Our survey garnered 11,000 responses from people of different faiths to questions about the next pope and the challenges facing the Catholic Church.


  • I am glad I do not have a choice in the matter, as I have no idea what makes a good pope. All I know that we need a pope, who inspires, like the last pope. (United States)

  • I pray the cardinals pick a divinely spiritual person, such as Pope John Paul II. The church needs someone with whom you feel you could sit down and discuss issues. I must believe that God will direct us on the right path. (United States)

  • The Holy Spirit has a candidate. Since the 115 voting cardinals are endowed with free will, the Holy Spirit's candidate could lose. We have had bad popes before, yet the church survives only through the grace of God, shown through a promise of Christ, "...and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." I pray these men obey the Holy Spirit and choose the candidate of God. (United States)
  • My vision of my ideal pope is that he will lead my church in a better direction by allowing priests to be married. He will get rid of the priests who have committed sexual abuse against anyone and also get rid of those who helped protect those priests, no matter who they are. My pope will continue John Paul II's evangelization throughout our world. He will one day allow women to be ordained priests.
  • (United States)

  • There is no ideal pope. He is a man with human faults and characteristics. If he works hard to serve the Lord it would suffice. (United States)

  • One who would not withhold Holy Communion from anyone Jews, Muslims, Protestants, divorced, or gay Christ died for us all. (United States)

  • A visionary who will continue in the steps of John Paul II toward his goal of world peace.
  • (United States)

  • Jesus' Sermon on the Mount should be the guiding principle for the new leader of the church. Church hierarchy seems caught up in the rule of law instead of the spirit of the law. We need more spirit-led people in the pews; and we need the hierarchy to recognize that all of us are the church. We need a true "people's pope" one who is from the people as well as for the people. (United States)

  • The ideal pope would be married with children. (United States)

  • One who represents God's visions, not ours. (United States)

  • Moderate and open minded. Not a control freak! (United States)

  • A staunch enforcer of church dogma who will crack down on clergy everywhere to do the same. (United States)

  • Someone less inclined to listen to the Curia, and run the church as Christ would have done, rather than a Fortune 500 company. (United States)

  • A holy man, multilingual, from a Third World country, who appoints more prophetic leaders as bishops, instead of these sorry "safe" non-boat-rockers who are so shallow intellectually. (United States)

  • One who follows the will of God in his life and sets that example. One who is merciful and spreads the message of Jesus, e.g. mercy and trust. One who doesn't waffle on the teachings of Jesus' established church. One who is in union with the Holy Trinity and honors the mother of Jesus. One who feeds his sheep! (United States)

  • He would be more open to the realities of the world of today, more inclusive to all people, not only other religion but all sexes and sexual persuasions. He would also deal with the priests' failure to abide by the rules with the same strict results as the parishioners. For example, if the people are excommunicated from the church for divorcing, then priests are excommunicated for sexual molestation of children. (United States)

  • He should travel to stay connected with the world's people and continue to inspire young people as John Paul II did. And he should begin to have dialogue with bishops and priests, not just cardinals, on how to increase our priest membership, even if it means ordaining women or allowing priest to marry. (United States)

  • One who promotes social justice through moral leadership and does not confuse death with dignity with right to life. We need to seriously revise women's role in the church. Honor women role models and allow women to be ordained and have equal status with men in church decisions or the Catholic Church will become a relic. (United States)

  • We need a very conservative pope to continue John Paul II's years of work. He brought back the older theologies of the church as Christ meant it to be. We need a pope who will not modernize the laws of the church to fit the human desires for things against the true ideologies of Catholicism. We don't want women priests, abortion, homosexuality given true thought or recognition. I believe the devil is definitely putting his "two cents" in. I pray every day that the church will stay strong and that we don't get a liberal pope who un-does all that Pope John Paul II strove to do for the church. (United States)

  • I believe that John Paul II's leadership was open and supportive to a degree. Someone with similar values and ideals would be great. It was heartwarming that he recognized Mary the mother of Christ as someone special to him and the faith. It also brought about some global change toward the equality of women. I will miss him dearly and pray that the next pope will have as strong convictions as he did in these areas.
  • (Australia)

  • A non-authoritarian pope who would listen to the findings of modern psychology, etc. and realize that reform does not mean that one is being irreligious rather that he would feel that necessary change is a godly part of all our lives...for instance slavery was once condoned by the church, appalling. more rights for the marginalized e.g. gay people and divorced, etc. and a realization that such people are frequently striving to lead very good lives within a less old-fashioned 'morality'.
  • (Europe)


  • A man who is truly on fire for God and wants to reach the world in love for Jesus Christ so that others may taste and see that the Lord is good! (United States)

  • Compassionate, open, in touch with contemporary culture. (Canada)

  • One who knows the Bible and prays for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all of his decisions. This might make him more conservative and traditional in some areas, but in others he might be progressive and change some church practices. (United States)

  • A person [who] accepts the fact that God truly recognizes other religions and make that observation to all Catholics. As an Episcopalian, I was disgusted when I couldn't even take Communion when I went to my nephew's baptism and a friend's funeral. With the history of the Inquisition and the lurid past in its hierarchy (such as selling forgivenesses), they should drop their arrogance and finally become real Christians. It will take a true believer in God and His overall omnipotence and compassion to accomplish this. (United States)

  • A person who reaches out to other faiths and promotes unity within Christendom. A promoter of peace and good will amoung all people. A person who see all Christians as brothers and sisters in Christ and seeks open communion between all Christians. (United States)

  • Pope John Paul II was my vision of an ideal Christian man.
    I admired him. He renewed my faith in humankind. We didn't always agree, but who does? His life was a truly great and momentous one, and no one will probably ever come up to him (and I'm not Catholic!). (United States)