, since he knows the cardinal and has dealt with him, when John XXIII convoked the Second Vatican Council, one of the things he said the way to cure the ills of the church and evils of the world is with the medicine of mercy not the medicine of severity. There are a lot of people that don't know Cardinal Ratzinger and I'm one of them who see the written record and the medicine of severity.

MORONEY: Sure. Well, I think it's interesting to remember that Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in his books "Milestones." the least comfortable ministry he exercised in his whole life has been the one to be prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. So to a very great degree he was limited by what he could do in the position. Those who have known him, I was talking to somebody just this afternoon, who was telling me that over and over again this is a man of great humility, a really great pastor.

He's the kind of guy I can remember over and over again we would be at a meeting where he would walk around and shake hands not with just the big important people but with every single person in the room and he'd stop and listen, with gentleness and kindness. He has a tremendous shepherd's heart that maybe hasn't been able to shine forth as much in his CDF days.

WOODRUFF: Bob, question?

NOVAK: Monsignor, do you agree with me, and I just -- there wasn't really a question of whether the orthodoxy of Pope John II (sic) was going to be continued. It is going to be continued. And they wanted somebody to continue it. Do you agree with that?

MORONEY: Absolutely. I think when only three of the cardinals going into the conclave were not appointed by the present -- I'm sorry, the present Holy Father. I said it. Not appointed by John Paul II, then clearly it's his agenda and his concentration on doctrinal orthodoxy that will be continued by Pope Benedict XVI.

NOVAK: I find a lot of Catholics that I talk to -- who don't like the orthodoxy, are Catholics who really have in most practical ways left the church. I'm not speaking about my partner who is a faithful Catholic and mass-goer but there are -- isn't that true, some of the criticism ?

MORONEY: See, I've found the first thing I disagree with you on. I think that it's -- often times in American politics we have a tendency to cast people as being good guys and bad guys kind of thing -- of bifurcating the situation. But in the church you can't apply the same kind of political matrix even on a show like INSIDE POLITICS to matters of faith that we're looking for here is a question of depth, of commitment to coming to know the mystery of Jesus Christ and finding ways in which all people can do that in an authentic way.

WOODRUFF: Monsignor, I want to ask you a question about -- we talked about his age. How is his health? How is the new pope's health? Is he going to be able to keep up the sort of travel schedule that we saw John Paul II?

MORONEY: Well, I'm not a doctor. Certainly he's a 78-year-old man. And we have heard that he's had some difficulties in traveling. The health has impeded him from being able to fly too much and so forth. However now he's Holy Father. And in this day and age it's possible to be able to provide all kinds of supplementary support to people, to assist with those sorts of things. I think there will be a different kind of papacy than we had seen 26 years ago when Karol Wojtyla first became John Paul II. But at the same time it will have no less energy behind it on a spiritual realm.

BEGALA: This question that I raised with Judy before, about ecumenism, about the sense that many non-Catholics have. Particularly Protestants that Cardinal Ratzinger ordered people to stop calling Protestant denominations sister churches. In fact, he doesn't use the phrase church himself when he talks about Protestants. I certainly think from an American perspective, where we have this traditional plurality, that is going to be very offensive to some American Protestant.

MORONEY: I think, though, Paul, that wasn't so much of a change. In fact, if one were to look at Vatican documents prior to denominisations you would see the same distinction was made between ecclesial communions and sister churches. There's a question of an evolution, a gradual evolution of terminology. And just because we're concentrating more and more on precision, doesn't necessarily mean we're abandoning an earlier goal and earlier pope (ph).

NOVAK: Monsignor, there was a ...

WOODRUFF: We're going to have to leave it there. My apologies. I'm just getting a signal that we need to wrap things up, but I want to once again thank Monsignor James Moroney. Thank you very much for being with us. Robert Novak, we thank you.

NOVAK: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Paul Begala, we thank you both, because this is "CROSSFIRE's" time slot, and we want you with us during this half hour.

One final bit of news that we've just learned, and that is the vote in the United States Senate to confirm John Bolton to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations will be delayed. We're just getting this word from the Capitol. We're trying to get more information. There will be more. You're seeing live pictures now from the Senate. That's Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Richard Lugar. You're going to get more on this story from Wolf Blitzer in the hour coming up.

Meanwhile that's all for this expanded edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. Thank you for joining us. Our coverage of naming of the new pope continues with Wolf.

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