I, for one, am quite excited about the new Pope. It is easy to raise questions about his age - he is only 10 years younger than Ratzinger - but there are signs that there is something to like for everyone. For one, he marks the end of a long period of European dominance: it is sometimes hard to remember that half of the early Popes were from the Middle East and Africa.
Northern Ireland is known for its history of religious and state conflict; a recent scar that most of us living here would wish healed. So strange then that the group most disregarded during the Troubles, yet vital to its peace process, i.e. women, should be the subject of unity between the extremes of both Catholic and Protestant religious voices this week
You might also have thought that after fifty years, the Catholic Church would have reached a fixed mind as to the significance of the Council. Not so either. Its consequences are contested, its nature, continuity or break with the past disputed, and all subject to opposing interpretations. Zhou Enlai's assessment of the French Revolution applies: "too early to tell".