Tradition instead of reform. For Pope Benedict XIV, the future of the Catholic Church had less to do with looking forward than with a focus on conservative values. More and more people are turning away from Roman Catholicism in Europe, although the number of believers in Asia and Africa is growing steadily.
When the College of Cardinals meets at the Papal Conclave in Rome to choose the next Pope, only a few non-Europeans have a chance of election. Most of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, on the other hand, live in Africa, Asia and Latin America. And their numbers are rising.
These growing religious communities provide the church with opportunities for renewal, but they also have their own priorities. On his trips to Africa, Pope Benedict largely ignored these hard-to-address issues on the ground, instead taking the traditional Vatican line on topics like HIV, poverty and corruption.
Many in Latin America also feel the Catholic Church is too ‘eurocentric’, and are hoping the election of a new Pope will help catalyze change. They want solutions to the region’s most pressing problems, including insufficient numbers of trained priests. Large numbers of Christians there have also chosen to leave Roman Catholicism for one of the evangelical denominations.
Catholics in Asia waited in vain for a visit from Benedict XVI.
What legacy is Pope Benedict XVI leaving behind?
Tell us what you think: Farewell Benedict XVI - A Difficult Legacy
Simon Boiser – is a Catholic priest and member of the Steyler Missionaries congregation. He became chaplain to the Philippine community in Berlin in 2011. Boiser studied philosophy in his home country of the Philippines and then went on to read theology in Germany. After his ordination he administered several congregations across Germany. Since beginning his studies to become a priest Bosier has studied the thoughts and opinions of Joseph Ratzinger as a theologian, cardinal and finally as pope.
Alexander Görlach - he holds two doctorate degrees in theology and linguistics. He is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of the German debate magazine The European. Previously, Görlach worked for the German national TV station ZDF, the dailies "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung", "Süddeutsche Zeitung", "Die Welt", and served as online editor of the political magazine "Cicero". He regularly appears as an analyst on N24 television and lectures on digital change at the Free University in Berlin.
Derek Scally - is the Berlin correspondent of the "Irish Times". He studied journalism in his native Dublin and cultural studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin. He worked previously in New York for "The Irish Voice," the leading Irish-American newspaper in the U.S. His main areas of interest are federal and European politics, business and the arts. He also reports on Polish affairs and reported closely on the German pope Benedict.