I am intrigued like many as to who the next Pope will be but part of me cannot help but reflect on the irrelevancy that the position has fallen to in the new geo-politics. The Catholic faith has been in retreat for some time and has certainly lost ground in the Americas not to mention Post-Modern Europe. While John Paul II led with authority in opposing the evils of Marxist-Leninism (especially in his homeland of Poland) the church has largely sat back while Islamist regimes continue to persectute Christians in the Middle East. The previous pope Benedict XVI whimpered a bit about the insanity of Islamism but appeared to back down under pressure. The Eastern Orthodox churches are just as stilted (although not as damaged by the cancer of liberation theology as are so many of the mainstream Western churches), while the Anglicans are caught in a never land crippled by the curse of accomodation, a dreadful doctrine espoused by the feel good philosophy of new agers such as the former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
Catholicism needs a strong pope who who will stand up to the belligerency of Islamofascism, call out moral relativism when he sees it and champion the Western Ideal against the impending barbarism that have moved too close to shore. Right now it is only the evangelical Protestant groups who carry this mantle - Catholicism is at a cross roads but to survive intact and continue its importance as one of the gatekeepers of Western Civilization (and indeed global history) it must rethink its pacifism and offer no apologies for opposing the all too many excesses of radical Islam. If it fails to do so then its inertia will carry it to obscurity along the road which it currently travels.