JEFFERSON CITY - The election for the new pope of the Catholic Church is to start Tuesday, March 12, in the Vatican. Some Catholic politicians in the Missouri State Capitol say that society and the Catholic Church are prepared for a non-European pope.
Rep. Jacob Hummel, D-St. Louis, said he understands the politics behind not electing a pope from America and Sen. Scott T. Rupp, R-Wentzville, thinks that the world is not ready yet for an American pope.
On the contrary, for Rep. Chrissy Sommer, R- St. Charles, a pope from the United States would be something exiting.
And Rep. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, said it does not matter. “For a serious Catholic it doesn’t matter where the Pope comes from," he said. "Cardinals are praying and discerning who the next Pope should be and are going to make the right decision. I have faith in that.”
The lawmakers said there are several challenges the new Pope should address. Sommer thinks the challenges will be to reunite the church, to motivate the youth and to restore family values.
Wieland said it would be good “to have someone up there who is not afraid to say that marriage is between a man and a woman, and the sanctity of life is something to be respected.”Rupp said he thinks the next pope will need to address the growing secular movement, and Hummel would like to see the new pope place stronger emphasis on helping the poor.
“And obviously some of the sexual abuses have to be addressed more than they have been in the past," Hummell said.
In discussing who the next pope might be, media outlets around the globe have repeatedly mentioned two of the U.S. cardinals: Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, is a Capuchin monk and a strong supporter of zero tolerance of sexual abuses in the Catholic Church. The second one is Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York.
In the conclave, Cardinals will begin the process of electing the 266th successor of the Apostle Peter. There are eleven cardinals from the U.S. among the 115 cardinal electors.
Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation last month, becoming the first pope to voluntarily step down in more than 600 years. The Vatican has said that he will remain living in the Vatican with the title of "pope emertius" after his successor is chosen. Editor's note: Rastislav Hamracek is a Catholic priest who is currently pursuing a master's degree in social communication at The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, in Rome, Italy. He is reporting for The Missouri Digital News while taking classes at the University of Missouri for the Spring 2013 semester.