Only Seven Minutes After White Smoke, CNN Features Women's Ordination Activists

It took only seven minutes after the announcement of a new pope for CNN to interview women's ordination activists in St. Peter's Square.

The liberal activists were the first interviewees on CNN after the white smoke emerged from the Sistine Chapel chimney. Correspondent Miguel Marquez pointed out their "ordain women badges" and gave credence to their cause. "We have heard this across the U.S. and around the world, certainly, that people do want and hope for a more open, transparent, liberal, progressive church," he noted.

Erin Saiz Hanna hailed from the Women's Ordination Conference, and her two friends Kate and Miriam (no last names given) were from WomenPriests.org.

Miriam had this to say about the papal conclave:

"We're very nervous because we presume that a quick vote means that it's going to be someone that is well known within the Curia, and the men, the cardinals that are very well known and established in Rome and the Curia are not very friendly towards women and they're more traditionalists. So we are a little bit nervous right now, waiting to see who emerges on that balcony."

Erin Saiz Hanna touted her group's "pink smoke vigils" to "raise awareness on women's inclusion." She added, "I believe in miracles," but admitted her pessimism: "we've been told, if it's a fast election, it will probably be someone more conservative and not in line with reform, but that's something the church desperately needs."

(H/T Erick Erickson)

A transcript of the segment, which aired on March 13 on CNN Newsroom at 2:13 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

[2:13]

MIGUEL MARQUEZ:  Well, you know, it is freezing and it's miserable, but it is electric and exciting all at the same time. The bells that we saw, the white smoke and then the big bells started to ring. There was just a massive tidal wave of sound that started from right near the basilica and then came back toward us. I'm here with some folks who came in for the conclave. This is Erin. How are you?

ERIN SAIZ HANNA: I'm Erin Saiz Hanna of the Women's Organization Conference. And I have Kate and Miriam with me from WomenPriests.org.
 
MARQUES: And what is it like to be here?

HANNA: It's a wild experience, actually, waiting for the pope. We all here support the inclusion of women in the Catholic Church. We –

MARQUEZ: I should point out, you have your "ordain women" badges on. How excited are you to be here? How big a moment for the Catholic Church is this?

HANNA: You know, I've been a Catholic since the moment I was born and, you know, there is something exciting about seeing the white smoke in person. This is the first time. It's our hope and prayer is that it's going to be someone who welcomes the inclusion of women in the Catholic Church, someone who opens up more roles to women in the Catholic Church.

MARQUEZ: Kate, What are your feelings about it? You guys are from D.C., yes?

KATE: I'm a little bit worried, actually. A quick election, I don't think that includes women, and so just we're waiting to see who it is.
           
MARQUEZ: Why so nervous?

MIRIAM: We're very nervous because we presume that a quick vote means that it's going to be someone that is well known within the Curia, and the men, the cardinals that are very well known and established in Rome and the Curia are not very friendly towards women and they're more traditionalists. So we are a little bit nervous right now, waiting to see who emerges on that balcony.
 
MARQUEZ: Well, we will all wait together. A very, very exciting –  

HANNA: We'll know soon. They should come out. While we have been here, we have been hosting pink smoke vigils to raise awareness on women's inclusion. We've held two here in Rome, and also there have been ten in the United States where we have been bringing awareness by raising pink smoke while, you know, while we see the white smoke right now.

MARQUEZ: We have heard this across the U.S. and around the world, certainly, that people do want and hope for a more open, transparent, liberal, progressive church. Do you
-- you seem to feel because the smoke came so quickly, everybody was expecting tomorrow, perhaps the next round of voting. Your feeling waiting for that – for those curtains to go up?

HANNA: We'll know as soon as that person comes out. I believe in miracles. So, you never know. But, you know, we've been told, if it's a fast election, it will probably be someone more conservative and not in line with reform, but that's something the church desperately needs.

MARQUEZ: Was there anyone that you liked? Any one cardinal?

MIRIAM: There are a couple of cardinals that would be better for a more open and loving and inclusive church. We weren't very hopeful that they stood any chance, though.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014