Three members of the Roman Catholic Cuomo family shared their thoughts on the new pope on Thursday, and shockingly enough the further they are from political office, the more critical they were of the pontiff. The governor’s younger sister, Madeline, told Crain’s New York Business, “I don’t think he’s what we need right now in the Catholic Church. We’re looking to move the church forward, with gay marriage and women priests.” Her father, Mario Cuomo, said he admires Pope Francis, but doesn’t think his background has “taught him how to deal with the high pressure of huge problems in the church.” He also noted that the new pope is dealing with questions about women and whether priests can marry, which has “led to a lot of unhappy relationships and ugly relationships by people who are basically sick.”
As a divorced man who lives with his longtime girlfriend, is pro-choice, and supports same-sex marriage, the governor has clashed with the church on occasion, but he gave the most diplomatic response of the three Cuomos. He told the New York Times that he hadn’t heard his family’s responses, “but all Cuomos are entitled to their own opinions.”
When asked for his opinion, Governor Cuomo said, “I think it’s exciting that he’s from the Americas — that is a positive.” He added, “His life story is inspirational in many ways. Obviously, we’re just learning about him, but what you hear about him, the decisions he’s made, the way he’s led his life, the modesty of it, the humbleness of it, I think is quite praiseworthy.” Spoken like a man who’s meeting with bishops tomorrow to discuss New York’s new abortion law, and who hopes to one day have a more formal relationship with the new Vatican leader.