In a year-end interview with The Associated Press, McCarrick said he believes John Paul's legacy will be his teachings on "the dignity of the human person that begins at conception until the day God calls us home." And he believes that John Paul's ability to connect with people was a great blessing.And his thoughts on the new occupant of the Shoes of the Fisherman?
"Because he was the pope, he was able to tell them -- with a smile -- not only did he love them, but in a more profound way God loved them," McCarrick said. "I think that's a message that this world needed to know, and John Paul was the great proclaimer of that message."
"Pope Benedict is wonderful in the way he is very clearly saying, 'I'm not John Paul II,'" McCarrick said.McCarrick marks his fifth anniversary as archbishop of Washington tomorrow. He will spend the year continuing to burnish his own signature work of encouraging greater kindness and civility toward others, one rooted in his own example.
"He's going to be his own man, happily his own man and powerfully his own man. He is a man of immense learning," McCarrick said. "We will find more carefully worded instructions and teachings. Even though he is known as a brilliant theologian, a very complex teacher, he comes across as a very humble man, a very shy man, a very gracious man."
"We're going through a troubling time. We shouldn't become more nasty, more annoyed," he said. "The troubles should make us become more patient with each other. I would love to see more civility in American life, in government life, in private life and to see more civility in the church, too."This was echoed in a reflection the Cardinal gave on Vatican Radio to mark the end of 2005. (Link opens in RealAudio.)
He added: "At times of crisis in our lives and the nation, the first thing we need to do is think less of ourselves and more of other people."
In sum, he's our American Gandhi. And just as thin, to boot.