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Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 09/25/15

Guests: Chester Gillis, E.J. Dionne, Fr. Timothy Kesicki, Ray Flynn, Fr. Kevin O`Brien, Timothy Kesicki, Chester Ellis, George Weigel

CHESTER GILLIS, PROF. OF THEOLOGY AT GEORGETOWN UNIV.: Yes, the mass is identical all over the world. This is interesting because you have the pope speaking in English and then Spanish, and now the main segment of mass in Latin. So -- and this is clearly the language of the church, but not generally the language of the people anywhere in the world anymore. So it`s a very interesting combination within this liturgy and it adds to a certain reverence (ph) (INAUDIBLE) liturgy, I`m sure. MATTHEWS: How many places in the world do you have the Tridentine mass, the Latin mass, still celebrated? GILLIS: Well, there still are places in the world that this is celebrated. They have permission to celebrate it in all dioceses around the world. But it`s a small segment of the community and the priesthood that celebrates (INAUDIBLE) and this is not the Tridentine (ph) mass, by the way. This is the contemporary mass (INAUDIBLE) in Latin. (INAUDIBLE) probably in some of the older Catholics (INAUDIBLE), but younger generation would not be. MATTHEWS: Yes, I grew up as an alter boy. We had Latin mass all the time growing up. Thank you for joining us. Joining us -- with us now is also NBC senior Vatican analyst George Weigel. George, thanks again for your thoughts about this mass we`re watching here in this enormous amphitheater, Madison Square Garden. GEORGE WEIGEL, SR. VATICAN ANALYST: Chris, what occurs to me is that we might not (ph) have tried to link this to the remarkable events earlier today. We saw the pope at the U.N. as a voice attempting to bring some moral reasoning (INAUDIBLE) politics. We saw him as a healer at Ground Zero, at the memorial to the victims of 9/11. Now we`re seeing him in the role that ties all that together. He`s a Catholic priest. And what the church does at holy mass, what the church does at the Eucharist is what makes sense of everything else. Without this, we are simply another non-governmental organization. The pope has said that on innumerable occasions. He doesn`t want the church to simply be another NGO. So what`s happening here at Madison Square Garden is what makes sense of the whole business, the service, outreach, the dialogue with other world religions. It all comes out of this celebration of the Eucharist, which the Second Vatican Council called the source and summit of the church`s life.    POPE FRANCIS I: Deliver us Lord, we pray (INAUDIBLE) evil (ph). (INAUDIBLE) grant peace in our days that by the help (ph) of the mercy (ph), we may be always free from sin and safe from all the stress as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our savior Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, Peace I leave (ph) you, my peace I give you. Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your (ph) church. (INAUDIBLE) grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will, who lives and reigns forever and ever. CONGREGATION: Amen. POPE FRANCIS I: The peace of the Lord be with you always. CONGREGATION: And with your spirit. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us offer each other the sign of peace. MATTHEWS: While we watch communion time here at this very high mass, let`s have a chance here to talk with E.J. Dionne. He`s joining us here, watching the very impressive mass with the pope at Madison Square Garden. E.J., thank you for joining us. I see you occasionally at Blessed Sacrament. It`s the same mass, but this is quite grand, isn`t it. E.J. DIONNE, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: It`s a really beautiful mass, and it was striking to hear the Latin, which is a universal language in the church, even though it`s largely forgotten, and you and I probably as kids have to learn some very difficult parts of the mass in Latin. MATTHEWS: Right. DIONNE: But I have to say I have been so struck during this mass, during his sermon and I think throughout this trip about the emphasis that Pope Francis puts on love and mercy. I mean, he can -- you can preach a God a judgment, and that God never disappears. You can preach a God of justice, and a God of justice is very much part of what he`s talking about.    But he constantly comes back to a God of love and mercy. He said in his sermon about Jesus, he keeps telling the disciples to go out -- to where they are, not where we think they should be. And he specifically talked about a merciful father. And the other two things that really struck me over the last couple of days are the intense humility of this man. And it`s not just a personal humility, but it`s an intellectual humility. It was very powerful in that speech in Congress when he said, Don`t divide the world into the righteous and the sinner. He said the are no churches immune from delusion or extremism, but the overwhelming thing is joy. You know, he wrote a document called "The Joy of the Gospel." And the one time I got close to him was at Catholic Charities here in D.C., and he radiates joy with everybody he meets. And when you think about the combination of humility and joy, that is appealing way beyond the confines of the Catholic church. I got a couple of e-mails from non-believing friends who said, Gee, do I have to believe to belong to the Catholic church? They were so struck by Francis at the Capitol when he said, Even if you don`t believe, wish me well. Oddly, preaching a gospel that way as opposed to saying, I am right and you are wrong -- this way is much more evangelical. MATTHEWS: Professor Gillis, you know that -- I wanted you to continue your thoughts about the ritual here and the role of Latin. Are we going to keep some role for Latin? GILLIS: It is the language of the church, so I think it`ll always be a part of the church, and it can be used anywhere in the world. The Eucharist can be celebrated in any language, in African languages, in Western European languages, Indoeuropean languages. Latin is just one among those. I wanted to make one comment following on E.J. of saying the opening prayer was -- he said, May God ask us to be an instrument of his peace. And the gospel and the reflection he had was, A people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light. Well, this man is an instrument of peace and he is a great light. MATTHEWS: Father Kesicki, tell us about the Jesuit aspect of this pope. Do you feel it when you observe what he does and what he says? Do you hear the philosophy lessons the Jesuits particularly are given as part of that 15-year effort to become a Jesuit priest? FR. TIMOTHY KESICKI, JESUIT CONF. OF CANADA AND THE U.S. : Well, he`s clearly is a son of St. Ignatius Loyola. And when one looks at the founding principle and foundation of the society, to really -- to serve the church under the banner of the cross, you see that in the life of Pope Francis. You know, in his homily -- this mass, incidentally, the missal for this mass is a mass for justice and peace. And when he talks about the prince of peace, he`s -- many of us tend to think that we`re just praying for peace in distant countries or in other parts of the world.    But he connects it to us personally. He says that Christ removes us from the fray of competition and self-absorption and opens before us the path of peace, that peace which is born of accepting others, that peace which fills our hearts. So he`s really calling everyone who`s watching, everyone in Madison Square Garden, to be an instrument of Christ`s peace -- again, a very Jesuit, very Ignatian theme that we are all called to serve Christ this way. DIONNE: And Chris, I was so struck -- if I could -- when you spoke to Mayor Flynn about ethnicity. And we who write about politics are mostly accustomed to talking about ethnic groups in the city and why they hate each other and why they vote against each other. And I was struck that what -- when the pope referred to this, he said, In this place, with all its variety and the common interests of so many people -- so he automatically went not to differences leading to conflict, but to differences leading to common interests. It doesn`t always happen in our politics, but that`s the aspiration that he laid out for us. MATTHEWS: Mayor Flynn, I want to bring you back in. And how do -- you`re a very -- I think people think of you as a conservative Catholic on the issue of abortion rights and really being strict with the church on that and very observant to its teachings. And yet the people that have had the most -- biggest public reaction to this pontiff have been those on the liberal side -- in fact, those on the lapsed -- lapsed side of Catholicism. How do the two groups get together, the people who have been observant and have accepted the church`s doctrine and teaching authority, and those who have questioned it and those who have found a way around it through cafeteria Catholicism? RAY FLYNN, FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE VATICAN: Chris, I`m a Democrat and always have. I grew up in South Boston in the labor movement, and so forth. But mostly, I`m a pro-life social and economic justice Catholic committed to the poor. Now, that doesn`t necessarily fit into any political party. Having said that, you know, I don`t have -- I didn`t have very many pictures in the mayor`s office in Boston, but I had one picture -- in fact, for the 10 years that I was mayor, there was one person that ever came into my office of all the prominent people that I had, that recognized the picture, and it was Governor Mario Cuomo of New York. And you know what the picture was? It was Christ in the bread line. Of all these candidates for presidents and presidents of banks that came into my office, they would only see one picture. They didn`t recognize Christ in a soup kitchen, in a bread line. That was a famous picture. They just saw homeless people. And they knew that I was president of the mayors and the chairman of the Homeless Commission. But there it is today. Pope Francis is showing us he sees Christ in the bread line. That`s what I take away from Pope Francis`s comments tonight. Pope Francis saw Christ in the soup kitchen and in the bread line. MATTHEWS: Well, I`m going to add you to my list of one, of Bob Casey, the senator from Pennsylvania. You`re the second...    FLYNN: That`s right. MATTHEWS: ... one that in a political sense... FLYNN: That`s right. MATTHEWS: ... accepts everything the Holy Father speaks about through the magister (ph) of the church. Anyway, joining me right now is Father Kevin O`Brien, a friend of mine. He`s in charge of mission and ministry at Georgetown University. Father O`Brien, it`s great to have you on tonight. And they`re serving communion, of course, now. We`re taking this opportunity to talk to everybody who`s watching right now. And you deal with the ministry of the Jesuit community in Georgetown, the students. People in their early 20s -- I mean, everybody who has a Catholic family knows what I`m talking about, getting kids, and I mean kids in their 20s, to go to church. And the old school was get them out of bed, get them to church or they don`t live in your house anymore. Today, it`s very hard to treat children like that, even young adults like that. How do we do this? FR. KEVIN O`BRIEN, VP FOR MISSION AND MINISTRY, GEORGETOWN UNIV.: Well... MATTHEWS: How does it get done? O`BRIEN: Yes. Thanks, Chris. It`s great to be here. I think the pope`s style is very approachable for young people. He has a way of talking, using images and stories and idiom that really speak to young people. And he also preaches to them where they`re -- where they`re at.    I`m struck here watching this, the mix of the secular and the sacred. I mean, here where the Knicks play and here where Billy Joel plays his monthly concert, we have the holy mass of the Catholic church. And in a sense, the setting fits in perfectly with the homily that we heard -- that is, take what happens here and go out into the streets. And even as he speaks, Pope Francis is always bringing in the people of the street. The people, the working poor, the people that we too easily look over he is always bringing to us through his words, his homilies, his speeches. And I think if there`s one avenue that is most attractive to young people, I find, is the commitment to social justice, that while they may have questions about their faith, their passion for justice is clear and it`s real and it`s vibrant. And often, once many young people engage the works of justice, that`s the avenue into discussions of faith. MATTHEWS: Professor Gillis, tell us about -- while we have a moment here, because I`m fascinated with it -- Thomas Merton. A friend of mine, who`s been recovering alcoholic for 30-some years, very much in the program -- he really points to Thomas Merton`s writings as very important to his recovery effort. And do you have a sense of what that`s all about? GILLIS: Thomas Merton inspired many, many -- his life story, "The Seven Storey Mountain," is a remarkable one. This is a man who left behind a kind of prominent secular life at Columbia University, who was into radical philosophy, and found the gospel. And then -- and so changed his life dramatically and went to a monastery, and within the monastery, lived within a monastery within a monastery. He lived separate from the rest of the community for a time in isolation as a kind of a hermit. Well, that`s a huge transformation in anybody`s life, and your friend obviously was inspired by that. And clearly, this pope is inspired by him. And I was so delighted to hear his name mentioned, with Dorothy Day. Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King I think Americans are familiar with, but these other figures they`re are not. And these have been hugely influential figures on social justice issues and spirituality and bringing the two together. And also, for our friend, the monk, it was always a dialogue with other religions, as well. He was very interested in the "other," not simply the Christian, not simply the Catholic, but whoever was "other" in any way, including the atheist. And this pope seems to be the same. MATTHEWS: George Weigel, put together that -- I call it a spiritual Mt. Rushmore. How do you put all four together? Is it -- how does that add to something that -- that has a symmetry to it, a unity to it? WEIGEL: Chris, when I was talking with Pope Francis about 16 months ago in Rome, he made a very sharp distinction between what he called men of power and men of principle. He`s very suspicious of the former and very admiring of the latter.    And if we look at Lincoln, Dr. King, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, we see people who had flaws, people who were sinners, but who all cooperated with the grace of God in their lives, as they understood God to be working in their lives, to do great things and to be forces of liberation for others. I read a lot of Thomas Merton when I was in high school and college. I used to have his picture on my desk. He did more to introduce Americans to classic and monastic spirituality than anyone in the 20th century. Dorothy Day, a life of endless adventure, a woman who had a bit of a walk on the wild side in her early life, who became a staunch advocate of social justice, a great pro-life witness, supporter of Paul VI`s encyclical Humanae Vitae -- that`s an element you don`t hear mentioned very often. And then, of course, Dr. King and President Lincoln, who in their own unique ways had very interesting relationships with the Lord, with the power of God, and struggled to bend that power as it works in human lives to the ends of liberation. So it was remarkable panoply, and I thought a real kind of love song to America and a summons to us to perhaps be a bit better than we have been in recent months and years. MATTHEWS: And, E.J., your last thought, because I think you probably have thought a lot about Dorothy Day over the years because of your concern, and I know you follow, going back to the encyclical of the Rerum Novarum back under Leo XIII and the social gospel of the Catholic Church. DIONNE: I have a letter that Dorothy Day wrote to a friend of my mom`s hanging in my Georgetown office. It`s sort of my religious relic. And I was overjoyed with the list that the pope offered. And I think, for all of us -- and this includes liberals, not just conservatives -- there is a radicalism about both Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. Dorothy Day was a radical pacifist. It was so striking to hear the reading, offer no resistance to one who is evil. Turn the other cheek. That is Dorothy Day. And I`m not a pacifist myself, but I have always been challenged by that. Merton, the same way, Merton was always looking for truth in God wherever he could find it, and very much in common with Pope Francis, he spent years in dialogue with Eastern religion, with Buddhist monks. He saw a lot of commonality in the monastic life. And so for the pope to list these figures, Lincoln and King for sure, but these two figures who are among the most radical people in the American tradition, I think that laid down a real challenge for all Americans and particularly for Catholics. MATTHEWS: Father Kesicki, would this surprise the Jesuit members of the order, that these four Americans were singled out to -- for -- really to get us to read what they had to say? I think that`s -- most of us are going to try to do that.    I`m going to go read "Seven Story Mountain" now, put it next to my bed and get it done, because I am impressed that the pope said this is the book you should read or this is the man you should follow. KESICKI: Well, I think members of the Jesuit order would first look to the name he chose, Francis. And I must say I knew it was for Saint Francis of Assisi soon after he was elected, because Saint Ignatius, in his autobiography, frequently asked, what would Francis and Dominic have done? So, Saint Ignatius Loyola looked to others. And so, it is characteristic that Pope Francis would look -- well, certainly, he would look to the culture of the United States, to Lincoln and King, but also to Merton, a Cistercian, and to Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement. He would not -- he is in no way interested in promoting his own order or any particular agenda, rather recognizing holiness where he sees it. MATTHEWS: We are going to continue watching this high mass from Madison Square Garden through the end. It`s quite a moment for Catholics and other people to see the Catholic Church in its grandeur here, but also to remember, I think very important to keep in mind the best work of the church is with the poor and the sick and the old -- elderly and the teaching role the church plays every day of the week, especially the work done by the nuns, who aren`t so evident here tonight. (MUSIC) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us keep prayerful silence for some brief moments. POPE FRANCIS, LEADER OF CATHOLIC CHURCH: Let us pray. We pray, oh, lord, the spirit of charity, so that sustained the body and blood of your only begotten son, we may be effective in nurturing among all the peace that he has left us, to live (INAUDIBLE) forever and ever. AUDIENCE: Amen.    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Papa Francesco, at every single mass, every single day, we pray for and in union with Francis, our pope, and now here you are. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is -- it is clear how much we welcome you, how much we love you, how much we need you, how much we thank you for your visit. You -- you have seen our cathedral. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have seen our cathedral. You have seen our Catholic schools. You have seen our Catholic charities. And now you lead us in the most important and powerful act we can do, the holy sacrifice of the mass. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You -- here you see, Papa Francesco, people from all of our Parishes, our leaders, our religious sisters and brothers, our seminarians, our deacons, our priests, our bishops. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our organizations, our ministries, our ecumenical and inter-religious neighbors, so many benefactors and civic leaders, God`s faithful people. It is so radiant on an evening like this, is it not, my brothers and sisters that God... (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is so radiantly evident that God is our father, that Jesus is our lord, our savior, our older brother, that Mary is our mother, that saints... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... like Isaac Jogues and the Jesuit North American Martyrs, Saint Kateri, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Saint John Neumann, Saint Marianne Cope, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Saint Patrick are our relatives. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is so dazzlingly evident this evening that the church is our family. And you, our Holy Father, thanks for visiting us, your family. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) POPE FRANCIS: The lord be with you. Blessed is the name of the lord. Our heart is in the name of the lord. May almighty God bless you, in the father, and the son and the Holy Spirit. AUDIENCE: Amen. POPE FRANCIS: Go in peace. Glorify the lord by your life. AUDIENCE: Thanks be to God.    POPE FRANCIS: And, please, I ask you, don`t forget to pray for me. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) MATTHEWS: Father Kesicki, "Don`t forget to pray for me," I think Americans love that. KESICKI: Yes. You know, it`s interesting. When you remember the words that the Holy Father concluded at the U.N. he asked -- he promised the prayers of the church for peace. And then, tonight, he asked for us to pray for him. And it reminds me of the first moment he came out on the loggia in Saint Peter`s Square, really his first act, public act, as pope. He prayed for his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, and then he asked the people to pray for him. And I know people who were on Saint Peter`s Square there that night, and hundreds of thousands of people gathered there and on the (INAUDIBLE) and they said you could hear a pin drop, it was so quiet, the way people prayed for him. So, it`s a very endearing quality of this Holy Father. MATTHEWS: Mayor Flynn, I would have to say, being from Philly and you from Boston, that New York gave him quite a welcome tonight. What a demonstrative performance by the cardinal. RAY FLYNN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE VATICAN: Thank you. You know, you know, Chris, I was thinking he came to the White House. He came to the United Nations, the nation`s Capitol, to speak before Congress, and in my favorite athletic place that I played ball with, with Madison Square Garden. But, tomorrow, Chris, he is going to go to the most -- he is going to meet the most important institution in America, in the world. That is the American family, the family. That is the root of the soul and the heart of the -- of America.    And, Chris, I would say one other thing, because I heard you say beautifully yesterday about you gave the homily at your aunt`s funeral, sister of Saint Joseph, who taught me -- you know, yesterday at Saint Patrick`s Church, the Holy Father praised the nuns and thanked them for all that they did. Saint Patrick`s Cathedral stood up. One last thing, Chris. I think, tomorrow, you are going to see a great recognition of special-needs children, handicapped children, and their courageous and their heroic mothers and fathers. If they never had anybody with them, if they never felt they had anybody with them now, they have the pope and they have the support of the Catholic Church and the American public. MATTHEWS: Yes. And you and I know, growing up, how many families had Down syndrome children who raised them right to adulthood, stuck with them right from the beginning, with full, incredible devotion. (CROSSTALK) FLYNN: I have got a little boy right with me right now, my little grandson Braeden, 9-year-old, born with a rare neurological disease. The pope provides hope for him when medical community can`t provide any solution. MATTHEWS: Let me go to E.J. Dionne for a second just to give us some thoughts, because, again, it`s not my role to be critical. I`m not a critic on this. But these are church rituals with all men. And the women from Sunday to Sunday, in between, do all the work of the church. They are there every day. I spent so much time there last weekend with them. It`s something under played for people in the wonderful ritual of the church. There is nothing there for the nuns. E.J. DIONNE, THE WASHINGTON POST: No, I mean, without the nuns the church would have collapsed a long time ago. They are the people who are closest to all of those Pope Francis talks about. They are the people who run the hospitals. They are the people who started the schools and in many cases still teach there. They are in all of these places of need. I thought it was very striking at the vespers service last night that the lines that the pope spoke about the sisters, about the nuns got the most sustained applause it was almost like and perhaps I am reading something into this but the congregation about nuns in particular, but perhaps also about women in the church. And, of course, one of the things that Francis did that a lot of Catholics welcome is that he ended this kind of investigation into the American nuns. And I think some of what he said in praising them for being outspoken was important. But I think the audience was acting in support of them. So, yes, I think that struck me at a lot of these events, as well. It is something the church will have to keep thinking about and maybe someday doing something about.    MATTHEWS: Yes, I saw the same snap of the crowd that went up, the women in the back row specially. That was so much a statement in itself. Let`s go inside Madison Square Garden to someone there, my associate, my colleague, national correspondent Joy Reid. Joy, you are in there. What don`t we see? What don`t we feel? What don`t we smell besides the incense which I can imagine, I spent a lot of my youth with that incense. JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, I can tell you the Catholic Church put on display. (INAUDIBLE) it`s home to people on display here today you saw people speaking in multiple languages. You saw the pope give a beautiful homily in Spanish and quite eloquent in Spanish. You saw people greetings and prayer in French and Italian, et cetera. Before the pope even arrived here. there was a service that was actually a lure to get people to come here early. So to lure people earlier they had incredible program. (INAUDIBLE) It is now wrapping up so they can be cleared back out of message. Back to you, Chris. MATTHEWS: Quite a challenge to hear above the music right there. Joy, thank you. What did you sense among the people there? I think most people there are Catholic based upon their responses to -- (INAUDIBLE)    REID: I can tell you that I spoke with a number of people -- MATTHEWS: We will have to go -- technical problem. Let`s go to Anne Thompson. She`s outside of Madison Square Garden. She joins us now. Boy, what a familiar spot in New York that is. Anne, tell us about the people outside. ANNE THOMPSON, NBC NEWS: It has been amazing, Chris. I am looking over here. I can see the corner of 34th and 8th Avenue. And it is jammed. I kid you not, there are people, kids on their dad`s shoulders. People have papal flags. I see some Cuban flags in the crowd. And it is people have stood out here extraordinary patiently, which would not be a hallmark of the New York crowd, just hoping to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis. As I was walking here this evening, I heard women talking just trying to figure out where they could go so they could see him. He has become such a powerful symbol to people, a symbol of compassion, a symbol of mercy, a symbol of inclusion. That was something, a theme that went through his remarks last night at St. Patrick`s Cathedral when before giving his formal remarks, he wanted to reach out to as he called them his brother Muslims and offer his condolences for what happened in Mecca. And then today at Ground Zero at the interfaiths gathering, I just thought it was extraordinary. You had all these different religions represented. It was a way of showing that everybody felt the pain of what happened that day at ground zero and yet we only come together only if we come together can we really heal. I think that measure, that message of inclusion has really impressed people in the 2 1/2 years that he has been pope. MATTHEWS: You know New York and thought the service tonight, the mass, especially the comments by the Cardinal Timothy Dolan, were as much New York as they were Catholic. My God, it was like Chuck Schumer was up there. It was a very demonstrative appeal. You know what I`m -- talk about chutzpah, when he said -- THOMPSON: Listen, Tim Dolan, if he wasn`t cardinal of New York, he`d be mayor of New York.    MATTHEWS: I think so because when he went out there and said, we prayed for you every mass in New York and, of course, all over the United States we do that, and then he said, there you are with us. It was such a grab for the audience and the audience came right back and applauded for like five minutes just to applaud his presence. It was like somebody had to do it and Tim Dolan did it. The magic is not that he exists, but that he is here. That is the wonderful showmanship and big heart of New York City expressed by its cardinal. Thank you so much. This is an odd way usually you go to mass and attend. The music is great and it has been a great evening here for MSNBC to cover it. Anne, thank you. Anne Thompson. Joining me now is Chester Gillis, theology professor at Georgetown University, an expert in the Catholic Church and papacy. Professor, what did you make to the pope`s reaction to the grand demonstration of New York-ism by the cardinal, that grandiosity, if you will? CHESTER GILLIS, PROF. OF THEOLOGY, GEORGETOWN UNIV.: Well, he greeted it with a million dollar smile which I thought was terrific. Despite his humility, he has a sense of joy that comes out to everyone. When I watch this, I thought, I feel like the whole country went to mass tonight whether you are a Catholic or not. The ritual is beautiful. It was well executed. The homily was inspiring. I mean, how could you not leave this venue thinking this is a great church and this is a great man to lead it with a message from the gospel that is transformative for the world? That is exactly what I think should be doing. It is the leaven for our society. Not the exclusive one. By the way, I was surprised. I thought Cardinal Dolan was the mayor of New York. MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, professor, about the trajectory coming out of this. I think the pope is as much a tourist as anyone. Living to be 78 years old in Latin America, way down in Buenos Aires, down there in Cordoba, and then to be thinking about the United States whenever he picks up a newspaper and to have an idea about it and then to see the reality, it must have shaken him to realize how joyous a country we are and we are not a bunch of capitalists. He met a lot of rich people there in New York. But I have to tell you, there is a lot of vitality in this country. I wonder how it struck him. GILLIS: I think in two ways. One is the preparation he did for this trip was so obvious. So many venues, so many speeches or homilies or prayers all sensitively constructed around the American experience. It`s almost like he lives here. When he went to the Congress and said, the home of the free and the brave and everybody -- it was just -- MATTHEWS: He knew how to get to us. GILLIS: He understands our society so much better now that he has seen it. Obviously he can`t help but be delighted with the response that he has gotten. This is so good for him as a support when saying pray for him and the support after a very rough decade.    MATTHEWS: Yes, I think saying we are a good country in so many ways not a perfect country but a good country is a powerful message. He seemed to be delivering that. Joining me right now is my friend of my mine, Father Kevin O`Brien of Georgetown. He`s in charge of mission and ministry at Georgetown University, one of the great universities. Father O`Brien, your thoughts near the end of our broadcast. I thought this is so New York, New York, the town they like so much they named it twice. FATHER KEVIN O`BRIEN, GEORGETOWN: Yes, I just agree speaking about how the whole country seemed to go to mass tonight. I thank MSNBC for sticking with it, because I think we got a taste for the beauty of the Catholic Church, but also its sort of gritty reality. The diversity of languages and cultures expressed, and the variety of music and different languages we heard. It is inspiring. But I loved how in the homily the pope brought out he talked about real people. The forgotten people, the people on the streets who we don`t notice, the people working to support our lives. I think in every venue he is trying to bring our attention, every American, every person in the world to all of the people whom to all the people whom we are most likely to overlook, and he`ll either talk about them or he`ll go greet them and there will be a picture of them with the pope. And I think the gospel, which we heard tonight, should always be challenging to us. It should console. But it`s got to challenge all of us, Catholic or not, to live with more integrity and to put words into action and faith into justice and to try to make this world a more just and gentle place. And I think if there`s a theme, he began this morning talking about reconciliation at the U.N. and talking about specific issues and he ends tonight talking about how we will do the work with God`s help and the help of one another. MATTHEWS: Mayor Flynn, I want to give you a chance to talk about contrasts here. For weeks now, we`ve been covering a personality in our American political world who has a big mouth, he`s very proud of himself. He talks about being rich. He talks about people who are not rich as losers. He makes fun of people because of their looks. Now, we have a pope who comes in and talks to the people at the periphery, the people who have been forgotten, the anonymous people. What a contrast. Maybe that`s why we`re all in such a good mood. RAY FLYNN, FORMER BOSTON MAYOR: Well, I think the reason why we`re feeling so good is because we saw and heard a very humble man, a very genuine man, a man who reflects the values of the Catholic faith and the teachings of the Jesus Christ. I mean, this has been around, Chris, for 2,000 years. And my father was a dock worker, never had much education, but he said to me, Ray, everything will change over time. The only thing that will never change is the truth. We heard the truth in Washington. We heard the truth here in New York. And we`re going to hear the truth tomorrow in Philadelphia. That`s the message that Pope Francis brought to this country. And we are grateful for his presence. MATTHEWS: Was he from Charlestown? Your father?    FLYNN: No, he`s from South Boston. But he was a dockworker. My wife`s father was a dockworker from Charlestown. And my father was a dockworker from South Boston. And nobody could be prouder of their Catholic faith and their family than they were. MATTHEWS: Let me go to E.J. Dionne for another crack at the contrast of our news coverage. MSNBC I think has been very honored to be able to cover the pope`s visit basically gavel to gavel. And it`s been an honor for me to work with Brian Williams and the rest of us to do that. And after so much Trump, what do you think? DIONNE: I think the pope should extend his visit two or three more weeks because it might have -- we might have a little less Trump. I mean, it is one of his miracles. He`s driven Trump off cable television. (LAUGHTER) MATTHEWS: I`m laughing at the idiocy that we do find entertaining of Trump. But it is all the values we were taught against in Catholic school, bragging about being -- even using the word "rich," we weren`t supposed to use, talking about poor people as losers, making fun of people`s faces, all the things that you were taught as the most basic moral structure of your lives. And it is entertaining I suppose in a sick way to watch someone be so disrespectful of those values. But my God, this is a pope who said those are the values that you should honor. DIONNE: He turned Trump on his head. You know, Trump is talking about not welcoming immigrants. The pope is all about welcoming immigrants and said, don`t look at numbers. You`re not supposed to brag about being rich. I mean, he just said today that you that needed to be liberated from too much striving and to take some time to look out for others. So, yes, I think for us, it was a fantastic change of pace. If I could say one other thing, I was struck by his quoting Isaiah in his sermon today. He talks about -- Isaiah talks about bringing glad tidings to the poor, healing to the afflicted, liberty to captives, and comfort to those who mourn. I think that is what people hope that religion might do. I think even non-religious people. And I thought that passage from Isaiah really captured what this trip, what Pope Francis has been doing on this trip. And again, that`s a real relief from what we are accustomed to talking about most evenings together.    MATTHEWS: I know. Father Kesicki, let`s talk about this. It`s almost as if this pontiff is trying to keep going the reformation, the Catholic counter-reformation, rather, trying to get away from the trappings that Benedict so much exemplified, the grandeur of St. Peter`s, the papacy itself, the cardinal in Boston has done that. But trying to get away from all the stuff that elevates the leaders of the church and separates them from the people who really need the church. FR. TIMOTHY KESICKI, JESUIT CONF. OF CANADA AND THE U.S.: You know, I think -- first it`s important to say, Chris, that Pope Francis really does believe in the continuity of the papacy and we know he still has a strong relationship with his predecessor, Pope Benedict. But we knew his archbishop of Buenos Aires, he gave up the palace. He lived in an apartment. He took public transportation. He felt that the best way to preach the gospel was to live like one who is poor. And so, going to Rome and living in the Vatican, he has continued along that path and he has said basically that there really is no imperial papacy, one doesn`t need a palace, one doesn`t need a limousine, one doesn`t need those trappings to define himself. He wants to be seen as a poor shepherd, one who walks with a simple staff like Christ. Always remember that when he realized that the cardinals had elected him, he turned to a really revered figure, Cardinal Hummes. And Cardinal Hummes said to him, don`t forget the poor. That`s when he knew that the name he would choose was Francis. So, he said repeatedly, I want a poor church for the poor. And so, we should likewise do the same, to give up the trappings in our own life so we can be more like him. MATTHEWS: Let`s go right now to NBC`s Rehema Ellis. She`s at the Apostolic Nunciature where Pope Francis will be spending the night tonight. Rehema, what`s it like there? It seems like every time the pope goes back to where he`s staying at night there`s a gaggle of great-looking young kids cheering him like he`s whatever, the pope. REHEMA ELLIS, NBC NEWS: Well, here it`s a little bit different, Chris. This is almost like a fortress. We know that the pope is on his way because they are stopping vehicular traffic from moving here on Madison Avenue, and they even stopped pedestrians from moving. You see one or two people now. But this will all come to a halt as the pope makes his way here back to the residence. There are even lookouts on the roofs of the building surrounding the area. But the pope made an effort today to get close to people here at this residence. They invited some people in at 6:00 this morning who had an opportunity to see the pope. And this afternoon a bus of folks from the Ronald McDonald house came, parents and their children, many of them suffering from pediatric cancer, illnesses. And we talked with one mother whose 10-year-old daughter has cancer. She`s been treated for the last six years. And she said to me, the fact that the pope blessed her daughter and the other children here at a time when they feel there is no hope and there`s so much difficulty, this gave them hope. This pope reached out to them.    And that`s the kind of thing, it really is the signature I think of this pope that while people are being kept away from him, he invited people in, Chris. MATTHEWS: Rehema, that`s so great. I watched the mass in Madison Square Garden, as you did. And I saw one of the people in the audience was quadriplegic, you know, had trouble breathing and the whole works in that condition. And I was thinking about how people in that condition really do look to spiritual wonders, even miracles. You know what I mean? It`s like anything gives hope. ELLIS: It really is. And the woman who was here, she was from Toronto, Canada, with her daughter. And she said while she is Catholic, there were other people who came today to get a blessing from the pope who are not Catholic but they are reaching, they are looking, they are searching. They`re hoping for something to help heal their children. And the pope is here willing to offer his blessing, they would gladly receive it. And again, he in turn asked these children and these parents to pray for him and to offer him their good wishes. MATTHEWS: Rehema, thanks for that reporting from where the pope`s going to end up tonight. As he prepares to go to Philadelphia very early tomorrow. I want to thank my wonderful group of guests tonight. We come from all over. We`re joined throughout our coverage of the pope`s mass this night. Ambassador Ray Flynn, a great fella. Father Timothy Kesicki, I just met him. E.J. Dionne, I`ve known forever. Chester Ellis of Georgetown. George Weigel has been our great friend in understanding the papacy. And a wonderful priest, Kevin O`Brien. That does it for me this evening and our live coverage of Pope Francis celebrating mass in Madison Square Garden in New York City. It`s been an honor to work with Brian and the others. By the way, here comes the pope. I`m going to hold off my pope. Here we watch the motorcycle escort coming up Madison Avenue, I believe, on the east side of New York. It`s a great place to walk late at night, by the way. And the pope comes to New York, a cultural phenomenon in itself exemplified by the over-the-top, wonderful performance by the cardinal. We don`t see the Fiat yet. But you`ll notice it when it does come by because it`s not like these black mariahs that everybody else is driving. There it is. There we got it. Here we got it. And he usually waves. You can see him in the car. There is the pope waving out the window, out the window. So he`s saying good night to us as we go off our broadcast. Join me tomorrow morning. I`ll be here in Philadelphia right at this spot very early tomorrow, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Eastern when we`ll be live in maybe the great city of Philadelphia -- well, the greatest city, I should say, for full coverage of the pontiff`s events.    By the way, Philadelphia was the reason he came. Stay tuned right now. Our coverage continues now on "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES". Tonight with Alex Wagner, in for Chris. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>