What issues should the new Pope address?

AP
Pope Francis waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican

The Catholic Church has elected Pope Francis and what the British public want to see him address most is the problem of child abuse.

That is one of the findings from a survey of almost 2,000 adults by ComRes on behalf of Premier Christian Radio.

Nearly half of those surveyed (47%) said tackling abuse should be the new Pope's number one concern.

This was followed by improving the global image of the Catholic Church (16%).

The survey found people were less concerned about the Catholic Church promoting its position on gay marriage, contraception, abortion and assisted dying, which received a combined total of just 8%.

Just over half (55%) were in favour of the conclave being "more transparent" and half believed the election process needed "updating".

Fifty-three per cent said they did not mind whether the new Pope came from a country outside of Europe.

More than two-thirds (69%) said the Pope should be allowed to retire when he wishes, and 58% said there should be an age restriction in the appointment of a new Pope.

Chief executive of Premier Christian Radio, Peter Kerridge said: "There is strong agreement among the British public that improving the image of the Catholic Church should be high on the list of priorities for the new Pope.

"And, no doubt reflecting media headlines, child abuse within the Church is most likely to be seen as the single most important issue confronting him."

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