National Catholic Reporter

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Conclave 2013

Can public opinion sway the moves of the new pope?

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A recent New York Times/CBS News poll has documented some very interesting opinions among American Catholics. I want to share a few of the ones I found most surprising.

A total of 71 percent of American Catholics favor permitting the use of artificial birth control methods. Sixty-nine percent favor married priests, and 69 percent also favor women priests.

What Congress could learn from the papal conclave

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In Rome, as the College of Cardinals enters the conclave this evening to begin its work electing a new pope, in the United States, Congress continues to be incapable of resolving the political and budgetary crisis caused by sequestration.  The cardinals will probably only take a few days to elect a pope, but by the time the conclave is over, Congress may still be deadlocked in its efforts to pass a budget, much to the embarrassment of the nation.

Reforming the Vatican Curia

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Many of the cardinals are looking for a pope who can reform the Vatican curia, but it is not clear what they mean by “reform.” “Reform” is, after all, in the eye of the beholder.

I would distinguish between two types of reform: 1) Better management, 2) Comprehensive reform.

Much of the scandals surrounding the curia recently are simple management problems: financial corruption, sexual impropriety, petty infighting among factions, leaking of documents. Dealing with these issues is neither rocket science nor theology.

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