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Which Cardinals really want the papacy? None, says UToledo expert

Dr. Peter Feldmeier, Murray/Bacik Endowed Chair in Catholic Studies

Dr. Peter Feldmeier
Murray/Bacik Endowed Chair in Catholic Studies

While media stories highlight supposed front-runners to be the next Bishop of Rome, UToledo Catholic studies expert Dr. Peter Feldmeier says that among the College of Cardinals, he doubts people are hoping for the position.

“It’s a weighty job. I don’t know how many popes have wanted the job in the modern period. My hunch is, none,” said Feldmeier, Murray/Bacik Endowed Chair of Catholic Studies at UT.

He recounted a story of John Paul II in tears prior to the final balloting in October of 1978 when it became clear among Cardinals that he would become the next pope.

“These were not tears of joy, but a recognition of the pressure that comes with becoming a servant of the world,” Feldmeier said.

Feldmeier, who has called for greater transparency from the Catholic Church to regain what he feels is its diminished moral authority, said that while this change in the papacy will be momentous, he doesn’t anticipate a great deal of change in the church.

“Any change in papacy is more a change in tone than any real dramatic change in policy or theology. You’re going to find a lot of continuity. This was certainly the case between Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI,” Feldmeier said.

“Their personalities were very different – Benedict was a much more private man and didn’t have the kind of charisma that John Paul II did. But in terms of theology and views of the pope’s role, I think you’ll see more similarities than differences in the next pope.

Media Coverage
Leading Edge with Jerry Anderson (March 11, 2013)
WTOL 11 (March 13, 2013)

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