The next pope faces challenges

 Reform: The next pope will have to restore discipline to the scandal-plagued central administration of the church. Benedict XVI commissioned a report on the Vatican bureaucracy after his butler leaked private papers revealing feuding, corruption, and cronyism at the highest levels of administration. The secretive Vatican bank recently ousted a president for incompetence and is under pressure for greater financial transparency.

 Sex abuse: The Vatican remains under pressure to reveal more about its past role in the church’s failures to protect children worldwide. Victims from the United States, Chile, and Mexico pressured some cardinals to recuse themselves from the conclave because they had shielded priests from prosecution.

 Empty pews: Secularism has already taken a toll on churches in Europe and the United States, where a growing number of people do not identify with a faith. The move away from organized religion is also hurting parishes in Latin America.


 Empty pulpits: Europe and North America need more priests, and priests are struggling with the outsized burdens of the modern-day pastor.

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 Religious persecution: Catholics and other Christians are religious minorities in many countries, where they face discrimination, government interference, and, in many cases, violence.

 Globalization: While the church is shrinking in the West, it is booming in Africa and Asia. The new pope will have to help these relatively new dioceses while allowing local styles of worship.

 Other faiths: The new pope will have to keep up friendships with a long list of other Christian groups and other religions, including Jews and Muslims.

 Unity: The church is divided over the role of lay people and women, on doctrine and on social justice teaching.