Panel of lay Catholics weighs in with advice for electing new pope
Published: March 4, 2013
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Laypeople have a right and duty to offer their ideas to the cardinals who will elect the next pope, one theologian observed as part of a panel of lay Catholics who proposed that characteristics such as joy and diplomacy were important to the selection. The pope matters even beyond the Catholic Church because it's important "to have a world leader at a time when the human family so divided, and often polarized to have the kind of charismatic, holy, compassionate person calling forth the best in all of us," said Miguel Diaz, professor of faith and culture at the University of Dayton, Ohio, and the most recent U.S. ambassador to the Holy See. Diaz was part of a round-table discussion at The Catholic University of America March 1, the day after Pope Benedict XVI resigned and as cardinals gathered in Rome to consider who they should choose to replace him. The program, co-sponsored by Catholic News Service, the show "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly," and the two Catholic universities, was filmed for broadcast by the PBS TV show. Another panelist, Kim Daniels, director of Catholic Voices USA, said the pope is essential because there's a need for "a leader on the world stage who is a voice for the voiceless." The discussion touched on what the participants think are important considerations for the cardinal electors, whether the world is ready for a pope who comes from the United States and what directions a new pope might -- or should -- take the church.
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