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How will a new Pope impact the future of the Catholic church?

by AirTalk®

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Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki addresses a mass service to mark the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI at the St. Hedwig's Cathedral in Berlin on February 28, 2013. ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images

With Pope Benedict XVI now officially retired, the Catholic church is without a full-fledged world leader. Almost all of the current cardinals were chosen by Pope Benedict and fellow conservative predecessor Pope John Paul II, but there has still speculation about whether the new Pope will be more progressive. How could this impact the status quo?

This morning, the cardinals met to determine when they will hold the secret election known as the "conclave" to pick Benedict's successor. When and how will the next Pope be selected? Who is most likely to be chosen to take on the prominent position? How could the Catholic church change when it comes to women, birth control, and marriage for priests?

Cathy Grossman, USA TODAY's reporter on religion, spirituality and ethics

Donna Bethell, chairman of the board of Christemdon College, a Roman Catholic College based in Virginia and Rome

Sister Simone Cambell, Executive Director of NETWORK


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