TODAY   |  August 02, 2013

Cardinal Dolan: Pope Francis ‘challenging us’

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, talks to TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie about his new e-book and says he finds Pope Francis “a challenge, in a good way.”

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

>>> cardinal dolan is the author of a new ebook "praying in roam." good morning to you.

>> a joy to be with you. a good way to start a weekend. it's friday.

>> literally, right. we will talk about your ebook in a moment. i have to ask you about the piece we just saw. would it be significant if a piece of jesus 's cross were found?

>> you bet it would. we withhold judgment because there's a lot of scientific research that has to go on and i don't mind sharing with you because i'm skeptical because there's been such claims in the past. if alwayses can say this dates back from the fourth century, we'll never get complete accuracy built anything that brings us closer to jesus and his cross.

>> on another topic there's a book about the life of jesus christ . it's been very controversial. he was questioned whether if he's a muslim he can write a book about christianity. is that a valid criticism?

>> jesus has universal appeal. people of any faith or none at all have written about him for centuries. the islamic community holds jesus christ with great reverence. they don't believe he's divine or our lord and savior but esteem him and appreciate his moral principles.

>> also jesus christ was a zealot a political revolutionary. is that so shocking?

>> that is a little -- it's not shocking, that has been said before. it's a little shocking it's not quite accurate. when you look at the gospels closely jesus eschewed any direct intervention of politics. he preached morality. he tried to stay away from getting stucked into that israeli-roman conflict.

>> speaking of church and politics, that's something you're familiar with yourself. in this ebook you write about the conclave. you're not giving up any secrets, are you

>> i hope not.

>> you wrote pope francis is a real shot in the arm before he even made the remarks about not judging gays. judging the sin. do you feel in light of what he said that you want to personally change in your own approach?

>> yes. i think pope francis is already calling me and i'm still on a high from being with him at world youth days, 3 million young people and myself at rio de janeiro . he's calling me for a genuine examination of conscience. by what he's doing and saying i find him to be a challenge and in good way. like jesus is a challenge. he's saying to me and i think everybody else in the world, let's re-examine our approach to things. let's examine if we're faithful to the teaching of jesus especially when it comes to love, joy, hope and mercy . i welcome it that he's kind of -- he said in rio and said we have a god of surprises and we never can categorize or box him in. he's aprefreshing one.

>> is he a reform center

>> he can't reform the substance of church teaching but can renew the way it's presented. in rio, in the interview you just mentioned he's doing it.

>> in your book you get into your own reflections on the pope. the ebook is called "praying in roam." coming