Americans Loved John Paul II, But are Open to Change
The respondents strongly agreed (90%) that John Paul will go down as either a great or one of the greatest popes ever; 71% of the Catholics surveyed said that he would likely be made into a saint.
However, although nearly 60% said that they would like to see the next pope take theological stands similar to those of John Paul, a third would like to see a more liberal pope. Only 4% said they'd like to see the next pope be more conservative.
Majorities of those surveyed said the next pope should take more liberal positions on birth control, stem cell research and permitting priests to marry. Respondents were almost evenly split on the issues of divorce and allowing women to be priests. The one issue on which the respondents clearly supported John Paul's position was abortion.
The respondents overwhelmingly said that they would support a pope who came from Africa, Asia or Latin America -- regions in which the Catholic Church is growing rapidly, and regions that will likely influence the Church heavily over the coming years.
RELATED: The Pope Blog, MSNBC and New Zealand-based Catholic Communications are blogging the passing of John Paul II and upcoming events at the Vatican. Also...
- BuzzMachine has a collection of links concerning the pope, papal succession, Catholic traditions and popular misconceptions.
- Textually.org reports on how the Vatican used e-mail and SMS messaging to keep the press updated in the days leading to the Pope's death.
- The UK Guardian has retrieved a 2002 message from Pope John Paul II urging Catholics to use Internet technology to spread the Gospel.
- Some of the more popular web portals in China are censoring and blocking comments on discussion boards about the Pope. Although they claim they are acting independently and not on orders of the government, the sites' explanations sound suspicious: "Religious issues are special. We are afraid of problems arising... We're afraid people who don't understand religion will make unreasonable remarks."
- Visit the official Vatican website at http://www.vatican.va