"'Even on a good day, I get discouraged thinking about the election of a new pope,' laments Maureen Fiedler, a nun and blogger at the progressive Catholic newspaper National Catholic Reporter. 'They all look like a Vatican version of the tea party movement.'"
"On Tuesday, three weeks after Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation on February 28, the world's cardinals will begin their conclave to choose a new pope. The past few decades have been rough ones for a church struggling with the widespread sex abuse scandal and an ever-worsening shortage of clergy. But with 1.16 billion members worldwide, the Church is still massive—and it's actually in a perfect position to help save the planet, should it choose to do so.
The flock is increasingly centered in the developing world, where people are most likely to bear the brunt of environmental destruction and climate change. The church has a strong tradition of social justice work, including the United States' Catholic Worker movement and Latin America's liberation theology. Indeed, National Catholic Reporter notes that even the notoriously socially conservative Benedict XVI famously delivered a World Day of Peace speech called 'If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation,' and named pollution among the world's 'social sins.'"