By Mark Abrams
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When the cardinals enter the Conclave to select a new pope, they will have to consider some key challenges he will face as leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
Vatican watchers and even some of the cardinals themselves say the two biggest issues facing the new pope are abuse and administration.
The clergy abuse scandal they say has shattered faith and a healing and a compassionate shepherd is needed.
And alleged corruption in the Vatican administration is being forwarded by the pope emeritus for his successor to address.
Bill Madges, an academic dean and theology professor at St. Joe’s University, says the next pope has to, “Take responsibility for the mistakes, the errors, the crimes that may have been committed by those in the church and leadership positions and really try to move things forward saying we’re going to recognize that, we’re going to be responsible for it, we’re going to move forward in new ways to make sure that namely there are no repeats of these criminal acts.”
Madges says he’ll also have to go after the declining numbers of practicing Catholics in North America and Europe and meet new challenges posed by evangelical recruitment efforts in the Latin America.
Mark Abrams will be reporting live from Rome when the Conclave convenes to select a successor to Pope Benedict XVI. Follow his updates on KYW Newsradio and CBSPhilly.com.