The heir of Saint Peter
Perhaps the single most serious problem facing the Church is the health of the current heir of Saint Peter, Pope John Paul II.
Until John Paul II, it was reasonably safe to assume that the Pope would be Italian. John Paul's election in 1978 as the 263rd successor of Saint Peter as Bishop of Rome had been the result of a political compromise resulting from the split of the Italian camp and the drive by conservatives. The College of Cardinals has been internationalized and decentralized since John Paul headed the Holy See, hence a cardinal of any nationality should have a fair chance.
The new Pontiff will have to contend with mounting fundamentalism not just of Muslims but of Catholics who believe that the Church has made too many concessions in the past decades.
Catholics believe that the Holy Spirit guides the cardinals in choosing their next leader. With the challenges ahead and the gravity of the issues facing the Church, we should all be grateful that the cardinals are receiving instructions from a mystical force. -- The Manila Times