Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the popular Archbishop of New York who was just a few days ago in the running to become the next leader of the Catholic church, spoke with msnbc's Chris Jansing in Rome Thursday about the Cardinal Colleges' selection of the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the new Pope.
"His tender love for the poor is a constant priority for him," Dolan told Jansing. "And that affected us. You can't sit in the Sistine Chapel, underneath Michelangelo's 'Last Judgment,' in the most renowned setting in the whole world, where Jesus is saying 'Hey, all of you who are good to the poor come to heaven. All of you who turn your back on the poor, literally, go to hell.' To elect a man who just radiated the sense of loving embrace of the poor, that was very important."
Nearly a decade younger than his fellow Cardinal electors, Dolan is fairly new to the centuries-old conclave procedure to elect the pope. The average age of the 115 men who elected the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires to become the new Pope Francis is 72.
"I feel like a kid in the College of Cardinals. It's the only place where they call me 'sonny,'" Dolan told Jansing.
Dolan described Pope Francis, at 76, as "vigorous" and "indefatigable."
"He's up to it. His health is good," Dolan said.
Jansing asked Dolan if he expected changes in church doctrine over the issues like gay marriage, LGBT rights, celibacy for priests, and contraception - issues she reported American Catholics had voiced concern about.
"If people are as you said disappointed, it's probably an accurate sentiment, because he's not going to change anything on that," Dolan replied.
Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope, visited Santa Maria Maggiore Thursday, signaling a deep respect for his role as the Bishop of Rome.
"He's already done some things to say, 'I'm going to stress that. I want to do for Rome what I did in Buenos Aires and I'm going to make Rome a model of what the church should be and the rest of the world can perhaps learn from that example,'" Dolan said of Francis's first 24 hours as Pope. "I think we're going to see a lot of energy and hope."