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Morning News

Rev. Avery Dulles Discusses Elevation to College of Cardinals; 'America' Magazine Editor Comments on Other Selections

Aired January 22, 2001 - 10:26 a.m. ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Pope John Paul II has elevated 37 church leaders to the College of Cardinals. That is the group that will eventually choose his successor. Three of the new cardinals are from the United States. They are New York Archbishop Edward Egan, Washington Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, and the Reverend Avery Dulles, a Jesuit theologian at Fordham University.

And it turns out that joining us right is Reverend Dulles; also the Reverend Thomas Reese, editor in chief of "America" magazine, a national Catholic weekly.

Father Reese, Father Dulles, good morning, Thanks for joining us.

REV. THOMAS REESE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "AMERICA" MAGAZINE: Certainly.

AVERY DULLES, NAMED ARCHBISHOP OF N.Y.: Good morning to you.

KAGAN: First, to father Dulles, congratulations. Why do you think at age 82 it was time now for you to become cardinal?

DULLES: I think it's a good time. For the most part, theologians who have made cardinals have been senior theologians. And it is more a recognition of the value of the work they have been doing, than any appointment to a position of power or influence. It gives a little more recognition, I think, to the work I've been doing. For that, I'm very grateful, of course.

KAGAN: And looking ahead, what will this mean for the difference of the type of work that you will be doing and what you are responsible for?

DULLES: Well, that will depend, of course, on the decisions of the Holy Sea, the Holy Father himself, if appoints me to any commissions or anything like that, I might have some involvements in Rome. But I expect that he will probably leave me pretty much to do the kind of work I've been doing in the United States over the past half century. But we'll see.

KAGAN: And in recent years, you have been a strong defender of Pope John Paul II's policies to many of his liberal critics. Do you think, in a way, that this is a reward for that work? DULLES: I don't think so. I have tended to give my own opinions on matters. But, as a matter of fact, I do think he's been a very great pope, a great blessing to the church. And I think his pontificate has set a lot of things right. I am very, very grateful to be able to serve in this capacity for him.

KAGAN: Father Reese, to you, help us understand the significance of the other two Americans who will become cardinals.

REESE: Well, I think it was a foregone conclusion that Archbishop Egan and Archbishop McCarrick would be made cardinals because of the importance of the two archdiocese that they headed. So this wasn't a surprise. But I think they will both serve the pope very well. Archbishop Egan is a canon lawyer and knows the Vatican very well, so can advise the pope on those issues. Archbishop McCarrick, on the other hand, is an expert in international affairs, and has been a leader in the Bishops Conference on foreign policy issues and peace and justice issues. And I am sure that the pope will want his advice on those issue.

KAGAN: And then, looking at the other cardinals who will be named as well, and looking at the total number of cardinals, this is the group that will select the next pope. And, as I understand it, in my reading, that will mean that Pope John Paul II will have selected all but 10 of the College of Cardinals. So, in a way, he is helping to select his successor.

REESE: Yes, absolutely. And I think that he has appointed people who reflect his views on the major issues that face the church. But I don't think that means that the College of Cardinals will then elect a clone of John Paul II at the next conclave. There is nobody in the College of Cardinals exactly like John Paul II. So I think we will see someone elected who reflects his basic views, but will have a different style, different personality that he will bring to the papacy.

KAGAN: Do you see a geographic significance, now, with the College of Cardinals. I am thinking about the large number of cardinals especially coming from Latin America. Pope John Paul II realizing the strength and that this is the area where the church is really growing.

REESE: Well, Latin America is, of course, the continent with the largest number of Catholics in it. What's interesting is that the College of Cardinals now reflects the universal church; 40 percent of the College of Cardinals comes from the third world. This is no longer a European church. It is no longer a European College of Cardinals as it was at the beginning of the 20th century.

We may very well see in this century someone elected from the third world to govern the Catholic Church.

KAGAN: Father Dulles, you are 82 years old. As I understand it, once you hit 80, you no longer get to help select the next pope; any disappointment in that? DULLES: No, I think they can make a wise choice even without my presence there as a voter. So I trust the -- my fellow cardinals who are under the age of 80.

KAGAN: The youngsters, you will leave it in their hands. Father Dulles, once again, congratulations. February 21st when the ceremony takes place. And Father Reese, always a pleasure to have you with us here on MORNING NEWS. Thanks for joining us.

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