The next Pope - what the people want

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As the Pope steps down, the Tablet asked people of all ages, from all around the world, what sort of person they want for his successor. Here are their answers.

Louise Macdonald (40s), opera singer, Glasgow

I was very surprised when the Pope announced he was resigning, but I thought it was a very wise decision. I admire him for being humble enough to make that decision.  

I would like to see someone who can bring unity, ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue. I would also like to see someone who can look at the issues which are contentious in the church and deal with them - to be open to discuss issues like women priests, for instance.  I think that will be the last thing that comes, but it would be good to have someone who was prepared to have a dialogue about it. I personally don't see any logical reason why there shouldn't be women  priests.

Marie Cunningham (71), a retired teacher, Glasgow

I was very surprised when I heard the Pope had resigned. But then when I saw him on television I thought he looked very frail and that it was the right thing to do for him and for the Church. I would like to see a new Pope from Latin America or Africa. The Church is growing in these parts of the world. It's a  universal Church, not a European one and that should be reflected in the Pope.

Simon Rose (30), naval officer, London

I was a bit surprised, but I think it's ok to resign. I would like to see a new pope who is a bit more progressive, more inclusive. I think this is a chance to change on a whole range of issues, particularly women priests and married priests.

Fiona Kinnear (45), food retailer, London

I was really shocked initially and then I saw how frail the Pope was. I think he's done a very courageous thing. The new pope does need to be more progressive, for example on contraception in very high HIV areas, particularly in Africa. That is why it may possibly be good to have an African pope.

James Devaney, primary school teacher, London

I think it was very forward thinking of Pope Benedict to step down. He was right not to wait until he lost all his effectiveness. As to the next pope, I would like someone who is a bit younger, can be here for longer and who can reach out more directly to people. I don't really mind where he comes from as long as he is caring and easy to talk to.

Michael Petersen (44), chiropractor, London

I hope we will get a pope who will represent Catholic society better than Pope Benedict XVI. I would like the next one to be non-European and to have a much stronger profile in global politics. I'm Danish - and like the Poles and Norwegians - we found the election of the last pope hard because of our war history. And although Pope Benedict did a fantastic job, I hope the church will not put us under a similar stress again. I would like a pope, wherever he is from, who represents an open minded church. The Catholic Church has to start taking a much more vigorous role in bringing about peace in the world."

FULL STORY 'We need a Pope willing to live in the world we live in' (Tablet)


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