The Pope

Not surprisingly, discussion at Church this morning turned to the Pope. We were given a pretty well balanced opinion from the pulpit of him, which is generally that whilst we didn’t share some of his more Conservative beliefs, we mourned his passing. One quite amusing story that was mentioned in coverage this morning related to his sporting loves – once asked whether it was not unbecoming for a cardinal to ski, he replied that it would be unbecoming for a cardinal to ski badly. Many have spoken of their audiences with him, and of course Rome is filling up with pilgrims from around the world. Beth and her School trip to Italy, that leaves tomorrow are of course going to have a pretty unique experience now as they tour the country and visit Rome in the next week.

As with any passing of a Pope, with the limited timeframe to select a replacement, the questions are now turning towards who will come next. It has always been considered unseemly, if no expressly forbidden to discuss the candidates for the next Pope whilst the existing Pope is still alive, so over the next few days the discussions will begin. The BBC has said that the election is wide open, but has a list of the likely candidates covering the full spectrum from conservative, through moderate to liberal catholics. The other big question is whether they will elect an African or Latin American Pope, or return to the centuries of tradition before John Paul II where an Italian held the post. It certainly appears that as in our own Church, opinion is split about the way forward to meet the challenges of falling numbers of clergy, and the increasing secularisation of the faithful. Of course the other point to bear in mind is that nobody actually predicted the selection of Pope John Paul II…

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