US Catholics to Follow Conscience, Not Benedict XVI
Benedict will also need to reach out to Catholics, who have just begun to learn who he is. The poll found that 60% don't know enough about Benedict to form an opinion about him, and that despite Benedict's well-publicized conservative views, nearly half of those polled weren't sure in which direction he'd take the church. The good news for Benedict, however, is that 31% have a favorable view of him, and only 9% have an unfavorable view.
Because of his age (78) and the fact that he himself has predicted a "short reign," Benedict has already been pigeonholed by many as a "caretaker" pope who will not have the globetrotting dynamism of his predecessor. But even if he has only a few years on the world stage, the impact of Benedict XVI could be surprising... and greater than expected. It was, you may recall, another "caretaker" pontiff, John XXIII, who called the Second Vatican Council in 1962.
UPDATE: If you would like to send the new pope an e-mail, you can drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org