I have heard the question asked dozens of times over the past several days: "What kind of pope do you want?"
Variations on that theme include: "What do you want the new Guy to do?" and "If you could choose the new pope, who would it be?"
The responses have been diverse:
"I hope the new pope can clean up the mess in the
. He'll need to insist on
transparency and honesty." Vatican
"The new pope will have to reform the curia if he hopes to have a successful papacy."
"We need a guy with some charisma --someone who'll restore confidence."
"We need a pope who will get us back on track --stop all this modernizing and get us back to the way the Church used to be."
"He should be a man of prayer, with a deep spiritual life, guided by the Gospel more than the human traditions of a stuffy old bureaucracy."
"I hope the new pope respects and promotes the direction set by
"The new pope is going to have to bring some new, younger people into the Church's leadership, like Cardinal Martini suggested."
"I don't have much hope for change. All the cardinals were appointed by either John Paul or Benedict.--it would take a miracle for us to get somebody who will really read the signs of the times and respond accordingly."
"I pray the Holy Spirit will choose someone who'll clean house."
"The new pope's got to ordain women as deacons, stop using the episcopacy as a reward or some kind of honor for officials in church bureaucracy, and finally respect bishops' conferences and collegiality."
"I really don't care who's chosen. He won't affect me. I go to church, say my prayers and try to live a good life. Popes don't do much for the average Catholic."
"Do you think it's too much to ask for another John XXIII?"
The National Catholic Reporter (March 1-14, 2013) published a list of cardinals the NCR considers "Top Ten Contenders." They are scarcely known to most Catholics, but with all the jokes accompanying his name, it is amusing that at the top of their list is Cardinal Angelo Scola, the Archbishop of Milan. (The amusement is in saying, "We now have Pope Scola in the
Unlike the last consistory, this time there is no likely candidate. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was practically a shoo-in eight years ago. If the word "likely" were applied to the upcoming election, it would probably modify the noun "Italian."
In the meantime we wait and pray.