EJ Dionne thinks the Catholic Church should make a "brave and bold" choice when it picks a new pope: It should pick a nun. Will it happen? Not a chance, he writes at the Washington Post, but putting a woman in charge "would vastly strengthen Catholicism, help the church solve some of its immediate problems and inspire many who have left the church to look at it with new eyes." Lots of church critics, including many Catholics themselves, are tired of an all-male hierarchy that has spent decades covering up for all-male sins, writes Dionne. (The Los Angeles Times has yet another example today of the Vatican protecting abusive priests.)
Nuns, meanwhile, have been doing the real work of the church all this time—helping the least of their brethren, as the Bible instructs. This is the church that people admire. So if the cardinals can't pick a woman, they should at least pick a man "who has the characteristics of my ideal female pontiff," writes Dionne. "The church needs a leader who has worked closely with the poor and the outcast, who understands that battling over doctrine is less important for the church’s future than modeling Christian behavior—and who sees that the proper Christian attitude toward the modern world is not fear but hope." Click for the full column. Or click to read another Post columnist who makes the case for an American pontiff.