Whoever is chosen as the new bishop of Rome will become the global theologian in chief. Here are three trends he might have to tackle.
The decision to close the center was part of "an ongoing strategic reflection" by three East Coast Jesuit provinces that will merge into one in the next few years.
Catholics used to identifying the pope by individual traits may need to accept the idea of the pope as an office holder.
Some might commend Capuchin Fr. Thomas Weinandy for nearly a decade of holding firm -- keeping the wider U.S. church aligned closely with a strict interpretation of Catholic teachings.
Others might him tell him not to let the door hit him on the way out.
No matter what they think, very few are talking on the record.
One of Weinandy's predecessors at the Secretariat for Doctrine said he would not comment on his successor's work, even asking that his name not be used. Another did not return several phone calls.
Q and A: Capuchin Fr. Thomas Weinandy, head of the Secretariat for Doctrine, said while his job description requires his successor be a priest, a layperson could do just as well.
"We are not free to invent the priesthood according to our own customs, according to our own expectations," says Fr. Wojciech Giertych.
The role and function of the magisterium continue to be a source of controversy in many corners of the Catholic church today.
The head of the bishops' office tasked with upholding church teaching will leave his post at the bishops' Secretariat of Doctrine.
Essay: Thomas Merton's prophetic and contemplative stance against white racism has yet to be understood, much less practiced.
Editorial: In a recent letter to mothers of priests, one cardinal went on too long, including treacly pieties and strange contortions of gender and familial relations.