La Repubblica, Rome, April 6: He must be saintly, charismatic, ready to govern and media savvy. These are the new Pope's characteristics on which all the cardinals agree on. But, that said, not much progress has been made in identifying the next pope in what is a very "open" conclave, complicated by the large number of cardinals and by the complexity of Karol Wojtyla's legacy.
The pontiff's warrior charisma, sure of himself and of his faith, is the reason why hundreds of people mourn him with a real feeling of emptiness.
Finally, looks: maybe they are not the most important requirement, but the cardinals know how important it is in the era of TV dominion. Papal leadership has been exercised through the media as well and the results were not only in the souls: offerings, the main source of money also used to contain the Vatican's deficit, have increased by six times from Paul VI's to the time of the Polish priest.
Aamulehti, Tampere, April 4: Pope John Paul II, who died after a long illness, was one of the great men of world history, not only in his own empire but in a more universal way too. More than 1 billion believers belonged to his worldly domain, and even though they may feel his loss as irreplaceable they can take comfort from the phrase: "The pope is dead, long live the pope!"
Believers have, as a support, the collective memory of the Roman Catholic Church which spans a thousand years and is not dependent on the achievements of one man however significant those were.
Tour de force
The Polish-born pontiff was a central tour de force both socially and spiritually, albeit in different directions. With strong commitment he helped crush dictatorial communism both in his homeland and elsewhere in the former Soviet empire. On the spiritual side, he wasn't quite so revolutionary but was rather counterrevolutionary. He fought unconditionally, and to the very last, against liberal moral attitudes in an increasingly secular society.
John Paul II led his church during a time of great social change. His successor will be faced with different challenges. The new pope must find ways of making the church again into an institution which its members deem to be important not only during great religious holidays, weddings and funerals. In the church's traditional sphere of influence, especially in Europe, secularization and estrangement from the church have become the mainstream.
New Vision, Kampala, April 4: The world is mourning the death of Pope John Paul who passed away on Saturday night. We join the world's 1.1 billion Catholics to pray for the soul of the man who headed the Roman Catholic church for 26 years and left it strong and united.
John Paul II will be remembered as a champion of the downtrodden. He condemned wars in the former Yugoslavia, genocide in Rwanda and called for peace in the Middle East.
He preached forgiveness and backed his messages with actions when he visited and forgave his would-be assassin in 1981.
They (College of Cardinals) need to decide whether the next Pope should also come from the West.
Consequently, nearly 65 percent of the Catholics live in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
This is a golden opportunity for Africa. Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria seems to be the likely candidate from Africa.
Cardinal Arinze comes from the same conservative school as the late Pope. He is said to take a hard-line position on abortion, contraception and homosexuality.
Ninety-seven percent of the 120 cardinals who form the College of Cardinals were appointed by Pope John Paul 11 and are from the conservative school. They should therefore find Cardinal Arinze suitable for the papacy.
Reforma, Mexico City, April 4: John Paul II was a pope who strictly followed orthodoxy on issues that in these past years have been the subject of controversy among Catholics: abortion, euthanasia, birth control, divorce, homosexuality, the role of women in the church, the celibacy of priests, scientific research in the field of human biology. In all of these areas John Paul has maintained an inflexible attitude, and earned a reputation as ultraconservative, even intransigent.
John Paul II reconciled the Catholic Church with the Jews, with the Orthodox (Christians), and with believers in eastern doctrines. The new pope's mission should be -- although it sounds strange -- to reconcile the Catholic Church with the Catholics; hear their complaints, which are more intense each day, show a great openness on issues in which Catholics already have advanced, such as the use of contraceptives banned by the church.
In international politics, Karol Wojtyla was a fundamental part of the revolution that brought with it the end of Soviet communism and totalitarian regimes in eastern Europe.
The new pope should launch another great revolution, this time in the heart of the church, that will prevent this institution from continuing to weaken because of its lack of understanding of the current reality, and as a result of its putting the rigidity of doctrines above life, justice and love.