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.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.