On Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI became the first pontiff in nearly 600 years to willingly step down from his position. What kind of man will the cardinals who have gathered in Rome from around the world choose to be his successor? We asked Catholics from a variety of perspectives to write about some of the qualities they would like to see in a new pope.
Sackcloth and ashes
By Sister Eileen McNerney
The first words that I would like our new pope to say are, “For the next 40 days, I will be wearing sackcloth and ashes in repentance for the sins of our church.” The horrendous scandal of sexual abuse has pained me deeply, and I know that I am not alone in how I carry this sadness.… Seguir leyendo »
Fifty years ago this month, the Roman Catholic Church embarked on a period of soul-searching that reverberated far beyond St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Pope John XXIII called Catholic bishops across the globe to the Second Vatican Council, opening the windows of a monarchical church to the modern world.
The first Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, sat in the White House. Clergy infused the civil rights movement with moral transcendence. These were heady days for religious progressives.
They were also fleeting. Just two decades later, Jerry Falwell made the religious right the public face of Christianity. Today, at a time when debates over the role of faith in politics are as prickly as ever, Catholic nuns in the United States are reawakening the spirit of Vatican II and inspiring a new generation of disillusioned Christians as they face harsh rebuke from an increasingly conservative hierarchy.… Seguir leyendo »