Pope Benedict is stepping down next week and the world is anxious to meet the new Pope.  Speculation is running rampant on possible candidates with the media daily weighing in on who could be, and why some shouldn’t be.  Because  only the Cardinals know who “might” be — and they aren’t talking — all the nattering by the pundits is annoying, especially considering that many of them are non-Catholics.

So, who should be our new Pope?  What kind of man is best to lead the Church?  Of course, there are obvious attributes that a Pope needs.  The man must be well versed in spiritual matters and be fiercely loyal to the Roman Catholic Church.  He should be a man who can unite people worldwide and one who is filled with compassion.  Among other men, Cardinal Dolan of New York has these characteristics.

Why then is the media so opposed to Cardinal Dolan assuming St. Peter’s chair?

The most frequently offered  reason is that Cardinal Dolan does not speak foreign languages — especially not Italian!  Oh, my!  Imagine not speaking Italian!

Well, as an American Catholic, I think it is past time for an American to be Pope.  We are the most generous nation in the world!  We have proven ourselves over and over as  ready to defend innocnets against aggressive dictators.  Two world wars have been won thanks to the sacrifices of American men and women.  We have shared our economic success with everyone through foreign aid.  In fact, many countries owe their current status to the generous support of America.  Even diseases, such as AIDS, have benefited from the research funded by America and individual Americans.

The real reason that Europeans scorn the idea of an American Pope really has nothing to do with whether America has Cardinals worthy enough to assume Peter’s chair.  No, the real reason is cultural arrogance!  Europeans assume that only one of “them” could possibly be talented enough, learned enough, and intelligent enough to be Pope.

Is it really so vital to be Italian, or European?

Whether Cardinal Dolan is European or not should be immaterial.  Whether he speaks Italian should also be immaterial.  What SHOULD matter is that Cardinal Dolan is a man who understands people.  He is a man who is comfortable within himself and with everyone who surrounds him.

Whether God chooses to annoint Cardinal Dolan as our next Pope is unknown.  However, with all his sterling qualities, Cardinal Dolan is a man who would wear St. Peter’s robes well.