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A new pope in 
the Year of Faith

Since Pope Benedict XVI stepped down, the children of God have been preparing to welcome a new pope. What light does this historic moment in the life of the Church shed for us?

The College of Cardinals met in the general congregations from March 4 up to the setting of March 12 as the date for the convening of the conclave to elect a new pope.

In the pre-conclave gatherings, the cardinals discussed some of the important issues faced by the Church; the world today, the needs of the New Evangelisation, the Church’s charitable work, the ministry of the pope, the activity of the Roman Curia and its various dicasteries, as well the relations between the pope and local bishops.

The director of the Vatican press office, Father Federico Lombardi, said they may be suggesting a profile for the new man in the Chair of Peter.

The former archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, commented that in choosing a new pope the cardinals must look for a spiritual man, with strong leadership skills and an inclusive attitude, who, together with the bishops, would be seen as a good, understanding and empathetic listener.

It is worth noting that the former president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Walter Cardinal Kasper, said that there is a need for more collegiality and better communication within the Church.

The pope is there to provide pastoral care to the children of God in a unifying manner. While some outsiders have expressed concern over and been critical of over-centralisation, the Church has clearly recognised its nature as lying in collegiality, which enables the bishops, under the primacy of the pope, to collectively carry out the pastoral ministry of the Church.

This year is also the Year of Faith, which recalls the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

While continuing in the line of tradition, Vatican II also brought renewal to the Church and helped bring it into step with the modern world. It presented a clearer understanding of the children of God as Church, as well as the roles of ministry in the Church, the hierarchy and the laity.

Vatican II also recognises that, as the Church shares the same concerns as society, it should work to serve society in different ways. Consequent of this, we are all called to work with the pope and carry the responsibility of spreading the gospel.

The promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in 1992 was intended to meet the needs in the faith life of contemporary Christians and to enhance the communion of the Church.

It helps Christians to strengthen their knowledge about the economy of God’s salvific plan and brings understanding to the hope held by Christians. It is worth mentioning that the president of the Commission for the Preparation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

In view of these two major events, how could we not be concerned about the election of the new pope? Amidst the massive media coverage of the conclave, let us respond by welcoming the new pope with strong faith. SE