Walter Russell Mead goes behind the media dramatics to talk some sense about the conclave to choose a new pope.
In the West the standard rap on Catholicism is that the Church is collapsing as its adherents drift from the faith or convert to evangelical Protestantism. This may be true in the West, but globally there’s a much more complicated story. The Church remains a powerful and growing institution despite its relative decline in the West due to important gains in fast-growing regions like Africa and China.
Catholics all around the world are now praying for a Pope who can lead them in this work. Even for those of us who aren’t Catholic, the importance of that mission means we should wish the electing Cardinals well.