Five challenges facing the new Pope

Left Foot Forward spoke to Catholic Voice writer and speaker Peter D. Williams about the challenges ahead for the new pontiff.

Catholic Voices writer and speaker Peter D. Williams spoke to Left Foot Forward about the challenges facing the new Pope.

1. Governance. One of the things the cardinals will be thinking about is governance of the church. Quite a few people have said the Roman Curia is not doing its job properly. It’s got lots of problems with efficiency and what we need is a new administrator who will really take these problems in hand and make the church much more efficient.

2. Public worship. Over the last 40 years there has been a lot of really bad liturgy. It’s been really quite naff and it’s put a lot of people off. If you have good liturgy then you have people wanting to go to mass because it’s actually enjoyable and they get a transcendent experience out of it. And that’s something that can quite easily be changed.

3. Church teachings. This has suffered a lot in the last 40 years, and what that’s meant is a lot of people have not been intellectually equipped to be able to answer why they believe x, y and z...The purpose of the church is to evangelise and bring the gospel to all nations. If you don’t know what the faith is, you can’t really propagate it. That leads us on to the next point, which is…

4. Evangelisation. If we have a Pope who is European, one of their central concerns will be to re-evangelize Europe because the view of the church in Europe has been degraded a lot in Europe and there have been a lot of problems…The church needs to more effective at going out and converting people, quite frankly.

5. Effective at dealing with child abuse. I think the last Pope did brilliantly in bringing in new norms on grave offences. The reforms in England and Wales have been excellent, but when it comes to implementing child protection policies around the world this needs to be replicated. The Catholic Church isn’t, contrary to what a lot of people think, a Stalinist regime where the Pope tells everyone what to do in minute detail; it’s actually hugely decentralised. That said, the Vatican does need to make sure every individual bishop is absolutely on board so nothing like this [the child abuse scandal] can ever happen again.

Previously Left Foot Forward looked at the favourites to succeed Pope Benedict XVI.

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4 Responses to “Five challenges facing the new Pope”

  1. ed77

    Good sensible summary

  2. DGillon

    Sadly, this seems to me to miss the point entirely. I still consider myself a Catholic, but the failure of the church to adapt means I now reject the role of the clergy in my Catholicism. Catholicism is, I believe, fundamentally about supporting equality and dignity for all within a religious framework. And our understanding about what that means has evolved considerably over the last century. I cannot support a clergy that does not offer equal rights for all regardless of sex, or sexual orientation, I cannot support a clergy that claims an active Catholic is less suited to be a teacher because their non-Catholic partner happens to be a divorcee, I cannot support a clergy where evidence of hypocrisy at the highest levels is greeted by immediate gagging orders (and I am not solely referring to Cardinal O’Brien, the actions of then Cardinal Ratzinger while head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith bear examination), I cannot support a clergy which allows those at its highest levels to launch vile attacks on people for their sexuality – a sexuality that is God’s gift, and ultimately, and perhaps most damningly, I consider the clergy’s ongoing condemnation of contraception, even if the face of AIDS in Africa, to have crossed the line into being actively evil.

    Western morality has moved beyond the morality of the Catholic clergy, and it is the clergy who have fallen from what is moral, not the laity. The clergy face the choice of recognising their failings, or condemning the Church as currently understood to irrelevance. I am fairly certain they lack the moral courage to choose the former.

  3. Virginia Moffatt

    I agree with David. This is NOT what the Church needs at all.

    There are many of us who DESPAIR of the leadership which is narrow minded, focussed obsessively on sex (to the detriment of everybody), and so rules based it doesn’t allow for the humanity of its members.

    I want a Pope who is tolerant, humble, understands human life is complex and messy, preaches peace and above all is not a hypocrite.

    Many think like me as this recent new organisation shows

  4. frangelico

    Very well put. I think that over the coming years people will understand what church teaching is and is not. People will embrace or reject it. The age of claiming to be catholic while defending behaviour which is contrary to church teaching is passing away.

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