Future of the Catholic Church

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photoThe Sistine Chapel doors were sealed today, as the 115 cardinals of the Catholic Church gathered for day one of the Vatican Papal Conclave. Founded on centuries of tradition and veiled in mystery, the ancient rite of choosing the next Pope began with the Dean of the College of Cardinals reading the oath of secrecy and ended with a cloud of black smoke rising from a Sistine Chapel chimney.

The world waits for the tell-tale white smoke, the signal that a new man has been chosen to lead the Catholic Church. The Papal Conclave sits at an unprecedented moment for the Vatican. The man the conclave picks to wear the fisherman's ring will have to contend not only with his predecessor's shadow, but with the challenge of guiding the Catholic Church into the 21st century.

Hear a discussion on the road ahead for the next leader of the Catholic Church.


Michael Paulson, religion correspondent for The Boston Globe;
Father James Weiss, professor of church history at Boston College. In 1964 and 1965, he was in Rome during the second Vatican council, and served as an announcer for Vatican Radio.;
Dennis Doyle, professor of religious studies at the University of Dayton and author of: "The Church Emerging from Vatican II.";
Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst and senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly magazine.

This program aired on April 18, 2005.


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