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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/4/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Next pope will face some serious challenges.

We cannot yet predict who the next pope will be, but we can share some of the criteria the cardinals are using to make their selection. Daily talks have already begun in Rome and the election of a new pontiff could come as early as late this week or next.

This is the first sign the world will have of the next pope.

This is the first sign the world will have of the next pope.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/4/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: pope, election, next pope, Benedict XVI, replacement, cardinals, atheism, militant, secular, criteria


VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Moving with unusual speed, the Church is preparing for the election of a new pope. The cardinals have gathered and are holding twice-daily meetings to share ideas. Although they have not yet selected a candidate, those speaking to the media have revealed some important criteria, which provides a hint of who could be next.

First, the electors have listed some of the challenges the next pope must address. Among them are:

-    Scandal and corruption within some halls of the Church
-    The sex abuse crisis and immorality within some of the clergy
-    The phenomenon of people believing in God, but rejecting "organized religion."
-    Militant secularism and atheism and their myriad of ills

Among the criteria the cardinals are considering candidates who:

-    Are multilingual, to better communicate with a global Church
-    Has extensive administrative and financial experience
-    Is a scholar who can still speak to the common people
-    Can engage the youth, especially via social networks
-    Is familiar with world issues
-    Can increase vocations

It's unclear precisely who can fill this role, however with unprecedented twice daily meetings the cardinals should settle on a short list rather quickly, and will hopefully select their candidate soon. Of course, we will not know who makes the list until after the successor to the Chair of St. Peter is appointed and presented to the world.

Several cardinals are saying their goal is to elect a new pope before Holy Week so there is some added urgency to the decision-making process. However, the Church faces s substantial crisis, despite its robust membership of 1.2 billion people.

Perhaps the greatest threat is internal. Homosexual and pedophile priests, as well as some who are engaging in other forms of sexual immorality, are eroding the perceived credibility of the Church to speak on matters which are of utmost importance to our faith and life itself. Although the credibility of the Church is absolute, it's the perception of fault that provides the next greatest threat to the Church most of its power.

That threat is the spread of militant, or new atheism. Spearheaded by individuals such as the late Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, the new atheism isn't content to exist separately, but is anti-religious at its core, meaning there is no room afforded for the peaceful coexistence of religion.

As long as a few members of the clergy continue to behave inappropriately, the new atheists will seize upon their example to condemn the entire establishment. Sadly, this has currency with many who are falling away from "organized religion."

The next Holy Father will need to address these issues while remaining steadfast on other teachings such as religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the rights of the poor and of laborers.

Fortunately, the guidance of God will be present and it is beyond question the conclave will elect the best cardinal for the job.

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