updated 4/22/2005 2:32:11 PM ET 2005-04-22T18:32:11

Guest: Doris Donnelly, Christopher West, Pia de Solenni, Joseph Fessio, Ray Flynn, Jim Martin

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  A puff of white smoke, a ringing bell, and the joyous news.  We have a new pope.  Tonight, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, John Paul II‘s right-hand man and papal enforcer, is the 265th pope and the first from Germany in 1,000 years. 

As millions of faithful celebrate, hard questions are being asked about this new pope, Benedict XVI.  Is he too old?  Is he too rigid?  Is he too conservative?  Tonight, the church‘s future in the hands of a controversial pope. 

We will discuss it with our all-star panel and talk to those who know this pope well on a special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, “Benedict XVI:

The Election of a Pope.”

You‘re looking live at the Vatican, where it‘s just after 4:00 a.m.  Wednesday morning and where tonight a priest from Germany spends his first night as Pope Benedict XVI.  Welcome to a special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, “The Election of a Pope.”

It all unfolded on live TV, with millions watching as the conclave of cardinals elected Joseph Ratzinger as the 265th pope. 

David Shuster was there.

David, it seemed like an amazing scene watching it over here in the United States.  But it had to have paled in comparison to being there live in St. Peter‘s Square.  Tell us about it. 

DAVID SHUSTER, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, Joe, it was incredibly dramatic to see it unfold.  It began at about 5:45 Rome time, when, inside the Sistine Chapel, with the simple words, accepto (ph), I accept, there you had Joseph Ratzinger accepting election as supreme pontiff. 

And, at that point, the smoke started to filter out.  And this, of course, happening as the pope became essentially the political, religious, and bureaucratic leader of the Catholic Church. 


SHUSTER (voice-over):  The first sign came from the chimney in the Sistine Chapel.  The puffs looked white but they were the same consistency as the smoke earlier in the day that eventually turned black.  Still, the timing from the cardinal suggested there had been just one afternoon ballot, not two.  Soon, people were streaming into St.  Peter‘s Square by the thousands, cheering, singing and praying.

For 15 minutes, though, there was no confirmation.  Bells started ringing, but those bells marked the top of the hour.  Then, five minutes later, with the drama, the crowds and the anticipation building...


SHUSTER:  ... following longtime traditions, the doors to the main balcony overlooking St.  Peter‘s Square were opened and a senior cardinal stepped forward to make the announcement.



SHUSTER:  We have a pope, he said, and his name...


SHUSTER:  Joseph Ratzinger then emerged, he will now be known as Pope Benedict XVI. Ratzinger, aged 78, is the oldest cardinal to become pope in 275 years.  He is the first German pope in nearly 1,000 years. 

In the end, it took only two days and four ballots for Joseph Ratzinger to be chosen as the pope.


SHUSTER:  Following tradition, Pope Benedict XVI had dinner earlier

tonight with the cardinals who elected him, and he will conduct a mass

tomorrow.  His installation mass is on Sunday.  But, Joe, for the literally

tens of thousands of people who are here in St. Peter‘s Square tonight,

regardless of what they may think of this new pope, certainly all of them

had to think it was something incredible to witness history in the making -

·         Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  David, I wanted to ask you, obviously, here in the United States, a lot of commentators, a lot of church observers very surprised that so conservative a pope would have been selected to follow John Paul II.  What were they telling you there in the square?  What were all the people that you talked to throughout the day and after he had been selected, what was their take on it? 

SHUSTER:  No big surprise, in part because everybody here, Joe, seemed to have a realistic view of the College of Cardinals being a very conservative body, hand-selected by John Paul II.

And when you talk to people who are familiar with the Curia, the bureaucracy here at the Vatican, a lot them suggested that these cardinals don‘t really know one another very well.  And the one person that they did seem to get to know, both with John Paul II‘s funeral and over the last couple of weeks was the dean of the College of Cardinals, Joseph Ratzinger. 

And when you combine that with the homily that he delivered at yesterday‘s mass, which was seen as very powerful, whether you liked him or not, that may have had the impact of simply focusing people on, well, let‘s just go with the person that we know or that think we know, rather than some mystery figure from some far-flung part of the planet. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, David Shuster, live in Vatican City, thanks so much for that report.  It had to be so exciting to be over there. 

Now, Joseph Ratzinger was born in 1926 in a small town on the border of Germany and Austria.  When he was a teenager, he was forced to join the Hitler Youth.  Later, Cardinal Ratzinger was known as the glove on John Paul‘s right hand.  He was a hard-line cleric.  He was the keeper of the doctrine, and now he‘s Pope Benedict XVI. 

And he addressed the faithful.  Take a listen. 


POPE BENEDICT XVI (through translator):  The cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker, in the vineyard of the lord. 

The translation is that God can work and act with—in sufficient tools and, above all, I trust in your prayers. 


SCARBOROUGH:  A remarkable scene, but this pope is already dealing with not-so-glowing press clippings.  Here‘s cover of “The British Sun” for Wednesday, obviously sparing absolutely nothing, and decided to take off the gloves very early. 

Now, in choosing the cardinal, the College of Cardinals picked a man who was extremely close to John Paul II, and he is likely to continue the church‘s conservative course. 

With me now are two men who knew Pope Benedict XVI before he became pope.  We have Father Joseph Fessio of Ave Maria University and also former Vatican Ambassador Ray Flynn. 

Father, I am going to start with you. 

We have heard so much about the pope, before he became pope.  And most of it in the Western press has been negative, that he was overly conservative, that he was the enforcer of Pope John Paul II, that he was—and I heard this time and again from critics—a kneecapper.  Tell us about the Joseph Ratzinger that you have known throughout your life. 

FATHER JOSEPH FESSIO, AVE MARIA UNIVERSITY:  You know, I have known him for 33 years.  I have been in meetings with him, in class with him, in organizational meetings with him.  He is gentle.  He is a great listener, very kind, has a wonderful sense of humor. 

I have never heard him raise his voice.  I have never heard him get angry.  He is a tremendous listener.  He is totally different from the picture you see.  When he is called conservative, that‘s a bit of a misnomer, because he is a Catholic, and Catholics believe that God has given us a revelation of truth and of goodness and of beauty that we must preserve and pass on.

And so, every pope and every Catholic and every bishop has the duty to take that deposit of faith and to pass it on and proclaim it and live it.  So, of course, the Catholic Church is conservative in that sense.  We preserve the beautiful riches of revelation, just like John Paul II. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Father, so many American commentators were, again, surprised by this selection.  And despite the fact you knew him before he became pope, were you surprised? 

FESSIO:  Only in this.  A pope is always a surprise, but I was surprised that someone who was expected to become pope actually became pope. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It doesn‘t usually happen, does it? 

Ray Flynn...

FESSIO:  It doesn‘t usually happen. 


Ray Flynn, again, American commentators very surprised by this selection.  They thought the church would find somebody more progressive, more moderate, more suited, they thought, to the demands of the 21st century.  What is your take on the selection of this pope? 

RAY FLYNN, FORMER MAYOR OF BOSTON:  I think Father Fessio is absolutely right. 

You know, we have to understand that the Catholic Church, which is following the teachings of Jesus Christ, going back 2,000 years, is not some political club that takes its lessons from editorials in “The New York Times” or “The Washington Post.”  The Catholic Church is rooted in truth and tradition.  And, really, you almost could say that the College of Cardinals voted for Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger because of the strong support that the world community showed to John Paul II.

And I think, as a result of that, watching this funeral here just last week, where people were traveling all day long, all night long, coming to Rome, then getting off a bus and saying, OK, where is the line, I mean, just to wait for 12, 14, 16 hours, I never saw anything like it in my life. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But Mr. Ambassador, though...

FLYNN:  This went on for days and days, eight million people. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Mr. Ambassador, though, you are a politician also.  And, understand, obviously, I am not saying this is a political position, but at the same time, you have conservatives with charisma, like Ronald Reagan, and then you have conservatives without charisma, some would say myself.  And that presents some very real challenges to a pope that has got to reach out to over a billion of his members, with a declining membership in America, a declining membership in Europe. 

Doesn‘t this present some concerns to you and other people that this pope may not be able to follow in the footsteps of Pope John Paul II? 

FLYNN:  Well, I think...

FESSIO:  Not at all. 


FLYNN:  Well, I think every person who assumes this position, he becomes the person of—don‘t forget, Joe, this man was selected by these cardinals almost unanimously in one day.  And beside that, as Catholics, we have to believe that the Holy Spirit had a profound impact here on this selection. 

This isn‘t just a political selection.  We believe that this was divinely inspired. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Father Fessio, we have already seen a tabloid that has talked about the pope‘s past.  When he was in Germany, he was a member of the Hitler Youth.  Talk about that for a minute, and put that into context for us as you understand it. 

FESSIO:  Sure. 

He was a young boy in high school.  It was required of all Germans.  He was in it.  He tried to get out of it.  When he went in the seminary, he was able to avoid it.  And then they conscripted him for an aircraft battery towards the end of World War II.  He deserted.  He had no sympathy with the Germans, with national socialism. 

He—one reason he stands up for the truth is that he realizes, if you take God out of our lives, you end up with totalitarian states, Nazism fascism, or communism, and that‘s why he has always been so committed, willing to die for the truths of Jesus Christ. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thank you so much, Father.  We greatly appreciate it. 

Thank you, Ambassador Flynn.  As always, we thank you for your insights. 

Now, we have got a lot to talk about, including the biggest challenges facing the new pope.  We are going to get to that with our all-star panel coming up, when we come back on this special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, “The Election of the Pope.”


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Energy.  The whole crowd was just—it was—unspeakable.  It was just so wild to see up in the balcony—it‘s the new pope.  It‘s historical. 



SCARBOROUGH:  Catholics have a new pope.  What are the biggest challenges facing Pope Benedict XVI, and will he remain controversial?  That‘s coming up next.



SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back to our show.  You are looking at a live shot of Vatican City, again, 4:16 in the morning there.  A remarkable day preceded what is about to be a new dawn over in Rome. 

And I‘m back now joined by an all-star panel.  We have MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan,  Got MSNBC contributor Carl Bernstein.  We also have the author of “His Holiness,” Father Jim Martin, author of “In Good Company,” and Pia de Solenni from the Family Research Council. 

Pat Buchanan, let me begin with you.  What do you think of this election?  A controversial selection? 

PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Oh, not at all.  I think it—well, it‘s going to be controversial with some people, but I think inside the church, I think it was inspired. 

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger is as close as any man was to the Holy Father.  They were both at Vatican II and they were considered progressives then.  And as this world has moved the way it‘s moved, he has stood up.  He has been the most outspoken defender of orthodoxy in the Catholic Church.  I think it is an inspired decision on the part of the cardinals.  They are saying that, we want to follow basically what John Paul II did for the Roman Catholic Church.  We would like it continued, and this is the cardinal that can do it. 

I think it was a phenomenal choice. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Carl Bernstein, inspired, Pat Buchanan says, a phenomenal choice.  This is the cardinal that can do it.  What do you say? 

CARL BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  On its face, it‘s a polarizing choice, both within the church and outside the church. 


BERNSTEIN:  I would—because of his orthodoxy and because there are many in the church and outside the church that see a need for a rapprochement with those who feel excluded by the Catholic Church and its present teachings in terms of sexuality, gender, gays particularly.

But I think it would be a big mistake to look at this in conventional terms of liberal and conservative.  Ratzinger is going to continue the policies committed to social justice of his predecessor.  My guess is that, knowing that he is perceived as polarizing, that he will try to build some bridges to the American church, will try to build some bridges to women, try to build some bridges to the Third World. 

However, he is, as Pat Buchanan, who might become an archbishop in this next papacy...

SCARBOROUGH:  He is.  Pat is next. 

BUCHANAN:  Moving on up. 



BERNSTEIN:  You‘re ready for a hat down there, Buchanan.  You would be an archbishop of Loughborough Road.


BUCHANAN:  I‘m headed for Rome. 

BERNSTEIN:  That‘s it. 

But this pope, in his homily, the other day to the cardinals, he basically said, if I am going to be your pope, you have to know that I am going to draw a line about the perennial theology, and we are not going to go beyond that. 

The one message, in terms of exclusion, it seems to me, it‘s going to

be particularly hard for a lot of people to swallow are gay people, that

gay people, I think, had hoped that they would be reimbursed—reimbursed

·         reembraced by this church.  I think if there‘s any single...

SCARBOROUGH:  You say reembraced.

BERNSTEIN:  Reembraced.

SCARBOROUGH:  When were homosexuals ever embraced by this church? 

BERNSTEIN:  I think that, in the papacy of John Paul II, that these questions of gender and sex and homosexuality came to the fore in a way that they had not been in the papacy of John XXIII during the Vatican II era, that they became foremost among the pastoral questions that John Paul II raised during his papacy. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, it was...


BERNSTEIN:  And raised with Ratzinger. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... a matter of emphasis.

BERNSTEIN:  Exactly. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, in fact, Father, let me read you, Father, what is upsetting a lot of gay and lesbian organizations distressed by the choice. 

The president of the Human Rights Campaign had this to say: “In the past, he‘s made deeply disturbing comments regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, so his selection as 265th pope is distressing.”

But, beyond that, are you distressed because this was a conservative selection, a missed opportunity to possibly reinvigorate the Catholic Church of America and Europe? 

FATHER JIM MARTIN, AUTHOR, “IN GOOD COMPANY”:  Well, I don‘t think I would say distressed.  I mean, I am hopeful.  He certainly wouldn‘t have been my choice, but I am neither a cardinal, nor the Holy Spirit, so it wasn‘t up to me. 

I think that one of the reasons, as Mr. Bernstein said, he is so polarizing is because he has been this lightning rod for so long in the west for some of the issues. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And why is he a lightning rod?  Why has he been? 

MARTIN:  Well, he was the pope‘s man for all of the theology that was coming out of the Vatican.  He was the prefect of the Congregation For the Doctrine of the Faith.

And, in that capacity, he was charged with essentially safeguarding, as Pat Buchanan said, the deposit of the faith, as we say. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Is that why they call him a kneecapper, that he would—somebody stepped out of line, he would be the enforcer and take them to task?

MARTIN:  His office—yes, his office, for better or worse, was the office charged with, for example, silencing theologians who he disagreed with or with whom the Vatican disagreed, with removing people from teaching posts, Catholic priests or sisters who were in teaching posts, with disciplining people who had written things that the congregation didn‘t like. 

So, he was definitely the point person for all of those kinds of activities in the Vatican.  And that‘s why he was so much on the front lines.  And that‘s why I think he is somewhat controversial, because people might have thought that they would have gotten someone who was as conservative, but maybe not so much identified with that type of behavior in the Vatican. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pia, let me bring you in here right now.  Do you think that this is a polarizing choice?  Do you think that the cardinals have missed an opportunity to elect a pope that can reach out to a declining church in America and also in Western Europe? 

PIA DE SOLENNI, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL:  rMD-IT_rMD-UL_I think the cardinals knew exactly what they were doing. 

They picked someone that was standing side by side with John Paul II for 25 years, who knew him and his thought intimately.  Ratzinger, in a sense, got a bum deal.  I mean, there‘s no other way to put it.  He has been vilified, I think, by the media.  You have to spend time getting to know him, watching what he actually did.  If he really were the type that was running around, you know, pulling wandering theologians out of their faculty positions, the Catholic universities in the United States would be a lot different than they are today. 

I mean, the fact is, you know, he went through some theological questions that came up, including questions of homosexuality, and went through them very, very carefully.  But he wasn‘t the type of person that was, you know, running around locking people up or pulling them out of their positions. 

BUCHANAN:  Can I get in on this, Joe? 


SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on one second. 

BUCHANAN:  Joe, can I get in on this?


SCARBOROUGH:  Well, yes.  Hold on one second.


SCARBOROUGH:  Pat—hold on a second, Pat.  I want to read you a quote.


SCARBOROUGH:  What Archbishop Andrew Sullivan had to say and have you respond to that. 


BUCHANAN:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  This is what he wrote recently in his blog: “Christians who are saddened by the ascent of extremism and fundamentalism within their faith communities have options other than passivity.  They have the blogosphere.  Cardinal Ratzinger cannot silence us.”

Pat, again, we have heard the charge, again and again, from moderates and even from some conservatives, that he was the cardinal responsible for silencing those that disagreed with Pope John Paul II. 

BUCHANAN:  Look, Joe, when you say disagreed, Cardinal Ratzinger is responsible for maintaining the truth of doctrine and dogma by which men reach eternal life. 

Andrew Sullivan is an open homosexual.  He has been living in that relationship, and he wonders why the church doesn‘t change its doctrine and dogma to accommodate him.  It cannot.  That is the truth Christ taught.  Now, what Cardinal Ratzinger is today is the vicar of Christ on earth.  Now, Christ wasn‘t terribly popular to the world he came into.  He was crucified by that world.

And today‘s world, especially this hedonistic society we live in, materialistic, it wants the church to accommodate to it.  And the Holy Father‘s job is not to do that.  It is to speak truth to secular power.  And that is what he is doing.  That is what he has done.  There could not have been a better choice.  Folks who disagree with doctrine and dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, there‘s lots of empty pews over in the Episcopal Church.  They can head over there. 


BUCHANAN:  But this man speaks the truth. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

BUCHANAN:  Now, listen, the flock has got a good German shepherd, Joe. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, Pat.  OK, Pat.  Good lord. 

BERNSTEIN:  Can I just add one thing?

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know what?  You know what?  I don‘t think anybody can follow what Pat just said. 

BERNSTEIN:  I want to go back to what Pia said.

SCARBOROUGH:  We will let you get to that when we come back.  I know both of you were shaking your heads.  And we will get a response from you when we return. 

And Pat Buchanan will have some more terrible, terrible puns. 

What do you call him, the archbishop of what? 


BERNSTEIN:  Of Loughborough Road.

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, OK.  Very good. 

Well, we‘ll have more with Bishop Buchanan and our guests when this—when this special continues.  And we are going to talk about the new challenges this pope is going to confront, not only facing Catholics in America, but also in Europe and across the world. 

Stick around.  We‘ll be right back.


SCARBOROUGH:  So what does the election of Pope Benedict XVI mean for the American church?  That‘s coming up next.

But, first, here‘s the latest news your family needs to know. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Now it‘s time to bring back our panel.  They‘re ready for a fight, Pat Buchanan, Carl Bernstein, Father Jim Martin, and Pia de—de Solenni.  I had it until they spelled it phonetically.

Carl Bernstein—well, actually, you know what?  I want to go—

Father Martin, I want to go to you first.

There‘s been some discussion, when Pia was talking about the fact that there was never any—people are calling it kneecapping, of theologians who disagreed with the Catholic Church and with Pope John Paul II.  You disagree.  Can you give me any examples? 

MARTIN:  Well, I mean, it‘s just false to say there was no silencing. 

I want to start off by saying that everyone says that Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, is a very personable and warm fellow.  But, by the same token, he presided over the Congregation For the Doctrine of the Faith at a time in the church‘s history when it silenced a number of theologians, including Leonardo Boff, Charles Curran, Jacques Dupuis, a lot of people that are well known to Catholics.  That was his role. 


SCARBOROUGH:  What were they saying that he found offensive? 

MARTIN:  Well, I mean, different theologians were sort of straying outside of the bounds of what he considered to be orthodox theology, talking about sexual morality and theology of the church and those kinds of things.  And it‘s just wrong to say that he wasn‘t in charge of that.  That was his job.  And so the responsibility for those silencings, for better or worse, are at his doorstep. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Carl, and, again, what is wrong with that, then? 

BUCHANAN:  Exactly. 

SCARBOROUGH:  If the church has doctrine, and it‘s based on biblical concepts, what is wrong with having somebody do that? 

BERNSTEIN:  I think the only thing is that I think she was factually wrong, that, in fact, Catholic universities of America and the West are much different institutions because Cardinal Ratzinger from his position in the Vatican removed many members of those faculty. 


DE SOLENNI:  I have to jump in here.

I mean, let‘s look at the major Catholic universities in this country.  I mean, they are not big fans of John Paul II.  It was Georgetown that booed Cardinal Arinze because of his statements on homosexuality.  It was two words—two lines that he used.  I mean, let‘s be realistic. 

Let‘s take a realistic picture of the Catholic universities. 

BERNSTEIN:  I am just saying that they are different—I am simply saying they are different institutions than they were before Cardinal Ratzinger, which is undoubtedly true. 


BERNSTEIN:  I would like—I would like to say something, though, about what Pat said.  And I am not a Catholic, not a Christian. 

But, in doing my book, I had to read the Gospels.  And I could find nowhere in the Gospels—somebody here, Father, or Father Buchanan down there, tell me if I am wrong—where Christ talked about homosexuality, where Christ talked about abortion, where Christ talked about birth control. 

My understanding—again, and I am going to ask the advice of these learned people around me—is that the faith itself has changed over the years.  Yes, there is a perennial theology.  But that does not mean that it‘s all fixed in stone, particularly these questions that we are discussing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan. 

BUCHANAN:  All right. 

Look, the Fifth Commandment, fifth by Catholic count, thou shalt not kill, abortion is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being.  It cannot—not never done.  It is never moral. 

Look, the Christ didn‘t preach against insider trading either, Carl, but the truth of Catholic teaching is brought down.  Thomas Aquinas... 


BERNSTEIN:  Well, he did preach about the money changers. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, but, look, but he—well, he drove them out of the temple. 

BERNSTEIN:  That‘s right. 

BUCHANAN:  And that‘s a good point about Cardinal Ratzinger.

Look, what Cardinal Ratzinger does with Charles Curran, Father Charles Curran, is, when they go and they‘re teaching to children and young people false doctrines, it is his duty to speak the truth. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What false doctrines, Pat?  Let‘s get specific. 


BUCHANAN:  Well, all right. 

With Charles Curran, it was—in my recollection, it‘s the doctrine of contraception.  “Humanae Vitae.”  He was at Catholic University.  He‘s out there saying you can practice this and be a good Catholic.  And the church said no.  And it is the job of Cardinal Ratzinger to maintain the purity of doctrine. 

And when he says Hans Kung or some of these other individuals are outside, they are preaching, teaching falsehood, and they should no longer be considered theologians, it‘s just like the Supreme Court saying to some federal judge, that is not in the Constitution.  You are wrong again. 


MARTIN:  Well, the question is, is, really, how do we go about being church?  We either go about it by silencing people and deciding at the very beginning of a theological conversation that we are not going to listen to one another, or we go about it by dialogue. 

I also think there‘s a more fundamental idea that we have to understand, that Mr. Bernstein was speaking about.  It‘s the question of whether or not the church wants to be exclusive or inclusive.  Now, as I understand it, the way that Pat Buchanan is describing it, it is an exclusive church . If you don‘t like it, you get out. 

My understanding of the way that Jesus worked was always to include people.  When Jesus approached people who were on the boundaries of the community, who were prostitutes, who were marginalized, who were the poor, who were the sick, he brought them in.  So, as I see it, the Catholic Church needs to be more inclusive, not exclusive. 



SCARBOROUGH:  I want to ask you. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Pia, Pia, Pia, hold on a second.


SCARBOROUGH:  Because I want to follow up on that, because I always said to people growing up that I thought the most remarkable thing about the Gospels, despite the fact you had televangelists throughout the ‘80s on the air telling people they are going to hell every day, that the only people that Christ ever seemed to criticize in the Gospels were religious leaders.

And you can take of the story of Zaccheus.  You can take the woman at the well.  I think one of my favorite parts of the New Testament is when Jesus says, let he who is without sin cast the first stone.  Isn‘t that who Catholics should have as a pope, somebody that does at least say, listen, I may disagree with you, but we are going to listen to everybody; we‘re going to have a free exchange of ideas?

DE SOLENNI:  Well, first of all, let‘s look at the way that the Congregation For the Doctrine of Faith works.

It‘s three commissions of 12 people, all who work under Cardinal Ratzinger.  Any time that a specific work of a theologian has been criticized—and, again, the theologian isn‘t shut down or silenced.  It‘s a specific work that is cited.  It‘s after 10, 11 years of review.  It‘s after the congregation has gone out and contacted him. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Well, let‘s talk about moving forward, Pia. 

DE SOLENNI:  That‘s going—but that‘s going out to the—let‘s be honest about where Ratzinger is coming from and where the church is coming from.  There has been engagement, but, at the same time, we have to be honest about what the church is. 


SCARBOROUGH:  And, moving forward, should we have a debate in the church, Pat, about contraceptives...

BUCHANAN:  All right, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold it, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  Yes, exactly.

SCARBOROUGH:  About contraceptives, about women priests, about...

DE SOLENNI:  Those debates have been had. 


BUCHANAN:  These issues are decided, Joe. 


DE SOLENNI:  Let‘s look at where—let‘s look at where the—in the universities, where the real change has taken place, is from the young people.  It‘s the young students who are attending who are forming pro-life groups, who are practicing the faith.  They are the ones that are bringing about the change in the universities. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan. 


BUCHANAN:  Let me go to your question.  Let me go to your question, Joe. 


BUCHANAN:  You used the example—you used the example, Joe, where—of the woman taken in adultery.  He said, let he who is without sin cast the first stone.  He knew they were hypocrites and liars.  But what else did he say to the woman? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Go and sin no more. 

BUCHANAN:  Go forth and sin no more. 

In other words, what you have been doing is morally wrong.  After he saved her life, he said, what you have been doing is morally wrong.  This is what Cardinal Ratzinger has to do.  When you have these theologians, he doesn‘t say, you can‘t write anything.  What he says is, you cannot call yourself a Catholic theologian and write and say things which are outside doctrine.  That is his job.  It is the job of Holy Father.


SCARBOROUGH: Father, what would you say?  A lot of people out there,

Father, would say, well, if you look at the church denominations in America

that have gotten more progressive, that have opened up on some of these

issues, they have declining membership.  You look at the more conservative

·         the more conservative groups, the more conservative denominations, the pews are packed every Sunday morning.  What would you say to those people? 

MARTIN:  Well, it‘s true. 

And, I mean, you can sort of turn the argument on its head and say, if we are also for a church that is going against the world, we certainly don‘t want to go for people just in terms of the numbers.  I mean, one of the things I would say in terms of what Pat Buchanan said was, absolutely, he included that woman in the community.  He said go and sin no more.

But, more importantly, he loved her.  And I think the goal for any religious leader is to love the people that are in their flock.  And, sometimes, of course, loving means disciplining and things like that.  But I think that‘s the most important thing.  And I think that‘s getting lost.  It‘s this sort of either/or, you know... 


BUCHANAN:  I agree with Father Martin on that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me bring in Carl. 

BERNSTEIN:  Well, I think this is an unfortunate debate we are having, because we are talking about what the theology of the Catholic Church ought to be. 

We ought to be talking, I would hope, about what Cardinal Ratzinger represents and what he might do. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What does he represent? 

BERNSTEIN:  It seems to me that the Catholic faith is a changing body of work.  That was what Vatican II was about.  Pat talks about, for instance, contraception. 

Pope Paul VI, John Paul II‘s predecessor...

SCARBOROUGH:  But let‘s not—let‘s not get in the weeds.  You were talking about, we should talk about what this new pope represents.  What does he represent? 


BERNSTEIN:  I think that, one, that he may be open-minded on some questions that some of the members of the panel might be holier than the pope about. 

I that, like you suggested, that Supreme Court justices, kings, queens, and popes, people who get jobs for life, sometimes turn around and surprise you.  I think this pope...

SCARBOROUGH:  Nixon in China.


BERNSTEIN:  ... might well make some gestures.  I do not think he is going to change, as I said, the perennial theology.

BUCHANAN:  All right. 

BERNSTEIN:  But I am not at all sure that his way of addressing his papacy is going to be as polarizing initially...

BUCHANAN:  All right, Joe...


BERNSTEIN:  ... as some of the members of the panel...


SCARBOROUGH:  Gentlemen, we have got to go to break right now.  We will be right back. 

BUCHANAN:  All right.  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  We have got a lot more ahead on this special edition of


And what is the first thing this new pope should do with his newfound power?  We‘ll find out when we come back next.


SCARBOROUGH:  We are now looking at a live shot of Vatican City, 4:45, the dawn of a new day, the dawn of a new papacy, a remarkable time, a historic time for the Catholic Church. 

I have got to say, at least in my lifetime—and I am 42 now—I have never seen a focus on any religious institution like the focus over the past month, just remarkable. 

With us now to talk about the new pope are Doris Donnelly, a professor of theology at John Carroll University, and also Christopher West.  He‘s from the John Paul Institute. 

Christopher, let me start with you. 

There are a lot of debates going on tonight about the Catholic Church and where it goes.  One of the debates that you have focused on before has been the possibility of women in the priesthood. 


SCARBOROUGH:  What is wrong with that? 

WEST:  I think the Catholic Church is the last institute on the planet, in a sense, to take the difference of the sexes seriously.  When the church teaches that a woman cannot be a priest, what the church is saying is that there is a difference between men and women that matters.

And women are right, in the 20th century, finally, collectively, to stand up and to say, I can be a doctor; I can be a lawyer; I can be a politician; I can be an astronaut.  But here‘s the point, Joe.  Priesthood is not a career choice.  I shouldn‘t feel threatened as a man to say, I could be a schoolteacher or a nurse or any of the positions that have traditionally been the role of the woman. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Where is that biblically based? 

WEST:  OK.  Hold on.  Hold on. 

I am getting to it.  There is a difference that matters.  What is at least one thing, Joe, that a woman can do that a man can‘t do? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Have a child. 

WEST:  Have a child.  I can‘t get pregnant.  I could petition the Vatican for pregnant men.  Let‘s start a campaign, men for pregnant men.  It‘s impossible, and the church would say, it is impossible for a man to be pregnant. 

Joe, what is one thing that a man can do that a woman can‘t do? 

SCARBOROUGH:  I can name quite a few.  The question is, what is the biblical basis in this, Christopher? 

WEST:  There‘s relevance.  Hear me out.  Hear me out. 


SCARBOROUGH:  We don‘t have all night for me to answer your questions. 


WEST:  Let me cut to the chase.


SCARBOROUGH:  I want to know, when did Christ say a woman cannot be a pastor; a woman cannot be a priest?

WEST:  A woman can not be a father.  And priesthood is not a career choice.  It is spiritual fatherhood.  And in order to be capable of being a father in the spirit, you must be capable of being a father. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Jim, you‘re sighing.  You are a father.  What about—respond to that. 

MARTIN:  I think the most salient want response to that is that there are many women who feel called to priesthood, period.  There are also women deaconesses in the New Testament. 


WEST:  Father, I could feel called to motherhood, but I can‘t be a mother.  I‘m a man.  There‘s a difference that matters. 


WEST:  And it‘s that difference that truly brings life to the world. 

MARTIN:  Well, I think that‘s true.

I think that, once again, there are women who I know, good, devout, holy Catholic women, who feel called to the priesthood.  St. Therese Lisieux, one of the doctors of the church, wrote in her diary, “I feel called to be a priest.”  So, I the question is certainly off the table now.  It‘s not going to be on the table with Pope Benedict, and that‘s the decision of the church.

But I think you cannot deny the fact that some women feel called to the priesthood. 


WEST:  There‘s a truth here.

SCARBOROUGH:  Doris Donnelly, do you think that it should be—Doris Donnelly, do you think this question should be put back on the table?  Is there any chance it will be put back on the table with Pope Benedict? 

DORIS DONNELLY, PROFESSOR, JOHN CARROLL UNIVERSITY:  Well, first of all, in answer to the question that you first raised, there‘s no biblical evidence that suggests that women cannot be priests. 

And, secondly, if we use the last supper as the place where Jesus assembles the apostles, we have only, then, men receiving the Eucharist.  Where in the scriptures does it say that women are able to receive the Eucharist?  Somebody felt authorized to allow women to receive the Eucharist.  So, when the pope wrote his apostolic letter that said—the reason apostolic letter—and I am talking about Pope John Paul II—suggesting that women cannot be priests because he has no authorization to allow them to be priests and because they are not men, somebody along the line allowed women, who were not at the last supper, to receive communion. 

Somebody possibly has the authorization to allow women priests eventually.  But it is off the table now.  And Cardinal Ratzinger wrote a postscript to the former pope‘s apostolic letter suggesting that it is definitively over and out, no more discussion, case closed.

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, Father Jim Martin talks about the fact that he knows many women that feel called to the priesthood.  I think, biblically, if you look at the Old Testament, at least, there are examples of women preaching, women priests. 

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  The only thing I—the only thing I can recall from my Baptist background is, I think Paul said one time that, as for himself, personally, he doesn‘t want women lording over him in the church.  But other than that, certainly I never heard—never read anything that suggested otherwise.


BUCHANAN:  But the point is, look, the Catholic teaching comes not only out of the Bible; it comes out of 2,000 years of tradition and infallible teaching. 

A priest is altar Christi.  It is another Christ.  And in Catholic teaching and doctrine and dogma, there are no women priests.  However, the most perfect human being outside of God himself on Earth was the blessed mother.  She was not a priest.  There have, as your guest mentioned—there have been Catholic doctors of the church.  There have been great saints.  The names are mentioned in old Latin mass.

There are many women as men.  But none of them has been a priest.  And Catholic tradition, Joe, is, in addition to the Bible, what we draw on for our beliefs. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Stay with us.  We have got a great group. 

We‘ll be right back with much more. 


SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re going to be right back with more of this special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, “The Election of a Pope.” 

Stay with us.


SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re back with this SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY special.

Carl, you wrote a book about the last pope.  Predict what‘s going to happen with the next pope. 

BERNSTEIN:  The last pope was great because of his force in the world and the force of the church in the world.  And this pope is also going to be concerned with the force of the church in the world, including Islam, including relations with other faiths, that we don‘t know where it‘s going.

And finally, to Patrick, infallibility, that concept comes from the 19th century. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Jim, Father. 

MARTIN:  Let me say that, as a Catholic, I believe that the Holy Spirit inspired the selection.  I believe the Holy Spirit will be with Pope Benedict XVI.

I wasn‘t a big fan of Cardinal Ratzinger.  I hope to be a big fan of Benedict XVI.  And I think, if the papacy tells us anything, is that popes often surprise us.  And I think God might have some surprises in store for us. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan. 


In response to Carl, infallibility was defined in the 19th century. 

It has always existed, Carl.

I think this pope will be controversial because I think he is going to stand up for doctrine and dogma and with great clarity and with great force.  And the world is not going to like that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thanks so much. 

Pia, I wish we could get to you.  We will get you back tomorrow night to have you continue to talk about... 

DE SOLENNI:  I am counting on it. 


SCARBOROUGH:  I will give you the final word tomorrow night.  Thanks for being with us.

Pat Buchanan, Carl Bernstein, Father Martin, and Pia, thank you so much.

That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  We‘ll see you tomorrow in



Content and programming copyright 2005 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2005 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.


Discussion comments