Bishop Stephen Blaire of the Diocese of Stockton says predictions that Pope Benedict will stick to conservative church doctrine are premature.
Bishop Blaire doesn't expect any radical changes in policy from the new Pontiff, but he says history has taught him that papacies don't necessarily evolve from policies advocated by a Pope when he was a Cardinal.
"You can never predict what is going to happen in any papacy because the Pope always has to respond the church finds herself in, in contemporary times."
Bishop Blaire says the Pope's first responsibility is to serve the unity of the church.
Pope Benedict has said one of his priorities is to bring all Christians together.
The Stockton Diocese will hold a Mass, celebrating the selection of the new Pope next Monday evening.
(Photo Courtesy Diocese of Stockton)