A half century ago, the Catholic Church had a chance for reform in the Second Vatican Council. At that time Joseph Ratzinger was a young advocate of reform who enthusiastically endorsed the reforming trends of the council. Reactionary popes shoved this reform aside, and Ratzinger later joined them as Pope Benedict XVI. Now with his historic and extraordinary resignation the one time young advocate of Church reform has re-sparked the hope for change within the Catholic Church. Read more here
Results of a new poll conducted by the New York Times were published on March 5, 2013. This poll reveals that American Catholics are ready for reform and want the next Pope to liberalize the church’s position on issues such as birth control, ordaining women, allowing priests to marry and so much more.
Most American Catholics say they want the next pope to be “someone younger, with new ideas”. They want him to espouse more liberal teachings and almost all (91%) say the next Pope should support the use of condoms to help prevent HIV, and 71 % believe he should also favor artificial methods of birth control.
A large majority (69%) feel that women should be allowed in the priesthood, and 69% also believe priests should be permitted to marry. Though the majority of US Catholics felt the Pope should continue to oppose abortion, 74 % would still allow abortion under certain conditions. A majority (62%) would also legalize same-sex marriage.
The poll revealed that most Catholics believe it is possible to disagree with the Church on these issues and still be a good Catholic. And most of those surveyed (78%) said they are more likely to follow their own consciences on “difficult moral questions”.
Unsurprisingly, the poll found that the biggest problem facing the Church is sexual abuse by priests and the scandal of its cover-up. With the majority saying that the Vatican's poor job of handling the issue had led them to question the Vatican’s authority.
Perhaps it's time for the Catholic Church to finish what it started in the Reformation or face being forever irrelevant. Reformation 2.0: Will Next Pope Get It ?