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TODAY   |  February 27, 2013

Cardinal Wuerl: Next pope must ‘keep us focused’

As Pope Benedict XVI prepares to step down following his final audience, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, talks about the conclave for the next pope.

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

>> is one of the 115 cardinals who will elect the next pope. good morning. good to see you.

>> good morning. good to be with you.

>> you were in the pope's final audience this morning. some of the cardinals looked emotional, even teary. were you one of them?

>> i was. it was such a powerful moment. this is the first time ever we've had a pope in this context say good-bye. and to see the thousands and thousands of people, but also to hear him speak, what this moment means. it was a very emotional moment.

>> congregation of cardinals will start to meet perhaps late this week, early next week. have there been discussions, informal, among the cardinals about who may be the next pope?

>> most of the cardinals are just arriving now. i would suspect in the next days there will be conversation but a lot of the conversation is just getting to know better some of the other cardinals . not all the cardinals have an opportunity to come regularly to rome for meetings. so a big part of these congregations is simply getting to know your brother cardinal.

>> we just saw a piece that talked about some of the scandals and controversy the church has faced. i won't rattle them off again but do you feel finding somebody that can restore credibility to the institution is an urgent matter in electing the next pope?

>> i think the recoveryriding thing is going to be to maintain the continuity of this focus on the mission of the church , the spiritual ministry of the church . that always will involve taking care of any problems that have arisen. i think we will go into the conclave. the cardinals will go into the conclave, looking for someone who will keep us focused.

>> do you think the spiritual mission of the church , the work of the church , has been undermined by some of these scandals?

>> the church and its workings are always going to suffer when we members, the human members of the church , do not live up to the fullness of the gospel. that's part of the history of the church . when christ created the church , divine and human, failures were built into the church . the important thing is to move beyond those. right what was wrong and move into the future.

>> we've been talking about the unprecedented nature of this kind of abdication. we haven't seen it in 600 years. not totally unprecedented. do you agree with the decision? do you worry at all about the precedence that it sets?

>> going into the future, we now have a new model. it's possible for a pope simply to say -- not just intellectually, but now practically, i can't do this anymore. so i think the holy father has opened up a whole new chapter in the life of the church . but what was so beautiful about this was the way pope benedict simply said, i don't have the energy to do what i know needs to be done. and i think we all know going into the future, the work of the pope, the next pope is going to have to be the work of moving the whole church rapidly into this very modern age .

>> i have ten seconds left. if you had to choose brilliant manager, brilliant evangelist, which would you put a premium on?

>> i would always choose the evangelist, the person who can