Who should be the next Pope?
ROMAN Catholic priests across Notts have given their thoughts on who should succeed Pope Benedict XVI.
It was announced last week that the Pope will step down on February 28, making him the first pontiff to resign in nearly 600 years.
The 85-year-old's decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new Pope before the end of March. More than 100 cardinals will meet in Rome to choose his successor using a secret balloting system.
There is speculation over who the next Pope will be. If chosen, Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze would be the first black Pope, while Cardinal Timothy Dolan may become the first American to hold office.
But Catholic clergyman across Nottingham have dubbed this speculation as irrelevant.
Father Geoffrey Hunton, of The Cathedral Church of St Barnabas, said the conclave did not consider these aspects when making their decision.
He added: "The cardinals rise above nationality. Whoever is elected must relate on many levels to the diverse members of every parish."
Newspaper reports have also highlighted the perceived significance of factors such as the candidates' theological slant, their Vatican loyalties and their ability to utilise fame to represent the faith effectively.
However, the Rev Andrew Cole, of The University of Nottingham Catholic Chaplaincy, said: "The new Pope must be authoritative without being authoritarian. He quite simply needs to be the person best suited for the role.
"It really is a job like no other."
The Rev Canon Michael Brown, of The Holy Spirit Church, West Bridgford, said he would be pleased to see a Pope elected who offered the most universal vision of the church.
He added: "Rome should avoid turning to a eurocentric figure, as Catholics span the entire globe. This will allow him to recognise where the Church is going without just reacting to difficulties when they arise."
Canon Brown also emphasised that the new Pope must be immersed in humanity so he can engage productively with politicians and world leaders.
He added: "The most well-equipped pontiff will be sensitive to where Catholicism currently stands and how we can tackle moral issues together."
The Rev Monsignor Edward Walker, of St Hugh of Lincoln Church, Bilborough, warned that Pope Benedict XVI had brought the debate over papal good health to the fore – underlining it as an element which will impact upon his successors as they embark upon gruelling overseas tour duties.
He added: "Age is an important consideration. I think the next Pope should be younger than 65 to ensure his energy levels are high enough. He should also come from a wide theological background, as narrow upbringings can sometimes isolate the Pope in wider communities."
Father Francis Carvill, of The Holy Cross Church, Hucknall, said the main three attributes of a new Pope should be holiness, wisdom and devotion.
He added: "Labels like 'conservative theology' and 'liberal theology' mean absolutely nothing. They are a load of old rubbish."
Father Quentin Jackson, of Our Lady and St Edward Church, West Bridgford, seconded this list of essential qualities.
He said: "Pope Benedict XVI has left a stable theological base for a good administrator and communicator to build on."