Nightly News   |  March 09, 2013

Cardinals weighing world’s expectations

NBC News Vatican analyst George Weigel joins Lester Holt with more on the upcoming election process.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> as we've been reminded the conclave itself is solely for the purpose of voting. all the time for discussions will end when the cardinals file in to the sistine chapel on tuesday. so what's going on right now behind the scenes? it may determine the outcome. for some insight into these critical days before the conclave, i'm joined here now by nbc news vatican analyst george weigel . good to have you with us.

>> nice to be here.

>> we saw the meetings all week long. what's happening now? these men meet for coffee, have dinner, talk about things? is there lobbying going on right now?

>> there are coalitions forming. there are issues being discussed. there are men being measured against issues. ee actually a lot of praying going on right now. these cardinals take seriously what it means to step before a fresco of the last judgment --

>> and we know they're going to be in the sistine chapel closed off from the modern world but they are of the modern world . they must read the papers, they must watch 24 hour cable news. they know how they're viewed. they know people talking about maybe it should be an african pope or latin american pope. does any of that influence them?

>> i think these cardinals know that both the church and the world now have different expectations of the pope than were in place 50 years ago. world and the church expect a charismatic leader . somebody who can be the face of the catholic church in the world.

>> so there are catholic expectations and the rest of the world , as well?

>> i think the world, for example, is looking for someone who can defend religious freedom for all. not just for his own religious community , but for religious communities around the world at a time when that first rite is under a lot of pressure.

>> george weigel , thanks very much.

>> thank you.

>> reminder, we'll have continuing coverage of the election of the next pope on all the programs and platforms of nbc news, all next week.