Meet the Press | March 17, 2013
>> first weekend for the new pope, meeting the press yesterday for the first time, and this morning an impromptu appearance near the vatican, greeting surprised well-wishers before delivering a brief homily at the vatican's small parish church . moments ago before a large crowd gathered in st. peter's square, pope francis gave his first weekly blessing. his first payal tweet. "dear friends, i thank you from my heart and i ask you to continue to pray for me." joining us this morning from rome, cardinal francis george of chicago. your eminence, welcome to "meet the press."
>> thank you, david. good morning.
>> i want to begin by ask you what you think pope francis can do right away that will define his papacy.
>> i think what he's doing now, that is, the style is the substance, and while they're small gestures they indicate an attitude towards reality and towards the governance of the church that is very important in the long run. secondly, what he really has to do is to make some important decisions about who are going to be his closest collaborators as he moves forward in his papacy.
>> there's the administration of the church. there is the sexual abuse scandal. what is probably foremost on the minds of catholics in this country is what does he mean to america. what does a pope from the americas mean to the united states , particularly with a growing latino population here?
>> well, i think you said that very well, david. he means very much to the latino population because even though many priests in the united states have learned spanish to take care of a growing number of spanish-speaking parishioners in first generation, at least, it's never quite the same to know the language as it is to know the culture. he comes from the culture with the language, and that will be a source of great encouragement, i'm sure, for all of us, but especially for them. beyond that, the universal church , that means we are global, truly, in in fact as well as intentional ti, and so the crossing of the water to the americas is a very historic moment, isn't it.
>> how he speaks about america is interesting, as well. i can remember being a young reporter in the early '90s covering pope john paul ii 's visit to denver with a youth group from new mexico at the time, when i was covering him, seeing what a beloved figure he was there with president clinton , of course, and more beloved even than his successor pope benedict . what in your judgment as you know this pope can he, should he do to cultivate that relationship with this country?
>> well, i was a very young bishop at the time in washington state , and that was the first time i went to world youth day with a whole lot of young people who sold tacos endlessly in order to afford a chartered bus. and i was very deeply moved by it because they were. and i saw the way in which he transformed their lives. he had a huge impact on that small diocese in central washington state, a rural dioce diocese, when they returned home. but pope benedict was not an extrovert. a very shy man. a good man, a kind man, but he had difficulty showing that in public, not used to talking to people as much as he was books. this man is a pastor. first and foremost he spent his life willing close to people, especially the poor, his own brothers in a religious society, and to the people he served in a very large diocese in buenos aires . he's a man of integrity, and that shines through. even when you have to say this isn't what christ wants, he says it in a way apparently people can at least hear it even if they don't agree with it. that's an important pastoral note i hope we'll all learn from in years to come.