Changes Ahead?

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For a church that has seen its attendance drop in America by 70 percent in the last forty years, the qualities that a new Pope will bring to the table could possibly increase--or decrease--the church's popularity.

At the Little Flower church's noon mass, worshippers continue to pay tribute to Pope John Paul the Second.

And looking ahead, many hope his successor is just like him.

"I hope he brings a consistency of what the church stands for and continue in the direction the church has been going in the last 26 years," says Darryl Monahan.

"We want another pope just like him. He's so nice to all kinds of people. We need a man like that," adds Chris Allen.

According to a nationally conducted USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll, one out of three Catholics would like to see a pope more liberal than John Paul the second. Only four percent of respondents wanted a more conservative pontiff.

A sentiment not heard from many local Catholics who would like a new pope to maintain John Paul the second's stance on key controversial issues.

"A conservative pope that's not too liberal, that doesn't believe in abortion, that doesn't believe in same sex unions, that doesn't believe in the cloning of people," says Jenny Macchiaverna Davis.

Across the country, many say the strength of Catholicism is declining: parishes are closing, fewer men are seeking out the priesthood and parochial schools are closing their doors.

Brother Matthew Cunningham of the Reno Diocese says a new pope--and the personality and position on issues he brings to the papacy--may be able to sway attendance.

"in certain areas, the pope is a very important part as we grow in faith."

Brother Cunningham believes Pope John Paul the Second was the right man for the right time...and he has faith that the bishops--with the guidance of the holy spirit--will choose the right man for this time.