The hoopla surrounding the Pope's prospective abdication is surreal to me. I'm not Catholic, so to many I have no say in the matter and shouldn't write anything on this matter. I'll try to be respectful, but if you feel that way, you probably should click the back button now.
For some reason; the Catholic Church believes they have a right to intrude on my spiritual beliefs, my life, my country's laws and I object to the Catholic Church or any religion pushing their dogma into my country's rule of law. I would be happy to ignore the Catholic Church if only they would ignore me. All is well with my soul, leave me alone.
Undoubtedly Pope Benedict will have a way to let 67 people he elevated to Cardinal know who he prefers to be his successor. The remaining 50 Cardinals that Pope John Paul II chose are not radically different from their newer brethren and are likely to fall in line. There will be no change, just more the same opposition to marriage equality, women's rights, birth control. There will be no return to priests getting married let alone allowing women priests. It will be the same thing. Just a different man inside a white robe.
Taking a wide angle view of the Catholic Church's leadership positions; changing Popes won't change any of the Catholic Church's policies or much of anything at all other than the new Pope will be younger and more able to vigorously resist progress. The most progressive stance of the Catholic Church is that Pope Benedict stated that he didn't see a reason to object to theory of Evolution and he encouraged world leaders to come to some agreement on climate change. Ok, that only took a hundred or so years. Why evolution and climate change? Why not gun safety laws? He thinks it's ok to poke his nose into our bedrooms, why not poke it into our holsters?
I want to feel encouraged that the Catholic Church will replace their leadership with a new leader who will be relevant to the challenges to the world, but reality bites. The fact is we won't see a man who will vigorously tell world leaders that climate change is real or prioritize human trafficking as a heinous act. We won't have a Pope who sees the illegal use of marijuana as more benign than designer drugs that are so new they aren't illegal yet.
I don't see a new Pope championing the poor. I see a new Pope taking the position of so many Popes before who think controlling the masses is far more preferable to alleviating the wrongs done to the masses. I see a new pope preoccupied with continuing their prohibition of homosexuality and abortion as being more important than being against child rape. I see a new pope who will be more interested in protecting the Catholic Church in favor of protecting his parishioners.
I don't see a new Pope recognizing the real difference between the wrongness of pedophilia and the naturalness of homosexuality. That's the problem isn't it? The Catholic Church doesn't recognize homosexuality as an innate state. The Catholic Church can point to a dozen or so scriptural references to homosexuality and cherry pick them to torment GLBT Catholics. There are scriptural references against adultery and fornication and for some reason the Catholic Church can grant absolution for these transgressions and not only "forgives" pedophilia they'll protect those who do it too.
The Catholic Church cherry picks the laws of Moses to enforce, but holds out homosexuality as a sex "sin" that can't be absolved? That's irrational. More troubling, there is no scriptural prohibition against child sex (other than it is fornication or adultery) and use that lack of scriptural guidance on child sex to continue their ruinous course concerning child rape within the church. Their unspoken stance is that child rape is simple fornication and can be absolved? That's unconscionable.
I want to hope for the best, but I've seen four Popes in my lifetime and they've learned nothing. The Roman Catholic Church will continue to fail as leaders of the world. A "new" Pope will continue in the old way.