April 17, 2005

Catholics hope for progressive pope

The News Journal

By GARY SOULSMAN / The News Journal
04/17/2005Cari DeSantis of St. Anthony of Padua parish in Wilmington hopes the conclave of cardinals, who begin meeting Monday, will elect a pope who will be as revered as John Paul II.

But she has no illusions about their electing a man whose teachings will appeal to all 66 million American Catholics, even if he can speak eloquently to the world.

"It's the nature of Americans to think for themselves and question church teachings," said DeSantis, of Hockessin.

Bishop Michael Saltarelli, leader of the 220,000 Catholics in the Diocese of Wilmington, has told parishioners to expect the next pope to promote the same core values. Yet many Catholics, like those in the local diocese, say they want the next pope to take different positions on important issues. ...

It's an authoritarianism that's failed to protect young people from sexual abuse, said Gary Belkot of Georgetown, a member of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

"As a survivor, I think the church needs a pope who will reconcile itself to the laity and foster more democracy," he said. "Church authorities did not do a good job of policing themselves until outside complaints were raised. So our responsibility is to look out for the most vulnerable among us."

Posted by kshaw at April 17, 2005 08:20 AM