What do you look for from the Catholic Church and a new Pope?

 Pope Benedict (Stefan Wermuth/WPA Pool/Getty)

Pope Benedict (Stefan Wermuth/WPA Pool/Getty)


Papal conclave: Both Catholics and non-Catholics alike watch in suspense and anticipation, while the cardinals meet to choose a new Pope.

As the world's largest religious organization deliberates, what do you look for from the Catholic Church and a new Pope?

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The Catholic Church is preparing to select a new pope. It is an old tradition in the largest Christian church in the world and one of the world's oldest and most enduring religious institutions. The fact that the choice of a pope is always of such great interest to people well beyond the Church, is testament to its reach and influence in the world.

The event has the aura of a grand spectacle only seen in traditions that endure. And with five thousand journalists in Rome accredited to cover the selection of the pope, there's also a sense of competition as the media struggle to tell the story and explain its intricacies to their modern day viewers and readers. The politics and manoeverings, the implications and the competition are all examined in detail and with some imagination ...and relayed to the world.

But what is really going on behind all that ....within the Church itself, and in the minds of the people charged with organizing the event, and especially those charged with the responsibility of deciding ...and finally not forgetting those whose lives will be directly affected by the choice ..devout Catholics around the world?

Today we will try to answer some of those questions as we speak to some insiders. But because the Church does have such reach and power we also want to tap into the expectations that other people have for this moment in the history of the Church.

Many people look upon this as a transformational time ...when the Church takes stock of its place in the world and sets a new course to strengthen its position and appeal. Others see it as a time of trial for an organization the primary purpose of which is spreading the gospel and offering spiritual support to any and all in need ...'trial' because the pressures of modernity are offering up easier answers to some of life's most enduring questions or demanding that the Church change to accommodate newer beleifs and values.

The Catholic Church is many things to many different people. But one thing it is not ...is inconspicuous.

We want to hear your views.

Is the Catholic Church a beacon for spirituality and moral authority leading a new path into the future ...or is it a bulkwark against modernity with all its hasty new fads in thought and belief? Should it compete in the popular market of ideas for support ...or should it stand firm on values rooted in divine authority?

Our question today: "What do you look for from the Catholic Church and a new Pope?"

I'm Rex Murphy ...On CBC Radio One and on Sirius Satellite Radio channel 159 ...this is Cross Country Checkup.




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