Saint Mary's College communications professor Michael Russo was quoted in an article in the Contra Costa Times about how the College of Cardinals will choose a new leader to unify the world's 1.1 billion Catholics.
Russo, who is also a CBS News consultant on the papacy, says the cardinals are likely to pick a conservative who will stick closely to current church doctrine.
"Whoever the new pope might be, he has to buoy the church up and bring back the vitality," he said. "He needs to speak to the best traditions of the church, make us feel like this effort is absolutely paramount and come up with a few new items that are going to be critical to this papacy."
The pope should strive for other goals, too, he said, such as encouraging the young to become clergy, reconsidering the church's stance on contraception and acting as a connoisseur for the best Roman Catholicism has offered.
One prediction that's likely to be proved wrong is that the cardinals will consider only a mirror image of John Paul II.
"People will say that obviously the pope has elevated these cardinals, so won't they be selecting someone like him? My response is: They may be ... but the reality of it is that we always select leaders who are not like the last leader.
"For example, the reason why we have George Bush is that he is no Bill Clinton. And quite frankly, these men who are going to go in and elect a new pope will be looking at some of those issues that are central to the church and look at those things the pope has not been able to address."
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