- Conspiracy BS - Don't buy the conspiracy stuff about how the new Pope had two Jesuits kidnapped, or killed, or whatever he is accused of; that just screams of nonsense. Funny, but some accuse Priests and Bishops of putting loyalty to clergy before the safety of children (rightly so...) and now some of those same people are accusing the new Pope of failing to be loyal to his fellow Jesuits. Serious claims require serious proof, and I've not seen any for these accusations.
- Speaking of Jesuits - I have nothing but high regards for the members of Jesuit order. As a young man I was an altar server at Holy Family Church (now a parking lot for the Commonwealth Medical College) and had the good fortune of serving Mass with Jesuits from Scranton Prep. Each and every Jesuit I served with was kind and put me at ease. I couldn't say the same for my own Pastor.
- Some things will not change - The Roman Catholic Church will not begin ordaining women. It will not allow abortions on demand. It will not allow married priests. Sorry, not going to happen with this Pope or any Pope over the next 50 years (or more). Yours, my and any other opinions...other than that of the new Pope...don't matter here. His Church, his rules. Anyone who doesn't like it can become an Episcopalian. I'm personally amazed at the outrage some people feel towards the Roman Catholic Church when it comes to these issues; it's as if somehow they are being forced to remain in a religion that offends them greatly. Newsflash: if you don't like the rules, you can simply play a different game.
- Some things may change - Don't be shocked if the Catholic Church does get a tad bit more liberal when it comes to contraception. No, it will not be open season on birth control pills and the IUD will still be viewed as a form of abortion. What may change though is the view the Church as regarding some other methods of contraception, such as condom use. The wheels are already in motion on that one.
- Women - One thing I do hope to see change over the next year or two is the not-so-subtle war the Holy See has waged against women religious in the United States. Enforcing doctrinal purity is one thing, cutting off your fingers because you have a few callouses is another. This is a war that the Church shouldn't fight, as it's basically just fighting itself. Besides, women religious in this country have done far more to promote the best ideals of the Roman Catholic faith than many of their male counterparts. Put another way: if you're being attacked by the enemy, it probably doesn't make sense to shoot the soldier next to you, even if you think he has bad aim.
- Sexual abuse of children - Here's to hoping that the new Pope takes a firm, uncompromising stand against those who have covered up the abuse of children by clergy. For the Roman Catholic Church to have true moral authority it has to act in a truly moral manner. Failing to fully root out the cancer of child sex abuse is as immoral as it comes. It is also a strong disservice to the vast majority of religious who, day in and day out, do good work.
- Vatican Bank - Modern banking requires transparency. The Roman Catholic Church is as un-transparent an institution as an institution can get (...and that's okay...for a purposes of running a religion). Maybe it should just get out of the banking business all together. "Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" (Mark 12:17).
I truly do hope that the reign of Pope Francis is transformational for the Roman Catholic Church.