The Cardinals gathered for the Conclave to elect the new pope are sworn to secrecy, but it's no secret that the new pope will face several immediate challenges.
Many young Catholics surveyed in recent days feel the church is out of step with modern culture, and the church as a whole faces some tight financial times.
One local Catholic priest says the College of Cardinals will have even more factors to consider.
"Hopefully that person will have a spirit of openness, a spirit of dialogue to understand the issues in different countries. the issues in our country are certainly different than the issues in africa, south america, or asia. would hope that the next pope is able to use that sort of lens to see what the needs are," Father Jerry Riney said.
11 Cardinal Electors will represent American Catholics in the Conclave, but Father Riney says he doesn't expect any of them to be viable candidates for the job.