Cardinal Dolan on 'This Week'

George Stephanopoulos speaks to New York Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
9:10 | 03/31/13

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Transcript for Cardinal Dolan on 'This Week'
morning. One of the cardinals who chose him, timothy dolan of new york is celebrating at st. Patrick this morning. But he sat down with me earlier this week to discuss the new pope. Easter is always a time for renewed hope, a sense of promise and confidence. But this year is special because of pope francis. As we watch him, and it's clear to me that the world is watching, you got it, he brings us back to the simplicity, the sincerity, just the raw, basic goodness of to gospel. Look at what he did on thursday, he washed the feet of 12 inmates. 12 young juvenile delinquents. Imitating jesus at the last supper. He's constantly reminding us that religion is not only about faith, what we believe, but it's also about how we live. Especially in service. This symbolism. Not wearing the fur-lined cape, living in the simple apartments, you believe that really matters? I do. It does -- these signs, these symbols have meaning. From what I hear folks saying, they matter a lot to people. They're saying, we have a pope who seems to crave simplicity. And being with people. As one person said to me, he reminds us a lot of jesus. I said, well, I hope so. Because that's his job description. Apparently, those things mean a lot to people. That's the job description of the pope. We see that picture of him with pope emeritus benedict. On one hand so warm. On the other hand, it seemed a little unsettling. I'm an outsider to the catholic faith. Unsettling to a lot of us. We're not used to having two popes. Even though one of them is retired. But I don't think it was unsettling to them. They almost tried to outclass each other in showing deference to one another. And that's not bad. Take us inside the conclave as much as you can. Sure. But describe the challenge you and your fellow cardinals felt. Well, you know what it was, what was very important was the time before the conclave, the conclave was relatively brief. Only 28 hours. The time before, that's when i was more nervous, believe it or not, I felt the burden of getting to know my brother cardinals better. Once I entered the conclave and the veterans, the cardinals who had been in a conclave before, said, tim, relaxed. You get to know them. By the time you get to the conclave, you'll have settled on two, three being the successor. Of st. Peter. You want to know who the three are. You want to know who the three are. I was at peace with the people that I had in mind. I was extraordinarily at peace with the final decision. And now that pope francis is in place, what is the challenge facing him, the biggest challenge facing him as the leader of more than 1 billion catholics? What I think it is, actually, I spoke about this in the congregations before the conclave, I think the biggest challenge facing him is to reconnect jesus and his church. There's a growing cleavage between jesus and his church. People will say I don't have problems with jesus but I have problems with the church. His greatest pastoral challenge is, going to be reconnect it. A challenge here in the united states. We recently did a poll of american catholics, 60% believe that the catholic church is out of touch with their concerns. How do you address those? I think, when I hear people, though, it depends on what concerns they're talking about, sometimes by nature, the church has to be out of touch with the concerns, we have to be thinking of the beyond. Our major challenge is to continue in a major way. Present the internal concerns to people in a timeless, attractive way. Sometimes there is a disconnect between what they're going through and what jesus and his church is teaching. And that's the challenge for us. Especially this week, it's been at the top of the news, for many gay and lesbians americans, catholics they feel unwelcomed in the church. What do you say to a gay couple who says, we love god, we love the church, but we also love each other and we want to raise a family in faith? What do you say to them? The first thing I say is, i love you, too. You were made in god's image and likeness. We want your happiness. And you're entitled in friendship. But we also know that god has told us the way to happiness, in terms of sexual love, that is intended only for a man and a woman in marriage where children can come about naturally. We got to do better to see our defense of marriage is not reduced to an attack on gay people. I admit we haven't been too good at that. We try our darndest. We're not an anti-anybody. We're in defense of what god has taught us about marriage. It's one man and one woman forever to bring about new life. We got to do better to try to take that away from being anti-anybody. How do you do that? We haven't been too good. Howu do that? Well, I don't know. We're trying. We're trying our best to do it. We got to listen to people like the couple you just described, saying, we don't feel comfortable here. But, you got a point, sometimes we're not as successful or as effective as we can. In translating that warm embrace into also teaching what god has told us about the way he wants us to live. That challenge you face in so many different ways. As you just mentioned, not only do you have the people who are rise in no religion. How do you open the doors so people feel they can have a pathway back to god? I'm afraid that's afflicting society in general. That's afflicting communities. People want privacy. People crave isolation. We're hearing parents say, they can't get their kids to talk anymore. They're tweeting one another. This craving of individualism, being alone, that's afflicting all of culture and all of society. We're feeling it in church. We're not about me, we're about us. We're about the "our." We say our father. But society is saying, me, myself and i. We're saying, no, it's us. It's we. That's a tough sell in society. You have become one of the most prominent voices in america catholicism. Right now, and no surprise you're mentioned often as a possible pope going into the conclave. The question I have about that is, did you find that this whole idea that having an american pope is simply out of the question because america is this great superpower? Is that receding? I think it is. I think it is. But beforehand, I said I thought that that was still there. I actually thought this that there was still wisdom to that but I did believe that probably the wisdom you shouldn't have leader of the worked's greatest spiritual power from a country that's the world's greatest earthly power. I don't think my brother cardinals believe that anymore. We're just looking for a good pastor, a good communicator. One day? Maybe one day there will be a pope from the united states. Nelson mandela also on our minds this week, back in the hospital right now, there's a man who exemplified for millions around the globe the power of forgiveness. You bet he did. I'm praying with and for him. I had the honor of meeting him once. The word that comes to mind on nelson mandela is reconciliation. And that's a good thing to remember about easter, we said that jesus came to reconcile the world. The world took those hands and put them on the cross. Because they don't like being reconciled. Nelson mandela could take his hands and embrace the nation. He taught us the power of reconciliation and forgiveness. The message of joy. Thank you, george. It's good being with you. A blessed easter.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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