Cardinal Dolan "startled" by pope's decision to resign

(CBS News) NEW YORK -- CBS News sat down with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, on Monday to get his reaction on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.

SCOTT PELLEY: Were you surprised this morning?

CARDINAL DOLAN: Was I ever startled -- yes I was.

PELLEY: What's next? This hasn't happened in nearly 600 years.

DOLAN: This hasn't happened in six centuries, has it? Now, we know what happens when a pope dies. Whether the same protocol will click in, I don't know. I'll be waiting to -- to see. I would presume that what would happen is that the College of Cardinals would be summoned to Rome, to be there for March 1, because once the chair is vacant, by church law, the College of Cardinals would be -- would be -- would oversee the day in, day out pastoral leadership and governance of the church universal.

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PELLEY: The pope was very conservative, in a doctrinal sort of way, when a lot of American Catholics are looking for a pope to lead into a new era, maybe for women in the church, for example.

Watch: Cardinal Dolan says pope's decision to resign makes him admire the pontiff even more, below.

DOLAN: Yeah, they have to realize, Scott, that the job description of the pope is to conserve. You know, to conserve the patrimony of the faith, so it shouldn't surprise us, of course, that a pope would be -- would be conservative, in the best sense of the word.

PELLEY: Would you expect that the College of Cardinals to give us a pope very similar to the man who appointed them and elected him?

DOLAN: I think Catholics in general, and certainly the College of Cardinals, would look for a man who's able to articulate the truths of the faith with -- with -- in a compelling way -- in a compelling, credible way. A man of deep piety. A man who knows the church universal and the needs of the people throughout the world. Those would be some of the things I think that -- that people would look for. And Benedict XVI had that.

  • Scott Pelley

    Correspondent, "60 Minutes"