The arrival of a new Pope s always the time when great debates arise as to whether this man–always a man– will become a liberal or a conservative leader of the flock. Pope Francis is the first Pope Francis and hopefully will not be the last. I am not a Catholic but have worked in Catholic higher education institutions when Catholics were seeking to pose fundamental questions concerning the meaning of their faith. There is scant doubt Catholicism is in the decline within the United States and in Europe. Catholicism is at a point in time when either decisions are made to transform an old, old institution into one that confronts with intelligence modern life or it will continue its downward slide.
We foresee the inability of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in Rome to transform the church into a modern institution sets in motion creation of an American Catholic Church in which priests will be of either sex and they will be able to marry. That is the only future for Catholics in America.