I spent some time this afternoon talking with everyone's favorite American cardinal (OK, maybe not everyone, but a lot of people's), Theodore E. McCarrick. McCarrick, who is expecting to retire as archbishop of Washington this summer, is a big fan of O'Malley, and has asked O'Malley to come say a Mass at the cathedral in Washington in recognition of the 14 years O'Malley spent in the capital as a young priest. Here's a portion of our exchange.
Q: What is the significance of the inclusion of Archbishop O'Malley among the 15 new cardinals?
A: We always knew that Boston is a cardinalatial see in the United States. It's the mother church of so many of the good things that have happened in our country. It was the mother church of the missions, under Cushing. And it has always been one of the largest and one of the most important churches in our country, so it was natural that he (Pope Benedict XVI) would do that. I also believe that he (the pope) has to be pleased with the very courageous and forthright way in which Cardinal O'Malley has guided the diocese, has shepherded it. Cardinal O'Malley has made some very difficult decisions, but they're decisions that had to be made. I think the Holy Father wanted to say 'thank you' to him, and 'thank you' to the church of Boston, which in the most part has been so supportive of him.
Q. How does being a cardinal change one's life?
A. All of it becomes more intense. You have to participate in some of the Roman entities. And you do play a stronger role at times. The cardinal's voice in the media is heard, usually, more readily, and I think that that's going to happen to Cardinal O'Malley in a very special way. He's a very wise and articulate man, a very eloquent spokesman.
Q. Do you have any advice for him?
A. Keep doing what you're doing. Keep healthy. And take a day off.
I met with Cardinal McCarrick at North American College during a late afternoon break from the cardinals' meeting; David Ryan captured a photo of him meeting with the other cardinals at Synod Hall earlier in the day:
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