HOPE FOR THE POPE
No matter who we are in the world, I'm certain we all feel sorrow that Pope John Paul II has died. Whether you're a lapsed Catholic like me, a practicing Catholic with some disagreements, a Lutheran, a Jew, a Hindu, or a Moslem, it's hard to ignore the role of the Pope, particularly this one.
When he was elected in 1978 -- amid whispers that his immediate predecessor, who lasted months before dying, had met an end not of God's choosing -- it was amazing news, because he was the first non-Italian elected pope in 450 years. I think the next pope, and several soon thereafter, will all be non-Italians. The greatest growth in Catholicism is taking place in the Southern Hemisphere -- Central and South America and Africa -- and it would be logical to select a pope from these locales.
Anyway, that's the money I'm taking to Vegas.
In the bigger picture, one wonders about the new pope, who will presumably be vigorous and will come into power with great fanfare. The new pope will have an opportunity to weigh in on, among other things, fanatical Moslem terrorists. The current problems the West is having with radical Islam can be traced, in part, to the Crusades of nearly 1,000 years ago. Who started that? A pope. Can a current pope do something to reduce the problem? You know, maybe apologize for trying to kill Moslems in the name of God? Or will he seek to escalate the problem, calling on all Catholics, perhaps all Christians, to kill more Moslems in the hope of going to heaven?
Which people did Christ advocate be killed again, was it?
The Vatican website.
Wikipedia's entry on electing popes, with speculation about the next one.