An American cardinal has told local media that he believes the pending decision to elect a new pope should not be a hasty one.
Francis Cardinal George of Chicago explained Sunday that time for consideration is of great importance in the decision-making rather than getting a new pope as soon as possible.
"You take the time needed to make a good decision … We will go into conclave when collectively the cardinals decide that we have [had] the conversations necessary to make a good decision," said George, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. more >>
A top Roman Catholic Cardinal has revealed that the successor of Pope Benedict XVI could possibly come from Latin America or Africa, which would be the first time in over a millennium that a non-European man has been chosen to take St. Peter's seat.
"The challenges of the Church in the world are very different on different continents: in Africa, in Asia, in Latin America. The question is 'where will the challenges be greater, on which continent, should it be a pope for, above all, Latin America, for Africa," Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch told Reuters. Koch, 62, has been a close aide of Pope Benedict XVI, and will be one of the 117 cardinals this March who will vote in secret for a new leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
"I can imagine taking a step towards a black pope, an African pope or a Latin American pope. I can imagine this," Koch added of the various options available to the Church. The Cardinal added that he always knew Benedict, 85, would step down when he felt he could no longer lead the Church to the best of his abilities, and hinted that future popes might be inclined to the same. more >>
The media, of course, is calling it a resignation. But it not so much a resignation of a political office as it is a renunciation. The 85-year old pontiff's decision to renounce the power and prestige of the papal office is so unexpected, almost unprecedented, as to take the world by surprise.
Of course, we Americans of all people can understand what thoughts must have coursed through Pope Benedict XVI's mind as he prayed about this weighty decision. We saw this kind of renunciation with our first president, George Washington. He did not leave the presidency before his second term expired, true, but he renounced all further exercise of power on March 4, 1797. It was then he strode out of the Senate chamber in Philadelphia. He purposely prodded President John Adams and Vice President Thomas Jefferson, the new nation's elected leaders and Washington's own successors, to go before him. He knew the importance of symbolism. King George III had once been George Washington's bitterest enemy. He said if Washington renounces his power, he truly will be the greatest man in the world. He did. He was.
Pope Benedict XVI knows that however insistent the world is, however menacing its foes are, the Church of Jesus Christ will stand forever. This Pope has not tried to keep up with the times. Or the Times. Too many church bodies today are desperate to be thought modern. Some are indifferent to the lives of the unborn. It's as if they missed that story about Herod and the Innocents. Or, those synods and conventions that breathlessly ponder whether or not to take the plunge and declare that marriage between persons of the same sex is the new revelation. It's an insight that the most serious Bible scholars for two thousand years somehow managed to overlook. And we can view with sorrow those religious bodies that solemnly declare that affordable health care for all is so important that it's worth trammeling freedom of religion in order to mandate it. more >>
The surprise decision by 85-year-old Pope Benedict XVI to resign his post effective later this month has brought our attention back to the body of those in this country who identify their religion as Catholic.
The basic facts are clear. About 23 percent of American adults are Catholics, based on self-reports of the religious identity of more than 353,000 Americans Gallup interviewed in 2012. This Catholic percentage has remained remarkably constant over the years, a stability that largely has resulted from the growth in Hispanic Catholics.
The changing racial and ethnic composition of their numbers highlights a key issue for American Catholics - perhaps germane as the College of Cardinals selects the new pope. The Catholic population in the U.S. is more than twice as likely to be Hispanic as the overall adult population, much less likely to be black, and skewed so heavily Hispanic among younger Catholics that the whole complexion of the church is going to continue to change in the decades ahead. more >>
The Vatican admitted on Tuesday that Pope Benedict XVI has been fitted with a pacemaker for his heart after an operation a number of years ago, but denied that there was any one particular health issue behind the pontiff's decision to retire at the end of February.
Benedict XVI, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, shocked many Monday morning with the announcement that he would be stepping down from his position at the end of the month.
"After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry," the pope said in a statement. more >>
Several evangelical Christian leaders gave high praise to Pope Benedict XVI for his advocacy for the dignity of human life after hearing about his plans to resign Monday. They chose to focus on common biblical ground shared with some of the Pontiff's beliefs rather than dwell on the doctrinal differences between Catholicism and the Protestant faith.
"As a Baptist Christian, I disagree with Rome on many things, of course, and some of those things relate to the nature of the Petrine ministry, the relationship of the Bishop of Rome to the rest of the church, the merging of civil and ecclesial power, and so on," Russell D. Moore, dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote in a column. "It might surprise previous generations of Protestants, though, that one of the primary emphases of the Vatican in the last generation has been on the dignity and liberty of the human person."
Moore stated that the Pope "has constantly spoken for those whose lives are seen as a burden to society: the baby with Down syndrome, the woman with advanced Alzheimer's, the child starving in the desert, the prisoner being tortured. "These lives aren't things, he has said, but images of God, and for them we will give an account." more >>