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CBS This Morning: Cardinal on new pope

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(CBS News) - Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, discussed the papal conclave and reforms within the Catholic Church on CBS This Morning.

George explained to co-hosts Charlie Rose and Norah O'Donnell, "I think we have the structures ready to move forward."

Excerpts and video of the interview are below.

CHARLIE ROSE: Cardinal Francis George of the Archdiocese of Chicago will help pick a new pope and he just left a lunch with his fellow cardinals. Good morning, thank you for joining us. What was the lunch like? Tell us the sense of – what are the cardinals saying to each other?

CARDINAL FRANCIS GEORGE: The moment of saying goodbye to the pope was of course an emotional moment, but one of deep, deep respect and gratitude. Not only for what he has done throughout eight years, but also for the moment. And he, as was said, appeared joyful and relaxed. The cardinals among themselves are speaking about a lot of things from the weather to who should be the next pope. And those conversations will continue now in earnest until we go into conclave.

ROSE: What are you looking for?

GEORGE: We're looking for someone who can be the Bishop of Rome, that is, respond to the needs of this local church, but also, because he's universal pastor, respond to the needs of the whole world. When Paul VI went to speak to the United Nations, he said he was an expert in humanity. Because for 2,000 years, the papal chair has accompanied the experiences of the human race. So somebody therefore who has a universal vision and a heart for the poor, who are first in the kingdom of Heaven. Then someone who has the necessary languages – a requisite for communication in our day. And of course someone who can govern, who has the habit of making decisions necessary to keep the church faithful to her lord. And a pleasing personality, we all hope of course.

ROSE: You need a good personality to be pope.

O'DONNELL: And what about reform?

GEORGE: Reform of the curia or reform of doctrine? What reform are you speaking of?

O'DONNELL: I'm referring to the sex abuse scandal and other divisions that are within the church.

GEORGE: Well, reform of the sex abuse scandal has to continue, as has been said. We now have the legal instruments within the code of cannon law to deal more expeditiously with this. That's largely the result of the present pope, and it was a concern of his predecessor, when he asked him as a cardinal to take charge of this, because he realized that the local bishops weren't all doing a good job. So I think the structure of the reform is in place, but as long as you have people who have been victimized alive you must accompany them and therefore it's always a live issue. And sometimes there are new cases that have to be investigated, but at least in the United States, I think we have the structures ready to move forward. As far as other reforms, that depends upon what we're talking about. The church doesn't live in every age, she lives beyond every age, rooted in what happened 2,000 years ago. So the first question that comes when somebody says let's change this, is would this keep us in contact with Christ? Is this a reform that's consistent with what God has revealed? After that comes our experience, or the zeitgeist experience of the age.

ROSE: Cardinal, do you think this will be a short conclave? That the cardinals will make up their minds pretty quickly?

GEORGE: We all hope so. That's important and it depends upon how much time we have to prepare the conclave. That's what the general congregations, so-called, are all about. We begin Monday at 9:30 in the morning, we continue at 3 in the afternoon Monday. And then we'll see how many more we need before we're ready to go into conclave. The conclave will be short if we've talked amongst ourselves enough so that we have a sense of not only who is being talked about, but also who is being supported, and that becomes clear only with the first ballot in conclave. If the first ballot is very unclear, it could be a long conclave because conclaves aren't moments to talk. Conclaves are moments to pray and to vote, both of them take a long time, and we don't have as much time to talk as we'll have now in the coming days, perhaps a week or a little more before we go into conclave.

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