Will the new pope be open to change?

National Catholic Reporter

by Pat Perriello | Feb. 27, 2013

Two contrasting viewpoints from NCR’s John Allen and Time magazine suggest that possibilities exist for either a conservative or more progressive successor to Benedict XVI.

I would put my money on Allen, as he is second to none on reporting on the Vatican. Yet there is perhaps much to learn from both articles. Certainly, as Allen intimates, progressivity is a relative issue. The new pope is not likely to say that abortion is a good thing, nor should he. Yet even the Time magazine article makes clear that simply by resigning, Benedict XVI has initiated a change in the governance of the church.

So what can we expect from a new pope? Everyone is speculating, so let me share my thoughts on the subject and encourage the readership to do so as well. First of all, what would I look for in a pope? Certainly he needs to be holy and a man of prayer. He needs to exemplify Gospel values, a preference for the poor and a commitment to social justice for all people. He needs to be thoughtful and learned. He needs to have experiences that go beyond the walls of the Vatican and chancery responsibilities. A parish ministry background is a must. He must be patently pastoral and open to the world around him.

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