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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 April, 2005, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
What should the new pope do?
Drawing by artist Noelle Herrenschmidt of Cardinals in conclave to elect the new pope
White smoke has emerged from the Sistine chapel confirming that a new pope has been elected by the cardinals.

This follows a morning session of voting where two ballots were held. It is the second day of the conclave to decide a successor to Pope John Paul II.

The name of the new pope has not yet been revealed but it is though that the election was between reformist and conservative candidates.

What should the new pope do? Should the institution of the Catholic Church be open to change? Or should it follow the legacy of John Paul II?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

The new Pope should listen to the Holy Spirit in his heart and lead the world in the ways of the spirit. I hope that will mean a move toward allowing contraception within marriage and allowing women a greater part in the role of the Church.
Tim Heywood, Kidderminster, UK

I do not mind who the new pope is. As a Catholic I pray that he will be able to express God's Word by thought, deed, and action, and on top of those religious skills have the personal power and diplomatic skills to impact on this very complicated world we live in.
David West, Templecombe, UK

What matters is the papacy
Ade, Westerville, Ohio, USA
Catholics and non-Catholics worldwide should support whoever becomes the next pope. What matters is the papacy and not where the pope comes from.
Ade, Westerville, Ohio, USA

The new pope should campaign for a new world where there is free and fair trade so that the poor countries can also develop.
Sarah Bireete, Kampala, Uganda

In my opinion the focus of the next pope amongst other things should be priesthood celibacy.
Tunji Adesanya, Lagos, Nigeria

The next pope should be a Brazilian, open to change and not a hawk.
Julio Ricardo, Managua, Nicaragua

I think it is unimportant where the next pope comes from. If this is truly religious decision then the choice ought to be left to the God and the Church without any interference from the outside world. After all we are told that whatever choice that is made is the will of God. Let's leave politics out the Church
Kennedy Ezirim, Lagos, Nigeria

Why is the world so bent on an African pope?
Brownman, Jericho
Why is the world so bent on an African pope? Isn't this a backwards racism, by wanting him just cause he is black? The world is ready for an individual to come to power, other than black or white. It seems like the media only portrays those two races as if they are all that exists. Many other people, including myself, want to see brown, red, and yellow people as well.
Brownman, Jericho

Um, I think it's time for an American Pope. I suggest the one priest who is the living embodiment not only of God himself, but of the American Spirit of capitalism. I nominate Father Guido Sarducci.
Tom Galloway, USA

Most Holy Trinity we ask for the election of Cardinal Jozef Ratzinger, so that the word of our Lord will be upheld. Amen.
Jane, Falmouth Cornwall

I believe the best interest of the church would be served by selection of a Cardinal from the thirld world.
George Getz, Brookhaven, PA USA

I favour Arinze. I met him several years ago at the Franciscan University of Steubeville, Ohio. He spoke to a group of about 30 students in a campus lounge. I was so impressed by his clear articulation of church doctrine, delivered in perfect English and with much humour. Conservative views imparted with so much style and charm. Not knowing him from Adam, I immediately said to myself, here must be a rising star within the Church.
Jerry Echemann, Martins Ferry, Oh, USA

The Catholic Church faces a tough decision. It seems that from this page most practicing Catholics want a conservative pope. Fair enough, if this is what you want then I hope that's what you get. But please don't then act surprised when more people start to fall away from the Catholic faith. People like myself feel alienated by the church because we are made to feel like bad people for not abiding by its many rules. A more liberal church which is more accepting of different ways of life would attract many disillusioned Catholics back (and there are a lot of us.) But as I say this is a decision for the church to make.
Anon, England

It is time for the Pope to be a man from the another continent
Elaine, Derbyshire,UK
Cardinal Arinze from Nigeria would make a worthy successor.It is time for the Pope to be a man from the another continent, Europe has been in control of the church too long. Please God it is an African this time!!
Elaine, Derbyshire,UK

The pope's country of origin is insignificant. To infer that it is, is to politicize his position, and edge toward blending church and state. The pope is not of any country, but of the world. He should be compassionate, kind, and a servant to all people, regardless of their race, religious beliefs, or political affiliation. I pray that the most qualified individual is elected. If he is Brazilian, so be it. If he is Italian, so be it. If he is German, so be it. A big deal was made of the fact that Pope John Paul II was Polish, when he was first elected, and he became a beacon of hope, kindness, and understanding.
Mark A. Marchetti, Indianapolis, Indiana

I am not a Catholic, but indeed I must confess the late Pope lived a holy and graceful life. I am sure he will be rewarded bountifully in heaven. I will personally use this medium to urge anybody elected to practice the holy doctrines and to follow late Pope's steps. Thank you.
Femi Adeko, London, UK

The new pope should be an inspiring personality to all and who should love the mankind regardless of religion.
Jacob John, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

The new pope should work to refresh the church to make it more relevant to the modern world
Derek Salter, Cape Town, South Africa
I think it is important that the new pope should work to refresh the church to make it more relevant to the modern world. The previous pope was too conservative on issues that matter for day-to-day living for most people. He needs to consider more effective policies for issues such as poverty, debt, HIV/Aids and deal with them in realistic ways. He should not try and follow in JP's footsteps but he should develop a new path that is relevant to a wider audience.
Derek Salter, Cape Town, South Africa

The next Pope needs to be inspirational, a communicator and someone who is not likely to be bullied or embarrassed into changing or modifying Roman Catholic doctrine. We may want someone who offers us in the west primarily an a la carte approach on social issues like contraception and divorce but what makes the Catholic Church attractive to me is that it tells us how we should live our lives as opposed to the way we sometimes want to.
Eugene, Cookstown, Northern Ireland

The world is indeed ready for an African pope. It would prove that faithful Catholics around the globe are ready to usher in a new era of global peace and cooperation with all faith-based communities, regardless of religious dogmas that separate, divide, threaten, and exclude. A Nigerian pope ushering in an era of global peace would be as remarkable as Pope John Paul II's legacy against Communism in Poland. Perhaps the world is on the verge of a new epoch that could reach Biblical proportions.
G. Luther, Jacksonville, FL

As a Catholic it is for me to accept what the Holy Spirit, via the college of cardinals, decides. The cardinals are not there to represent my personal wishes but to follow the will of God. The church is here to help myself and fellow Christians worldwide to know and serve God better.
Francis, England, UK

As a once Catholic now just Christian, I would like to see the new pope be someone who brings the Catholic church into the 21st Century. Let go of the pomp and circumstance and stand on what the Word of God says. Although God loves all men, He doesn't always love what they do. Homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, drugs, etc. Are all against not the Catholic church but the Word of God - The Bible. The next Pope needs to stand on the Word. Nothing else will do.
Shelley Reagin, Coolidge, GA, USA

If l am to comment on who is to be the next pope, l would suggest our own Francis Arinze from Africa. The next Pope should continue God's work from where Pope John Paul stopped.
Saliu Taiwo Elizabeth, Lagos, Nigeria

I think it is more important that the next pope should be a man with integrity, honesty and love of humanity and life. He should be building and revive the church further and not create or cultivate anger, internal disputes or divisions. He should be a man that fully understands the challenges of today's world and issues that are faced by the poor and displaced. A man that truly lives out Christ's teaching and God's love.
John, Kuala Lumpur

I hope that Cardinal Francis Arinze will be our first Black Pope. Also coming from Africa will make it even better because he will hopefully champion the causes of the African people with more fervour. There is a lot to be done in Africa and around the world, especially the Middle East. He is an expert in Islam as well which will help build bridges in the Middle East. I wish him all the very best and hope he is elected our new pontiff.
Arnold Souza, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The new pope should be someone who has proved to have worked for all sections of society and for peace
Saju Mathew, Bahrain
When the last pope was elected, that was a Cold War era. Now, everything has changed. The life style of people along with new technology has changed the people as such. Those in developed and developing nations are forgetting about the people in poorer nations. Along with technological and financial advancements, a big proportion of people remain poor. The new pope should be someone who has proved to have worked for all sections of society and for peace.
Saju Mathew, Bahrain

I am keenly watching the developments in the Vatican as my faith matters a lot to me. It's so surprising that people (including religious people) are trying to give suggestions to the Almighty. Many fail to understand that it is an institution of God and He knows who should guide His flock. Why are we trying to label it as "liberal" and "conservative"? "God's foolishness is wiser than man's wisdom". Let's hope and pray that His Holy Will be Done.
Julia, Bangalore-India

The new pope should be prepared to tackle the issue of the church's contraception views and the effect they are having on an Aids epidemic which is threatening generations in the developing world.
Ross Hawkes, Lichfield, UK

The Church does not need to change - the world does. Catholics who are hoping for "modernization" are most likely looking for the Church to change its stance and suddenly condone the sins they have already committed. This should not happen. People should repent their sins and change their lives in an effort to move closer to God. God does not move. People must seek to move closer to Him by living a life as close to Christ's example as possible.
Frank, Atlanta, USA

The next Pope will not be selected by the media - they never get it right any way! By the Grace of God, he will be selected by the Holy Spirit working through the Cardinals and he will have one task only: to do the will of God. His road will be a difficult one because God's will and Man's will are often in conflict. For this reason Catholics need to support the cardinals with prayer.
Mick, La Crosse, USA

The next Pope should protect the teachings of the Catholic faith. Catholics must abide to the teachings and Papal decisions. Either you accept them or not but not try to bend them in your favour. To be a true Catholic is not easy. So, the next Pope, must keep repeating, "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" In the Catholic House you obey the rules so, shape up or ship out. "I will be with you till the end of times".
Frank Encarnacion, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Those hoping that a liberal will be elected are living in a surreal, steam-powered dreamscape
Endie, Edinburgh, Scotland
Even the liberal wing of the Catholic Church should hope that the new pontiff is moderately conservative: only someone seen as a strong conservative can hold his institution together while introducing any necessary reforms. In any case, those hoping that the college of cardinals, almost all appointed by the conservative John Paul II, will elect a liberal, are living in a surreal, steam-powered dreamscape.
Endie, Edinburgh, Scotland

The next Pope should be Jozef Ratzinger or one who is not a flip-flopper. It should be Ratzinger or someone like him, because we know him from the viewpoint of his theology, leadership and doctrinal positions. Yes, faith has to be meaningful in every age and time. But we cannot bend theological truths to suit every fad of history. Church doctrine is not a pendulum. We need to stand by what and who we are; and there is no shame in that.
Kwame Forson, Brooklyn, USA

It would be great if we were blessed by another Polish Pope. The Bible and teaching of Christ are not a fashion or ethos, nor are they a fashion to be changed from one day to the next to suit the short-sighted materialistic world we live in . Not every one can be a Catholic or Christian - its no easy task. The standards are high and should be maintained not changed and made a mockery of for a lazy minority. We need a Pope who will carry on in the footsteps of JP2.
Anthony Lewicki, Herts - England

The new Pope should be someone who is progressive in their teachings and not archaic in their beliefs. Society has moved on in its attitudes and as long as the church instils honesty and peace towards the fellow man, society may be more prepared to be accepting of others lifestyles. I refer to Pope John Paul's II, comments on HIV, abortion, and contraception.
Steve Lewis, London, UK

It is religious authority and 'tradition' that we outsiders question, not necessarily gospel truths
Bob, Gloucester UK
Perhaps a Pope who, if he takes a tough line on some matters, explains why to those of us, including non-Catholics, in the light of Jesus' teaching, rather than relying on 'church authority'. The last Pope will be a hard act to follow, but in some respects, he could have made his message clearer. It is religious authority and 'tradition' that we outsiders question, not necessarily gospel truths. Can they be differentiated? This is the challenge for the next Pope, I feel
Bob, Gloucester UK

I find it shocking that the media, and the BBC included, are intent upon distorting the issues surrounding the election of a new pope. The election is repeatedly represented as a choice between conservatives or liberals, with the implication that one pope will necessarily be free to make whatever policies they please. This is not the case. One might describe a pope as a guardian of the faith and of moral teachings. They do not simply overturn what a predecessor has decided, as a politician might do after a successful election. When and if changes come, they come as a result of careful reflection on what has gone before, the fundamentals of the faith and on the current situation. Sadly, modern civilisation being at odds with traditional teachings, whoever is elected will find it no easy task.
J Mahoney, UK

The founders of the church could no more have envisioned the issues of today than we can imagine life in the year 4000. The Catholic Church should live by the spirit of their faith, but with the practicalities of the 21st Century.
Andrew, Cardiff, UK

Why have a pope at all? Can't the cardinals form a collective body to lead the church? More ears have more chance of listening.
Andrew B, Weymouth England

Allowing the use of condoms does not have to mean the church endorses promiscuity
John, Chepstow, UK
The perfect pope will strive to balance the needs of all parts of the church. Over history the church has adapted to the times in order to keep the teaching of the gospels relevant. It needs to adapt those views that in the eyes of many are a hindrance to membership - views on contraception and marriage or re-marriage as an example. Allowing the use of condoms does not have to mean the church endorses promiscuity. Taking a more considerate view of those who divorce and remarry does not mean that the church no longer sees a single marriage as the ideal - but surely the church would prefer people to marry rather than live in sin? And why is it that it is only when you remarry do you become excluded from the sacrament? There are a lot of contradictions within the church that reduce membership.
John, Chepstow, UK

Never mind on the election of the new Pope, I am looking forward to the moment when the Catholic church really enters the 21st Century and elects the first "Popesse"
Nick, Burnham England

Someone who can interpret the Gospel in today's context, rather than in the context of a 2000 year old Middle Eastern desert tribe.
Steve, Reading

There is only one opinion which really matters
Rachel, Toronto, Canada
I am not concerned with anyone's opinion about who should be Pope because there is only one opinion which really matters. These Cardinals should all be seeking to do God's will and elect the person the Holy Spirit leads them to choose.
Rachel, Toronto, Canada

People keep talking about the legacy of Pope John Paul II as though Catholic teaching on faith and morals began with him. We need to be reminded that no future Pope can change any teaching which has been infallibly defined, or which is part of the ordinary magisterial teaching of the Church, such as the teaching on contraception. All those who are expecting the next Pope - or any future Pope - to change Church teaching on moral issues will be sorely disappointed.
Kevin, Twickenham

Not Arinze. Not Tettamanzi. Not Ratzenberger. None of the Cardinals who have lobbied for the position should be considered as a serious candidate for the papacy. Anyone who has campaigned for the job makes himself automatically unsuitable.
Morris, Waldorf, Maryland USA

The next Pope will be the man picked by the Holy Spirit to lead the church. The Cardinals are only the instruments of decision, not the deciders.
George Gallagher, Saltcoats, Scotland

Modern society needs to adapt itself
Julian Fraser, Swindon
The new Pope should emphasise and keep with the traditions of the Catholic Church. It is modern society that needs to adapt itself to conform with the eternal religious truths taught by Jesus Christ, not the other way round.
Julian Fraser, Swindon

I don't think anyone has the right to say who the new Pope should be. Leave it to the conclave, who will find our new Holy Father. After all, they are directed by God's Holy spirit and not personal ideals.
Tish, Haslemere, Surrey

I hope the new Pope realises that we are now in the 21st Century where women should have equal rights to men, child abusers should be severely punished and people do have sex before marriage. If he realises just one of these then he is doing a lot better than the last one.
Miss B, Oxford

An African Pope will bring greater hope to the poor
Kando, Miri, Malaysia
I think an African Pope will bring greater hope to the poor billions around the world and give the papacy more credibility. I vote for a South African or Nigerian Pope like Arinze.
Kando, Miri, Malaysia

Walter Cardinal Kasper. He is pastoral, charismatic, and progressive and also head of the Congregation for Promoting Christian Unity, a vitally important ministry of the Roman pontiff.
The Rev. Dr. Kenneth Bakken, Seattle, WA USA

As a Catholic, I am fed up with hearing people suggesting that the next Pope should change this or that. Whoever is elected, there are some things he cannot change. It is the role of the Pope to reinforce what is right and wrong in God's sight, not in the eyes of the world.
Mary, Wellington, Somerset

I think the Nigerian cardinal should be the next Pope, it'll take someone like him to bring people around the world together and show there is no discrimination in the house of the Lord. I have heard wonderful things about him and his colour should not be an issue.
Janet, London

There should not be another Pope
Franchesca Mullin, Belfast, Northern Ireland
There should not be another Pope. The cardinals should empty the Vatican bank of its billions of euros to help the world's suffering. Too many priests, bishops and cardinals live obscenely decadent lifestyles while claiming to represent the teachings of Jesus. No one man should be in charge - the Church should be run by a committee of front line missionary priests who have the experience and know what their people need.
Franchesca Mullin, Belfast, Northern Ireland

The Church in Africa, Latin America and Asia is now flourishing, especially in Africa where the competition between Christianity and Islam is to its maximum to win new converts. It would be a good decision for the cardinals to elect the next Pope from Africa.
Bernard , Ottawa Canada

I'm not Catholic, but my vote goes to Cardinal Arinze. His Third World roots and conservative teachings qualify him to lead a church that exists to serve those less fortunate.
Evan McWilliams, Savannnah, GA, USA

The immense power and outreach of the Vatican makes the choice of Pope a political appointment. Being the figurehead of the Catholic Church and a spiritual leader is not enough. As John Paul II showed, the Pope can be all of these things. If I was a Cardinal my vote would be for Jose Policarpo, of Lisbon.
Julian Hopkins, Germantown, MD, USA

The new Pope should not be a traditionalist but a pragmatist
Mario, London
As a Greek Orthodox believer, I was impressed by how John Paul II reached out and apologised for the Catholic faith's past mistakes towards Orthodoxy. The job of reconciliation hasn't finished as both Russian and Greek Orthodox churches still have grievances. It's essential that the new Pope keeps this dialogue going. More importantly, the new Pope should not be a traditionalist but a pragmatist. Times have changed, there a new world problems and having views of the 18th century will be divisive.
Mario, London

I'd love to see a woman as the next Pope.
Franziska, Sevenoaks

I believe encouraging the use of condoms should be the new Pope's top priority. For all the good the previous Pope did, his stance on contraception has helped the spread of aids dramatically.
Iain Munro, Sydney, Australia

I believe this is an ample opportunity for an African Pope to emerge.
Jonah Thomas, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

With his background in the Vatican, Arinze is the man to hold the fort
Raul, Sao Paulo, Brazil
The man I hope they elect is Francis Arinze. The single Catholic liturgy is in danger of fragmenting into many different national liturgies. With his background in the Vatican, Arinze is the man to hold the fort.
Raul, Sao Paulo, Brazil

It should be whomever the Holy Spirit directs to guide the Church. God's priorities for his people are not necessarily the same that white liberal Westerners might hope for.
Mike Tittensor, Cambridge

It doesn't matter where the next Pope will be from, but that he will have a more up-to-date approach to AIDS and homosexuality. However, I don't want the German Cardinal Ratzinger to be Pope since he is ultra-conservative and would be a step backwards in terms of modernising the Catholic Church.
Michael, Stuttgart, Germany

No matter how much secular media politicises this conclave, and no matter how human the cardinals may seem, in God's presence they will elect a Pope who will be faithful to God's will. A faithful Pope will defend faith and morals, and will not be swayed by rowdy voices and licentious lifestyles of a materialistic and hedonistic world.
Zen Udani, Macau SAR, China

This is a job for a younger man
Mitchell Blake, Davyhulme, UK
This is a job for a younger man, unless of course they only want an interim Pope. Whatever happens, the new Pope must be more open and honest than his recent predecessors, and this will of course include access to the Vatican archives.
Mitchell Blake, Davyhulme, UK

The next Pope should be someone who can comprehend other religions and work with them and encourage others in the Catholic Church to do the same.
Jo, St Albans, UK

I was out in Africa a while ago and an aid worker informed me that the current local attitude towards HIV/Aids was that "God would protect" and if someone did acquire HIV/Aids then "God meant it to be". The Catholic Church must recognise the use of contraception and its benefits in helping prevent the infection.
Dorian, Kettering, UK

I sent my CV to the Vatican but have yet to hear from them, I am quietly optimistic - they say no news is good news! On a serious note though, if I were elected Pope the first thing I would do is approve the use of contraception. As for women priests, does the bible not preach that all people are equal? I hope the next Pope can open his eyes and see that we no longer live in the dark ages.
Kevin Cook, Edinburgh, UK

I think that the next pope should come from Africa
Chibwe, Lusaka, Zambia
Though I am not a Catholic, I think that the next pope should come from Africa. I believe that with this kind of choice he will have a heart for the suffering majority from this part of the world.
Chibwe, Lusaka, Zambia

The new pope should be whoever the Holy Spirit chooses.
Claire Dane, Croydon

Considering the fact that more than half Roman Catholics are from the developing countries, I strongly believe that a Pope from their area will go a long way to boast the faith of the Christians. This will also give them a feel of belonging and will make their numbers grow. Ideally, I believe the Nigerian born Cardinal Francis Arinze is a good candidate.
Mathias Akong, Glasgow, UK

I am not a Roman Catholic, but I hope the next Pope will follow in the footsteps of John Paul II and have the courage to stand against the liberal elite, who have done so much to devalue human life in the past 60 years. John Paul II was a shining example of one who recognised the sanctity of human life. Let us hope his successor will be the same.
Iain, Grangemouth, Scotland

If you ask me, I think an African pope will do. I want to tell the developed countries that African Catholics are watching to see how their overwhelmingly qualified Arinze will be accepted or rejected based on his skin colour. If the latter happens, so many of us might review our Catholicness.
William, Kualar Lumpur, Malaysia

Someone who can endear himself to the people but also carry on the work of John Paul II
Linda, UK
Someone who can endear himself to the people but also carry on the work of John Paul II. Many people will want someone to follow in the footsteps of John Paul II but I don't think that is possible - whoever is elected Pope will have some of his own beliefs that some issues should change. Whoever becomes Pope I hope more than anything that he can be a Pope for the people.
Linda, UK

Looking at the present living condition today where Christian children are now involved in prostitution, I would like for new pope to put a method in order to stop these children what they are doing. This happens mostly in Africa.
Evelyn S. Dolo, Conakry, Guinea

Someone who continues Pope John Paul's work. Just because the values of the non-Catholic world change it doesn't mean that Catholics have to follow them. Many young Catholics are firm supporters of the Pope and the broader church's stand on contraception, abortion and divorce. It is about what you can be - not what you can't do.
Stuart Wilson, London

Hopefully the conclave will choose a pope who is alert to the problems of the world and the changing times we live in, yet faithful to the Bible rather than humanist tradition and doctrine.
Daniel Webster, Nottingham, UK

The next Pope should take the advice of the founder of his religion seriously, sell off all the Vatican's possessions and give the money to the poor - it's probably enough to pay off the debts of several African countries.
Paul Fauvet, Maputo, Mozambique

The world is always in flux, ever changing; the next pope should be aware of that, and yet should always stick to the Truth, as expressed by the twenty centuries of tradition; Truth is not subject to a vote.
Konrad, Los Angeles, CA, USA

The next Pope should live in the real world and understand the issues of daily living. He should have spent many years on the "shop floor" and be able to provide guidance to all the flock - not just those from developing countries. He needs to understand women's issues and life in the modern family otherwise Catholicism will become seen as a third world religion.
Anne McGown, Singapore

He must be the voice of the voiceless
Albert P'Rayan, India

The next Pope should be from a developing country or continent and he must be in touch with the reality and be interested in translating the vision and mission of Jesus Christ into action. He must have soft spot for those who have been deprived of human rights and stripped of human dignity and he must be the voice of the voiceless. He must spread the message of love, peace and justice to the world.
Albert P'Rayan, India

As a former Catholic, now a Buddhist, I would welcome a new Holy Father that would welcome all into the Church, from all walks of life; gay, straight etc. The Cardinals are in my thoughts and prayers this morning and I am confident that they are aware of the issues in this modern era. As for the late John Paul II - people are asking to make him a saint. I say no - a saint must love and respect all of humanity and John Paul II clearly could not welcome gay men and women into the Church. A true saint would be wholly "catholic" - universal and embrace love for all.
Julian Armanis, Monmouth

In all this debate, let's not forget Jesus Christ, the author of the faith. As a Catholic, I expect the new Pope will, like John Paul II, continue along the narrow road that leads to the fullness of life, as taught by Jesus, who didn't come preaching a message that everyone wanted to hear. The new Pope has the enormous responsibility to do the same, as his predecessors have done over the centuries. The new Pope will be the right man to deal with the burning issues for this new epoch.
Glenn, Luxembourg

There is no reason why the same teachings cannot be interpreted for today's society
Karen, London, UK
Let us have someone who is not afraid of change for the better! Whilst religion is a set of beliefs based on an ethos going back 2000 years, it does not mean change is not possible. Other religions have done it successfully, why not the Catholics? The society we live in is vastly different to the world when the Bible was written. The teachings 2000 years ago were interpreted according to life in that period. Time has moved on and there is no reason why the same teachings cannot be interpreted for today's society. If they have enough guts to do this, they may bring in many new followers who can compare the Bible to modern day relevancies.
Karen, London, UK

The church should grab this opportunity to appoint a progressive leader who can modernise and lead the organisation into the modern world.
Matt, Camberley, Surrey

The new pope should be from Africa.
Mirza, AlKhobar, Saudi Arabia

Please God, someone willing to embrace change!
Hilary Knott, Stoke, Staffs

A bridge for good relationships with other religions
Ersa, Philippines
The next pope should be a bridge for good relationships with other religions. However, he must consistently uphold the doctrine of the Church and never go against it even if the modern society applies pressure. The church must continue to be against abortion, divorce, artificial birth control and maintain the celibacy of priesthood.
Ersa, Philippines

I'm a Catholic and in my opinion let the Nigerian cardinal be the new pope. I personally think that he would be a great leader, not only for the Catholic church, but also for the world.
Laura Iskandar, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

I think the next pope needs to lead the church based on the raw message which comes directly from the gospels rather than on man-made doctrine which has evolved over many years and eventually gets mistaken as the word of God. The new pope needs to strike a balance advocating inclusiveness whilst not compromising the basic moral rights and wrongs. I can't recall anywhere in the gospel expressly forbidding contraception but I would also like to think that we should not be so naive as to think that contraception would be the whole solution to the problems of the third world.
Fran, Burnley, UK

He needs to place ecumenism high on his list of priorities
Barry, Stone, UK
The Church undoubtedly needs a progressive pope who, looking at scripture instead of the church's outdated doctrines and will bring about a radical shift in steering a new course for Roman Catholicism. He needs to place ecumenism high on his list of priorities, along with addressing world poverty and a more enlightened approach to contraception, particularly in regard to the people of Africa. Cardinal Ratzinger would not be such a candidate, but surely there is amongst the 115 cardinals one who has a new vision for the world's largest branch of Christianity.
Barry, Stone, UK

John Paul's II legacy of identification and support of fundamental truths, and the importance of the dignity of life - should be continued, but with some understanding that there exist exceptional circumstances where greater love is shown by not being legalistic.
Martin, Singapore, Singapore

The Catholic church in the US has tried change and it hasn't worked. Stick to the values we have worshipped for so long!!
Stephen

Whoever becomes the new pope should have more dialogue with the Muslim world especially with Saudi Arabia. He should also be instrumental in bridging the gaps between Western countries (having large Christian populations) and the Islamic world.
Mirza, AlKhobar

An Irish or English Pope would be nice!
Jay, Cork, Dublin

Someone who genuinely cares for all of the people on this planet regardless of race, religion or sexual preferences. Someone who will amend, and instigate progressive doctrine to suit the modern times. Someone who will free women from the preachings of contraception is sin. Someone who is infinitely different than the last pope and the cardinals he has appointed to promote his outdated and ill-moded theologies.
Marc, Singapore ex-UK

I hope that the new pope will be a traditionalist like John Paul II. Present society is morally corrupt, selfish and greedy. I would like to see the new pope openly criticise western governments and try to sort out the mess we are in.
Paul, Wales

Who cares? Religion is an outmoded concept and should be abolished.
Bob, UK

It should be the cardinal of Sao Paolo in Brazil. This is necessary to unite the Church, keep it in touch with the real world and to make it look forward rather than back.
JohnM, LyneMeads, UK




VOTE RESULTS
What should papal priorities be?
Traditional teaching
19%
Artificial birth control
20%
Attitudes towards divorce
2%
Celibacy of the priesthood
8%
Role of women
11%
Third world debt
16%
Multi-faith relations
24%
9008 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Vote now closed



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