-- ZENIT.org News Agency
The Pope We Need
Wide Debate Continues on the Future Bishop of Rome
By Antonio Gaspari
ROME, March 05, 2013 (Zenit.org) - The closer the Conclave gets, the more voices multiply on the candidates who could be elected Pope.
The desire of the faithful is clear. From interviews, blogs, thoughts freely expressed on Facebook and Twitter, there is a great longing for a young Pontiff like John Paul II. A humble and good candidate, a good communicator who meets with people around the world, and attracts young people.
While showing great respect for Benedict XVI, there is also the desire for a Pontiff who is solid and clear on doctrine. The ideal would be a mix between John Paul II's enthusiasm and joy and a young Joseph Ratzinger.
One fact emerges above all: the faithful are praying and invoking the Holy Spirit in the hope that the next Pope will be young in body and heart. Too many sufferings were endured in John Paul II's last years of agony and Benedict XVI's resignation.
Believers are patient and confident in the work of the Holy Spirit. They will be joyful and grateful to the Lord for the new Pontiff, but there is no doubt that their expectations will be disappointed if he is a transitional candidate.
In terms of the geo-political situation, the decadence and scandals of Europe and of countries of the ancient evangelization is such that, perhaps, the moment has arrived to think of a non-European Pope. Young men and vocations are lacking in the Old World, while they are growing in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
The continent with the highest number of vocations and baptisms, where more young people live and where Christianity has enormous margins of diffusion is Asia.
It is also the continent that is emerging as a world superpower and where Christianity could offer charitable and humanizing solutions to exasperated utilitarianism; a response to a materialism that cancels the person, and to policies that do away with baby girls.
An eventual Asian Pontiff could also find the solution to the currently difficult relations with China.
It would certainly be a great leap forward, an act of courage that would put the Church ahead of all.
It was thus also with the election of Karol Wojtyla, the Polish Pope who brought so much good to the Church and the world.
An Asian Pope would make the number of conversions and pilgrims to the Church of Rome grow enormously.
To this aim, it should be recalled that the greatest World Youth Day was held in Manila with five million young people participating, and that the Philippines is the third country in the world in terms of the number of Catholics, less than Brazil and Mexico and more than the United States and Italy.
It is true that we are facing an epochal event, but is not, perhaps, the resignation of the pontificate by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI a sign of enormous discontinuity in order to reinforce and accelerate the process of renewal and New Evangelization?
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