ABC: New Pope Can Help Catholics 'Revive' Mission to Help the Poor

During live coverage, Wednesday, of the announcement that Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio had been chosen the new pope, two of ABC's journalists insisted that the Argentinian would help "revive" the Catholic Church's interest in helping the poor. Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran didn't explain when such a desire went away.

Moran lectured, "...If he's a pope who makes a commitment to be close to the poor of Latin America and the poor of Africa, that can turn a corner for the church in someways, revive that mission, the original mission of Christ and the early Christians." (Could it be that Moran simply isn't aware of the work Catholics already do for the poor?) Later, Josh Elliott offered the same assessment of Pope Francis: "I know Terry and I have discussed the importance of whomever it is elected, reconnecting and taking the church back, to not just the grassroots, but connecting with the poor." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] 

Later, Moran tweeted, "Pope Francis--a tribute to one of the great spiritual revolutionaries in Christianity, a man of radical love for the poor, for the planet."

While waiting for the announcement, Cokie Roberts attackedthe last pope, Benedict XVI, complaining, "There was a tremendous upset in our country when Pope Benedict seemed to be cracking down on American nuns who are, as Sister Pratt was saying, working with the poor and the homeless and the suffering and the sick, as well as educating the children."

Roberts huffed that "a lot of Americans will be looking for in this pope is to see how he will– whether he will take up that cudgel or whether he will put it aside."

A transcript of the March 13 exchanges can be found below:


3:09 ET

COKIE ROBERTS: There was a tremendous upset in our country when Pope Benedict seemed to be cracking down on American nuns who are, as Sister Pratt was saying, working with the poor and the homeless and the suffering and the sick, as well as educating the children. And it seemed to be such a remarkably unbelievable thing to do to be questioning nuns who were doing that work and something that didn't make any sense to most Americans. So, that is one of the things that I think a lot of Americans will be looking for in this pope is to see how he will– whether he will take up that cudgel or whether he will put it aside.

3:13

DIANE SAWYER: And as you mentioned, still modestly– takes public transport rather than the limousine of a cardinal.

...

TERRY MORAN: But if he's close to the poor, if he's a pope who makes a commitment to be close to the poor of Latin America and the poor of Africa, that can turn a corner for the church in someways, revive that mission, the original mission of Christ and the early Christians.

...

3:19

JOSH ELLIOTT: And as we had said, this Pope would step out onto that balcony and he would see his countrymen looking back at him and now, the first Latin American pope being elected, there's a continent, there's almost half the church looking back at him. So this is a step-- This is a step in a different direction for this church at a crossroads. I know Terry and I have discussed the importance of whomever it is elected, reconnecting and taking the church back, to not just the grassroots, but connecting with the poor. And that is something this cardinal has made his life's work. Again, when he was made cardinal in 2001, he discouraged people from spending the money to fly to Rome to celebrate his appointment. Instead asking them to donate the funds to help alleviate the crushing poverty they faced at home and really across the continent.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org