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What Would An American Pope Mean?

By David Niose

Boston media is abuzz with speculation that the city’s own Cardinal Sean O’Malley might be a contender for the papacy. Although opinions vary on his chances - he's been called the frontrunner by some, a long shot by others - the possibility of an American pope raises many issues, even for non-Catholics.

The papal selection story would normally be of little importance for humanists and other nonbelievers, but obviously an American pope could have an impact far beyond Catholic life and religious doctrine. Questions and issues would be numerous. Would an American in the Vatican ignite a religious revival of sorts in the United States (which is already one of the most religious developed countries), and how would that affect public policy? How would Protestants, and specifically the Religious Right, react to an American pontiff? Since church leaders are always vocal in condemning secularism, would this new pope be a resource for the anti-secular forces in his homeland?

David NioseTo read the rest of this Psychology Today article by AHA President Emeritus David Niose click here.