Next Pope Has Tough Road Ahead

By: Whitney Holmes
By: Whitney Holmes

April 18, 2005

A local priest and UVa religious studies professor told the Newsplex that the next pope faces a lot of weighty issues.

Father Gerald Fogarty said the next pope will have to address the lack of men choosing priesthood as a vocation, as well as the collapse of the church in Europe.

He also said the next pope will have to address the large ideological divide within the church, specifically on whether or not it should be centralized.

"There are many people who say we need a centralized papacy. But we had the sex abuse crisis partly because the church is too centralized because the bishops are responsible only to the pope, which means they are responsible to no one. As far away as the 2,600 bishops are in the world, the pope can't possibly know what's going on in all these dioceses," said Father Fogarty.

Father Fogarty also said the next pope will most likely be someone older, since many of the challenges to come can be attributed to the long pontificate, and also someone who speaks English.

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