The Pope is dead, long live the Pope.
Today should be a celebration for Catholics everywhere as we now have a new Pope.
So much for thin and fat Popes. It would seem that the cardinals have elected a man with similar ideals to the last pope. Though truth be told the last pope was pretty much a liberal coming in and was a conservative going out. In fact I have heard that Benedict XVI is even more conservative than John Paul II. One hysteric on the BBC website is already predicting schisms in the Church. Personally I think it is far too early to make predictions like that. No one knows the path that this Pope will tread, not even himself yet I imagine.
For those who worry that we must expect more of the same I offer the following thought: this man was close to the previous pontiff for 20 years and saw the dangers of ignoring and hiding problems (such as the paedophillia); he is reputed to be an intelligent man and so we might expect more openness. He is also reputed to be a very holy man and as such maybe he will listen to hear whether the Holy Spirit is really guiding him in his decisions.
On a personal note, and noting that I am biased through familiarity, I did not get the same sense of charisma that I always felt from the previous Pope. That aside, I am willing to give him a chance.