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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid