On Thursday at 8 p.m. local time in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI will step down as head of the Catholic Church. He will become the first pope in nearly 600 years to retire. Obviously, no one knows who the next pope will be, though bookies are taking bets. The press is speculating that the next in line could be the first Latin American, African, Asian, or American pope.
Regardless of who it is, the next pope will lead a church facing some divisive issues: whether priests should be allowed to marry, whether women should be ordained, whether contraception should remain banned, and, of course, how to addres ongoing child sex abuse in the church.
We’ll hear from Catholics around the region about what role faith plays in their lives, including from monks at Mt. Angel Abbey outside of Salem. Our producers visited the monastery this month to document a day in a life of a monk at the Monastery:
Are you a practicing or former Catholic? What would you like to see from the next pope? What changes would you support or oppose in the church?