What the new pope should do

To restore the credibility of the Catholic Church for alienated Catholics and the wider society, a new Pope should :
1 . Decentralise the absolutism and creeping infallibility within the papacy in favour of national bishops’ conferences, who should exercise co-responsibility with the Pope, with the Roman Curia reformed to become an administrative arm of the Church .
2. Establish that unity through diversity rather than uniformity be a guiding principle in all areas of Church governance and theological reflection.
3  Ensure that respect for the human rights of all the people of God should be foundational in the exercise of power within the Church.
4. Make all ministries within the Church  open to women.
5. Oversee democratic structures being developed in the selection of all church offices.
6. Establish a revitalised theology of sexuality (especially on homosexuality) based on the dignity of the human person rather than on natural law.
7. See the creation of a more inclusive Church community where everyone is welcomed into full communion of our Church
8. Give a renewed impetus towards full Christian unity to eliminate the scandal of Christian division.

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  1. In other words, the Catholic Church needs to embrace a Protestant “anything goes” model? Democratic principles are necessary for secular societies, but Jesus promised the Church would last until the end. The Church would not have survived without absolutism (keeping it’s beliefs and morality instead of changing with wind) and remaining undemocratic (majority rule leads to dissension).

  2. Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh says:

    Thank you for the above 8 recommendations. I would like to add a 9th recommendation – to return the words of the liturgy of the Mass back to the previous, more easily spoken and prayed translation, where “I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I will be healed”, which is more wholistic than saying “I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”. Thankyou for your consideration.

  3. Lloyd Allan MacPherson says:

    “6. Establish a revitalised theology of sexuality (especially on homosexuality) based on the dignity of the human person rather than on natural law.”
    No offence but I think that before you can ask for a revitalised theology of sexuality based on dignity, perhaps we could ask for people to be re-educated on Natural Law first. If you could in your lifetime, speak with a person who has spent the majority of his/her life denying his/her true sexuality. I have and I can assure you, it is a living hell for them. St. Thomas proclaims in Natural Law when what is “natural” is denied to the individual, it opens up the possibility of most unnatural things happening (lack of confidence, depression, self-mutilation and in extreme cases suicide). Can we all agree that a man/woman relationship is natural in only its application to “procreation” but its also completely natural that not all of God’s children are to be “hard-wired” the same way, 100% of the time, as nature among all species has shown us?
    I think what the new Pope should do is show that the Vatican has not become a totalitarian state. Recognize that the Spirit speaks universally through all of us and that equal under God, we can unite to provide him the matters that concern us the most; many of which you have pointed out. Besides, if this recommendation comes from anywhere but Christendom, that nulifies the “totalitarian” concept, doesn’t it. Don’t ever miss opportunities in our relationship with God to come closer to Him, or each other for that matter; possibly the two most important things we do in our lifetime.

  4. Con Carroll says:

    we should be asking, what have we to offer. are we just content going along with institution reform. remember the real guys behind the scene of the Conclave control the Vatican. economic and political. Knights of Columbus. Legionaries of Christ. Opus Dei. these guys certain want to keep the show on the rd.
    are we just happy at nodding smiling at each other, in white middle class circles. patting each other on the back. the facts are the majority of youth. and youg families. are standing laughing at the old boys club
    where are our places of welcome, Openess empowerment
    do we invite people to meet to use their own imagination in Spirituality?
    why don’t we have people like the Little Sister of Jesus
    where are the Jerusalem Communities?
    are we open and bold to let go of a Theology Spirituality which is out of date. to embrace a new way of been inclusive
    where are our places for people who are interested in exploring new ways of Franciscan spirituality. the institution Churches Religious orders are lonely isolated alienated place to be in. out of date. use your imagination don’t be afaraid to be yourself explore. having a sense of humour solidarity welcome. who needs Canon Law. Conclave of Cardinals. dresses in out of date fashion. drag queens could do better

  5. Thank you for your wise and succinct analysis and specific solutions. As the Pope’s resignation helps demystify the papacy, your analysis and solutions cut to the chase.
    The real challenge is whether the Cardinals next month will prudently require the next Pope to commit to a prompt reform process and schedule BEFORE he is elected. This can be done, as I have pointed out. If Cardinals fail to do so, Catholics likely will have to rely on international prosecutors and finanacial regulators to reform the Vatican, which could still bring the Church structure back soon to its consensual origins.
    For an explanation, please see my, “Next Pope and Only Some Cardinals Are Immune From Abuse Crimes”, accessible at:

  6. Robert Hughes says:

    As an Anglican (of the affirming catholic wing) I would like to make a suggestion for an immediate action by the Pope which would not require any doctrinal changes at this time but would have an immediate impact and signal a profound change in direction. Appoint a woman (or even better, some women) to the College of Cardinals. All that needs to be done is to rescind the requirement (I think first introduced by Paul V1) for Cardinals to be ordained Bishops.

  7. Eddie Finnegan says:

    I believe the episcopal requirement for cardinals was down to the ‘Good Pope John’ in the early 1960s, while the priestly ordination rule came nearly half-a-century earlier. I think there was still a lay cardinal, male and celibate, surviving into the 20th century.

  8. Stephen Edward says:

    I find the Church perfectly ‘credible’ as it is. I know that the homo-mafia need to be identified and removed asap and the SSPX reconciled if possible but beyond that I am content. I am certainly not alone.

  9. Joe O'Leary says:

    “I find the Church perfectly ‘credible’ as it is. ” How so, when so many of the faithful are deprived of the eucharist?

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