This week the world was shocked when Pope Benedict XVI stepped down from his title as Pope. This was quite an historical event because the last time a Pope retired from his post was 600 years ago in the year 1415, when Pope Gregory XII resigned, after 10 years on the job 1415. Also in 1294, Pope Celestine V resigned after only five months, preferring the simple life of a monk to the majesty of being pope.
Benedict claims that he is stepping down because of health related issues but many speculate it there are other reasons. The last decade has not been friendly to the catholic church because of sexual conspiracies covered up by the the church. Furthermore many feel that the current Pope has not done enough to combat these abuses made by priests.The Pope is expected to devote his time to reflection and prayer while in retirement.
As we look at who is in the running to be the next pope one must not ignore Timothy Dolan of the United States. Out of all the Catholic leader Dolan is the most recognizable and respected cardinal of the United States. He is also very popular among the Vatican because of his conservative theological positions. He was also just made a Cardinal.
Also he was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and was the Archbishop of New York in 2009.
However some consider Dolan to young for the Papacy because he is only 63. But one must not forget that Pope John II, who became Pope at the age of 58. And he is widely regarded as one of the greater Popes. Furthermore Dolan is a lot like Paul because of his outgoing extroverted manner. One of Benedict main citizens was his lack of connection to the people. He was an introvert and did not charm people the way his predecessor did. Dolan knows how to connect with people he has even held his own in the humor department with the likes of Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert. The Catholic Churches main problem was that they were unable to connect with younger people. This is an opportunity for the church to move in more active enthusiastic direction.