Election of the new Pope and challenges

  • About 115 cardinals eligible to vote on a new pontiff are expected in Rome today where they would decide on when to start the formal process of electing the head of catholic church. Only those cardinals under the age of 80 are eligible to vote. The new pope is normally elected with the two-third majority but rules could be changed to a simple majority if no one attains the desired two-third votes.

    One of the most famous traditions of the papal succession ritual is the appearance of smoke from the chimney of the conclave room, where cardinals meet in secret and in seclusion to elect the new pope. Ballots are burned inside the chimney after each vote. If the smoke is black, it indicates that the voting was inconclusive; if the smoke is white, it means that a new pope has been installed.

    A pope does not have to change his name but most do. It is symbolic of Jesus changing the name of Simon to Peter at the time he named him as leader of his Church and the first pope. That's why Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict.

    No matter who the new pope is, he faces grave challenges:

    (1) helping out the sex abuse victims financially and spiritually,

    (2) eliminating the homosexual elements from the clergy, and

    (3) bringing his financial house in order where numerous irregularities have plagued the church.

    No one believes that the new pope would have the moral courage to deal with any of these issues. It would also be interesting to see if the new pope picks on Islam the way the last one did.