A Continuing Road of Reform and Renewal

by Kathryn Jean Lopez

Australia’s Cardinal Pell offered in an interview some of what he is thinking about the next pope:

You have been through the conclave process in 2005 – the congregations of cardinals, the ‘murmurings’, the discussions about candidates, and you have a broad understanding of the Church, what qualities will you be looking for in a candidate to be the next pope?

Let me start by telling you what I won’t be looking for. I won’t be looking for a candidate from a particular area.  I think where the next pope comes from is quite secondary to his personal capacity to lead the Church. Some factors are rudimentary: a man of faith and prayer, a good track record, a man with languages.  I don’t think we’re going to get a teacher of the caliber of Benedict or even of John Paul II. We might, but that would be a pleasant surprise.  I think we need somebody who is a strategist, a decision-maker, a planner, somebody who has got strong pastoral capacities already demonstrated so that he can take a grip of the situation and take the Church forward. 

I mean when you compare the irreligion and the demographic decline in Europe, the violence against Christians in the Middle East, the need to try  to open-up China, the problems of the (Roman) Curia are not in that league.  But it would be very useful for the Church for the new Pope to be able to improve the morale of the Curia, to strengthen their sense of well-being.    

So the ability to govern is important. It would appear that substantial problems have been identified through Vatileaks and such things, so I think these need to be addressed in a real way, and they need to be addressed in a way, you might even say symbolically, so that the world outside realizes that the new pope has grasped and is well aware of the opportunities that we have, but is also well aware of the particular challenges and is willing to try to do something about them.

That, of course, is very much consistent with some of the conversations around here

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