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Watching the Smokestack

Updated on February 17, 2013

Which Way Will The Winds Blow

The Pope is usually a lifetime job. Once elected, you serve until you pass away; there have been two exceptions, the 15th Century and 2013.

The process of selecting a new Pontiff, will be unchanged though. The Cardinals will meet in the Vatican and billions of people will watch a smokestack to see if a new Pope has been elected.

But what type of Pope will be chosen. The Catholic Church has found itself in the situation of losing people to the left and to the right. People are turning to more modern and progressive flavors of Christianity, other religions, or even rationalism, etc, or embracing more evangelical and fundamentalist interpretations of scripture.

Take the Church in a more progressive direction; expanding the role of women, take a less strdent stance against homosexuals, etc, and you risk losing the older generation that makes up much of the leadership. Take an even harder line on reproductive freedom, continue to require, in most cases a celibate, male clergy, and you lose the younger generation that will be needed to keep the church growing and relevant.

Either way, I could see, in my lifetime, a schism or perhaps a second Reformation. Less likley would be a 3rd Vatican Council to bring the faith into a modern age,

This conclave could set the course of the Catholic faith for years, if not decades to come. I only hope the Cardinals are granted the wisdom to make the decisions that will keep Catholics relevant in this modern, multicultural and more secular world.


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