Every weekday morning, Fox News Channel anchor Eric Bolling arrives for work in midtown Manhattan. But before he digs into the meat of his day preparing to be on the panel for the afternoon roundtable show “The Five,” he makes time for an authority even higher than FNC boss Roger Ailes.
“I drive into the city,” he tells Zap2it, “park my car, come up to my office, turn on the computer, make sure there’s no fires that need to be put out. Then I put my jacket back on and literally walk over to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, light the candles, come back. I don’t do it because I’m supposed to do it; I do it because I like it. It makes me feel good, knowing that I’ve done that.
“I light five candles. One, two, three, four, five — get it?”
He’s noticed a little change in the crowds at the Roman Catholic cathedral since the election of Pope Francis — formerly Argentinian Cardinal Jose Mario Bergoglio — at the Vatican in Rome on March 13, 2013.
“I’ve got to tell you,” he says, “there are a lot more people there every day. Maybe it’s the TV coverage, maybe it’s the new pope, but Catholics are certainly more aware. Maybe it’s going to bring Catholics back to the Church, which would be a good thing.”
The Chicago native has a very personal reason for liking the new pontiff, who is a member of the Society of Jesus religious order, whose members are popularly known as Jesuits. Among other things, Jesuits frequently work as educators, both at the secondary and university levels.
“The more I learned about [Pope Francis],” says Bolling, “of course, I liked him. I went to Jesuit high school. I’m Jesuit-educated, which I think is fantastic. I loved every minute of my Jesuit education.”
Even though aspired to a career in professional baseball — the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted him, but an injury cut his career short — and later on made his fortune as a commodities trader on the New York Mercantile Exchange before moving on to television, Bolling appreciates Pope Francis’ humble style.
It’s symbolized in his choice of a name, which honors St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals who is also famed for his piety and his devotion to the poor.
Bolling was especially impressed when the pope visited with the crowds before his Installation Mass on Tuesday, March 19, trading in the enclosed “popemobile” for an open Jeep, and jumping down to meet with the people — including planting kisses on a handicapped man in a friend’s arms, and on a baby.
“He just seems like a really nice guy, from everything I’ve learned,” says Bolling. “He lived a very humble lifestyle prior to being elected pope. Pretty impressive. I think he’s the right guy for the Church right now.”
Asked if his financial and news coverage has ever come into conflict with his Catholic faith, Bolling says, “One of the nicest things about working for Roger Ailes is it’s not even an issue. You have your faith, and he respects it. He’s a God-fearing man himself.”
Bolling is also anchor of “Cashin’ In,” part of FNC’s Saturday-morning “The Price of Freedom” business-news block. The March 22 edition marks the third anniversary of President Obama’s health-insurance-reform bill, commonly known as “Obamacare.”
No fan of the legislation, Bolling has plans to mark the occasion.
“I’m throwing a big birthday party for Obamacare,” he says. “It’s going to be on ‘Cashin’ In’ on Saturday morning, at 11:30 a.m. [Eastern]. I have cake; I have candles; I have balloons and confetti.
“It’s going to be a big bash, and my tongue is going to be planted firmly in my cheek while I”m throwing the party.”
None of the major American news organizations has yet landed a one-on-one interview with Pope Francis. No doubt, FNC would love to have one, and if comes to pass, Bolling dreams of being in the interviewer’s chair.
But, he says, “I would think that Bill O’Reilly would be the guy. Sean Hannity‘s a very practicing Catholic, very big with his faith. Maybe they’ll arm-wrestle over who’d get that interview — but I’d certainly like a shot at the interview, too. I’ll arm-wrestle them both.”
As for a trip to Rome to get a look at the new pope, Bolling says, “I don’t leave, unless Fox wants me to do ‘The Five’ from the Vatican. If you can arrange that, I’ll do it.”