TODAY   |  March 30, 2013

Cardinal: Francis will bring ‘tremendous change’

“He’s being studied very closely,” Cardinal Edward Egan of the Archdiocese of New York said of Pope Francis, added that wherever he goes, priests want to know how the Pope will change the Catholic Church and what the implications will be. Cardinal Edward Egan is interviewed by TODAY’s Lester Holt.

Share This:

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

>>> said to celebrate his first easter mass tomorrow as head of the catholic church . on thursday he bathed the feet of two female offenders at a juvenile detention center , just the latest break in tradition by a pope who is presenting a new, humbler style at the vatican. cardinal edward eagan is the former archbishop of new york . your eminence, good morning. thanks for coming on with us.

>> good morning, lester. great to be with you the expression of washing feet is not new but to wash the feet of women is.

>> well, for a pope it is certainly. i never did it here in new york but i do know that other bishops did and so it's not that much of a separation from the old ways.

>> but there are some who are looking at this and saying, does this signal, perhaps, a new view on other things involving women, including the ordination of women as priests?

>> well, of course, these are the guesses that we're all going to be having. everything he does kind of inspires another guess, you know. and i don't think we really know. i think he's been with us only about a dozen days and his every motion has been kind of interpreted in one way or the other. i don't think you can be sure of anything definite from that, lester.

>> but after easter, we will get a little more read on where he wants to go in terms of church reform and even what he thinks is church reform. how much, given his humble style.

>> yes. the way he lives. and we've seen many expressions of this the last couple weeks right.

>> what will that mean to the future leadership of the church and how he will shape things up?

>> i think it's going to be a tremendous change. i think that this personality and this particular way of living and way of working is going to have a repercussion in every section of the church, especially in rome but i also think in the dioceses. already here in new york , wherever i go, the priests want to talk about pope francis. what are the implications of his philosophy, of his way of doing things and so forth. so he's being studied very closely.

>> do you think he will inspire young people the way john paul ii did by his very accessible style? i think he already has. i can see it already starting. he's really very much in line with the thinking of the young people of the world, i believe. and here in new york i've been getting around quite a little and everywhere i go, he is the discussion. i was at a parish resurrection for the dedication of a new gymnasium i think about three days ago. the place was full of young people . it has the largest catholic youth organization in the archdiocese. i forget how many hundreds.

>> and they're talking about pope francis. that was the whole thing. what does this mean? what do you get out of him? how well do you know him? what did he say to you and so forth. never did i hear anything similar to that in my 56 years as a priest and bishop.

>> well, we'll certainly hear a lot from him we expect after easter in terms of the future but i want to thank you for coming on. my pleasure to be with you. and may you and your family and all of your millions of viewers have a wonderful, blessed easter. that's my prayer for you.

>> and to you as well, thank you, sir.

>> thanks so much.