News / Europe

Cardinals Debate Qualifications for Pope

People walk in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, March 7, 2013.People walk in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, March 7, 2013.
x
People walk in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, March 7, 2013.
People walk in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, March 7, 2013.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who resigned as pontiff last month, has pledged his “unconditional reverence and obedience” to whomever succeeds him to guide the 1.2-billion-member Roman Catholic Church.

As cardinals continue their discussions, Vatican experts ask what kind of pope do they believe will be best suited to lead the church?

The Rev. Thomas Reece, at Georgetown University, said the cardinals will be looking for someone who can best convey the Catholic message.

“The most important thing is to figure out how to preach the gospel in a way that is attractive and understandable to people in the 21st century - especially young people,” said Reece. “Certainly in the north, in Europe and the United States, we see young people leaving religion, not just Catholicism, but Christianity and other religions. So, how to make the message of Jesus, which I think is very attractive and challenging, get it across to young people so that it doesn’t turn them away. That is the real challenge.”

Papal contenders and electors around the world



New pope must evangelize

In other words, said Rev. Robert Barron, rector of Mundelein Seminary in Chicago, the cardinals would want “someone who is a skilled and gifted evangelizer.”

“Once you say that, then you are saying someone with a lot of theology, theological acumen, someone with good communications skills, someone who knows lots of languages - certainly true since John Paul was pope,” said Barron. “But I would say the major rubric under which they see all this is an evangelizer, someone who can proclaim the gospel effectively to the wider world.”

New pope may come from developing world

Many experts said the cardinals also will discuss whether it is time to elect a pontiff who is not European. Forty-two percent of the world’s Catholics are in South America and 24 percent live in Africa, where the church is growing.

But experts also pointed out that more than half of the cardinals are European, which gives them a distinct advantage when it comes to electing a pope.

The cardinals will be looking for someone who is a good manager and who could reform the Vatican bureaucracy known as the Curia, especially following the scandal involving the pope’s butler who stole documents, some of them revealing alleged corruption in the Curia.

New pope must address reform of Vatican bureaucracy

Reece is somewhat skeptical. He said "there has been talk for decades about reforming the Vatican bureaucracy and none of the popes have been able to accomplish it.”

Experts said as the cardinals discuss who is best qualified to become pope, they are facing a unique situation, the presence of a former pontiff - Benedict XVI, now living not far from their deliberations.

Some experts asked: will he play a role in future Vatican affairs?

Not according to church historian Chris Bellitto, teaching at Keane University in Union, New Jersey.

“If this pope wanted to have a hand in affairs, then he wouldn’t have resigned,” said Bellitto. “And stylistically, I cannot see this man interfering. He has spent his entire life for the institution. If he meddled, he would be undermining the institution. And I just don’t see it happening.”

Former Pope Benedict won't interfere in church affairs

Reece said Benedict is “perfectly happy in his room and his library, reading his books.”

“The question is, will he write? If he writes, then there is always the fear that people will look at his writings and say, 'Well, Benedict says this, but the new pope says that.’ And that would not be healthy for the church,” said Reece.

Pope Benedict XVI waves to the faithful as he arrives in St Peter's Square to hold his last general audience at the Vatican, February 27, 2013.Pope Benedict XVI waves to the faithful as he arrives in St Peter's Square to hold his last general audience at the Vatican, February 27, 2013.
x
Pope Benedict XVI waves to the faithful as he arrives in St Peter's Square to hold his last general audience at the Vatican, February 27, 2013.
Pope Benedict XVI waves to the faithful as he arrives in St Peter's Square to hold his last general audience at the Vatican, February 27, 2013.
Barron agreed that the former pontiff will not insert himself in the affairs of the church, but he is uneasy about Benedict’s decision to resign the papacy.

“I do have a little bit of a concern about the precedent-setting quality of this, if it becomes the norm that popes resign or retire, because who knows in the future what troubles that might cause and what ambiguity it might cause,” said Barron. “So I get that. I get how this is certainly unusual and maybe not the best precedent for the future of the church, I understand that. But this particular ex-pope, I think, will not cause any trouble in that regard.”

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI currently is living in Castel Gandolfo outside Rome, waiting to move into his permanent facilities inside the Vatican walls.

Ironically, he will not be able to vote for a new pontiff because he is over 80 years of age - the limit set for any cardinal voting in a papal election.

Andre de Nesnera

Andre de Nesnera is senior analyst at the Voice of America, where he has reported on international affairs for more than three decades. Now serving in Washington D.C., he was previously senior European correspondent based in London, established VOA’s Geneva bureau in 1984 and in 1989 was the first VOA correspondent permanently accredited in the Soviet Union.

You May Like

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: NVO from: USA
March 07, 2013 5:26 PM
You want the real qualifications per the RC church? Well here they are: Father Connor, you probably know him, said that the catholic church under the heading of "sacred tradition" teaches that the final pope will defect from the faith! Now here is what Bishop Sheen said. "The false prophet will have a religion without a cross, a religion without a world to come, a religion to destroy religions. There will be a counter church, Christs church will be one, and the false prophet will create the other. The false church will be worldly, ecumenical, and global. It will be a loose federation of churches and religions forming some type of global association. A world parliament of churches, it will be emptied of all divine content and will be the mystical body of the anti-Christ. The mystical body on earth today will have its Judas Iscariot, and he will be the false prophet. Satan will recruit him from among OUR Bishops! The false prophet will be a bishop, and like Judas, he will sell the mystical body to the anti-Christ".-

Archbishop Fulton Sheen (1950)

In Response

by: Rev. Charles W. Daily, Jr from: Shawano, Wisconsin
March 08, 2013 10:33 AM
Archbishop Fulton Sheen was a prophet and we can see that in the present theological realignments today. As an Anglo-Catholic reflecting the thinking of the 'conservative' Episcopal Church I see a drift toward an abandonment of Holy Scripture, Trinitarian Traditional Sacramental Theology and embracing a sexualized immorality based on LBGTI orientations.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid