Whether or not you are a Roman Catholic, the office of the Pope matters to Christians because the Pope has great influence over more than a billion of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Pope Benedict XVI, first Pope to resign since 1415.

The first thing I read when I awoke this morning was news that hasn’t been reported since 1415: the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) has resigned. The Pope has cited advanced age as the reason for his decision. Immediately, this raises a very important question: Who is going to be the next Pope?

As with a President (or King in some countries), a new Pope’s arrival is accompanied by various expectations from people who think the RCC should move this direction or that. While Benedict XVI was a very able theologian and pastoral figure, I have noticed that he wasn’t as beloved as Pope John Paul II (at least in my circles). I am not familiar enough with Roman Catholic theology to know whether this or that complaint is true, but I did hear many argue that Benedict XVI wasn’t moving forward in the spirit of Vatican II.

This raises questions for me. Roman Catholic readers, what do you want to see in the next Pope? Orthodox readers? Protestant readers? What are some hopes you hold for the Papacy that are likely or possible?

Would it change your perspective of the RCC (for outsiders) if the next Pope came from North America, Latin America, or Africa. The three names that emerged immediately are Cardinal Marc Ouellet from Canada, Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana, and Cardinal Leonardo Sandi from Argentina (see the full “odds” here). Would a non-European Papacy mean something different than a European Papacy?

Share your thoughts on the future of the Papacy.