The sex abuse crisis engulfing the Catholic church is likely to result in more vigorous background checks when it comes to appointing cardinals, and future popes. Among the requirements: Impeccable credentials and a modern communications strategy.
Leading Catholic conservatives have vigorously defended Benedict from accusations that he was complicit in covering up sex abusers but they are also pointing to management failures.
As a model for the future pope, the church should consider someone ''able to talk to the world and the media, not be destroyed by it,'' said the Rev. Thomas Reese, an American Vatican expert.
The crisis has already set off debate among key figures on celibacy and the role of women in the church, although Vatican experts don't expect any revolutionary reforms as there is almost no support for that within the hierarchy.Text & Images: APImage: In this file photo taken on March 17, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI raises his hands to greet media representatives, as Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarciso Bertone, at left foreground, his personal secretary Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, at left in background, and Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi , at the microphone at right, look on, at a press conference held on the aircraft en route to Yaounde, Cameroon. Early on in his 5-year-old papacy, the pontiff provoked a furious reaction from Muslims when he linked the Prophet Muhammad to violence in a speech Vatican officials said he wrote himself. Then he enraged Jews for the ''unforeseen mishap'' of being unaware that a bishop whose excommunication he lifted was a Holocaust-denier. The pope similarly is unlikely to have known that his personal preacher, during a solemn Good Friday sermon, would compare the uproar over the church's sex abuse scandal to persecution of Jews. Sex & the Swamis: When godmen turn unholy