pope francis*So, now we know three things about Argentina.

One, it was on the losing end of that Falklands Island thing back in the 1980s.

Two, it produces some damn good soccer players (pause for a second and YouTube “Lionel Messi” for proof).

Three, it’s the native country of the newest pope – Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now to be known as Pope Francis I to the world.

Well, welcome, Pope Francis. Know first that you’ve got quite a ways to go to be as awesome as Messi (seriously, Google him) – and that you’ve got one hell of a job in front of you. As far as reclamation projects go, Pope Francis has a task on par with the new Jets general manager. It hasn’t been a good run for the Catholic Church over the last decade. The seemingly-endless parade of sex scandals has shaken the faith of millions and sent attendance rates plunging. What was once one of the most powerful institutions in the world seems to be slipping into irrelevancy, rife for parody and overflowing with stories like this one.

We can only hope that the new pope works to embrace some new, progressive measures that will help to bring the Catholic Church back to the hearts of millions. It’s probably beyond time that the Church re-examined its positions on some of its core principles – like allowing priests to marry, for one, and bringing women into the priesthood. They’re radical changes, of course, but it’s beyond time for a real debate on these issues. Wouldn’t both of these measures work to combat the flood of child-abuse scandals that leak out day after day?

It will take some time to change, along with some open minds in the Vatican (and the early buzz on Pope Francis is mixed ) but this debate is needed. The Catholic Church is too important to the lives of too many for it to continue on this downward spiral.