THE EDITOR, Sir:
While most Catholics were taken by surprise that the Pope has called it a day because of his failing health, no one should be surprised that after the new Pope has been installed, the Roman Catholic Church will remain the same.
Pope Benedict XVI should be commended for realising that both the papacy and the church would suffer if he remained in the position of Pope and not really in command. Not wanting to be a vegetable or puppet Pope, I think he did the right thing to leave office.
Now, those of us, including atheists like myself, who would like the Roman Catholic Church to experience some sort of reformation with the new Pope to come, must by now realise that this will not happen.
The new Pope will be elected by very senior cardinals who are very seasoned Roman Catholics. While not impossible, it is highly unlikely that there will be many senior cardinals who will be reformed enough to get a new Pope with a much more liberal world view. As such, a very conservative Roman Catholic Church is expected to continue with the new Pope.
Resistant to change
Senior Catholics have claimed that the longevity of their church is due, in large part, to their resistance to change. So those priests who want to marry, those homosexuals who want to be treated as equals, and those women who want to be Catholic leaders, and many others, can simply forget it.
In recent times, the number of people remaining in Catholic churches has been declining rapidly. Many Catholics have been turned off from the church because of its strict conservatism - and not to mention the many child-abuse sex scandals. I cannot see how any new 'old-style' Pope will change any of this, as the past ones have done very little.
So, as far as can be seen, whether its senior cardinals elect an old or young Pope, the Roman Catholic Church will maintain its conservatism for a very long time to come.
MICHAEL A. DINGWALL