In one of those inconsequential conclave stories that is nevertheless revealing about the state of the Church, Cincinnati Enquirer reporter John Faherty interviews a handful of Catholics about what they hope to see in our new pope. There is an illuminating contrast between an embittered 83-year-old emeritus professor from Xavier University pining for women’s ordination and homosexual unions and a hope-filled 19-year-old student praising the ongoing resacralization of the liturgy:

“Oh my, yes, the church is frozen in past positions that are just not viable,” said Joe Wessling, 83, a retired English professor at Xavier University. He was one of 13 people waiting for 8 a.m. services at the school’s Bellarmine Chapel “The opposition to women’s ordination, contraception and homosexual unions? The world is passing them by.”

Wessling, however, is not anticipating change. “I do not have high hopes,” he said. “All of the cardinals who will elect this pope were appointed by the two previous popes. Things will stay the same.”

Which is perfectly fine for many others.

“I like the direction the church is taking,” said Emily Murtz, a 19-year old freshman at Xavier, pointing to the recent changes in the liturgy such as the Nicene Creed, the Apostles’ Creed, the Penitential Act and the Gloria. “It would not be a bad idea to keep things going.”

Which vision for the future do you think will carry the day?

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