Mar 5, 2013
06:54 AM
Connecticut Today

A Pope-ular Makeover?


Now that Pope Benedict has formally stepped down, the search for his successor starts in earnest as cardinals from around the world have gathered to determine whom among them is worthy to be next to sit in the chair of St. Peter.

Although this decision will ultimately be made in secrecy by a select few, its consequences will have a large impact on the entire globe, including here in Connecticut, where there is an estimated 1 milliion Catholics.

Obviously, the man who is chosen to succeed Pope Benedict will have a lot of issues to deal with, chief among which is trying to repair the image of the church, which has been battered over the past few decades, especially here in Connecticut. Just a year ago, our interview with former Bridgeport bishop and New York cardinal Edward Egan made national headlines when he said that he regetted apologizing to parishoners for sex abuses that had happened in Connecticut, and insisted that the church had done nothing wrong in its handling of these cases, which they hid from authorities. The fallout from those scandals is still significant here in the state, and not something quickly forgotten by anyone.

The church's image took another blow last summer, when the leadership in Rome started cracking down on U.S. nuns, starting with censuring Sister Margaret A. Farley, who teaches at New Haven's Yale Divinity School, for her book, Just Love. A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics. The Vatican's stance toward American nuns became a heated national debate, and spurred our article "Nuns' Story," which was received well by many our readers, who demonstrated strong support for the charitable work that nuns are doing here in Connecticut.

So although the new pope will be confronted by a number of critical challenges as he takes the reins of spiritual leadership for 1 billion people, there will be 1 million of the local faithful who hope that more effort will be made to heal the self-inflicted wounds and better address the issues that have caused so much strife.

A Pope-ular Makeover?

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