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Pope Benedict XVI Says He Will Resign

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  • Pope Benedict XVI Says He Will Resign

    Originally posted by New York Times
    Citing advanced years and infirmity, but showing characteristic tough-mindedness and unpredictability, Pope Benedict XVI shocked Roman Catholics on Monday by saying that he would resign on Feb. 28, becoming the first pope to do so in six centuries.

    Speaking in Latin to a small gathering of cardinals at the Vatican on Monday morning, Benedict said that after examining his conscience “before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise” of leading the world’s one billion Roman Catholics.

    The statement, soon translated into seven languages, ricocheted around the globe.

    A shy, tough-minded theologian who seemed to relish writing books more than greeting stadium crowds, Benedict, 85, was elected by fellow cardinals in 2005 after the death of John Paul II. An often divisive figure, he spent much of his papacy in the shadow of his beloved predecessor.

    Obviously you can't have the Pope stepping down from office without at least thinking that there might be some sort of conspiracy theory tie-in to the child sexual abuse scandal that has been plaguing the Catholic Church for the past decade or so.

    If it were anyone other than Joseph Ratzinger I might even stop for a minute to entertain such theories.

    But from what I know about this guy he might be the one, single person in the whole of the Roman Catholic Church who has been the driving force behind uncovering this "filth" (his word for it), bringing it to light, and erradicating it in so far as it's possible to do so.

    I find it a little disconcerting how his predecessor, John Paul II, is often looked upon as something of the "peoples' Pope". Ask any Roman Catholic little old lady what she thought/thinks about JPII and you'll find a degree of love and adulation unrivaled in recent (+/- 200 years) Catholic history.

    On the other side of the coin Benedict XVI is viewed as an unbending, doctrinaire theologian. Where JPII was "human", Benedict XVI is aloof, cold, disciplined, removed. This says nothing, of course, about his service in the Nazi-era Wehrmacht which inspired more than a little controversy at the time of his Inauguration (a controversy, I'm ashamed to say, I was a little too enthusiastic to embrace).

    But when you look at the work Ratzinger did as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and more recently as Pope, a very different story comes to light.

    While John Paul II was taking the historic tact of (as much as) ignoring and burying child sexual abuse by Catholic priests Ratzinger was working tirelessly to expose such incidents, and the priests responsible for them, and the Bishops and Cardinals responsible for hiding them, and cleaning fucking house.

    To my way of thinking John Paul II represents the "idea" of what a good Pope and leader would look like, while Benedict XVI actually was a good Pope and leader.

    Most of you know I'm not religious, but I don't discount the influence or import of the Roman Catholic faith here in America and elsewhere around the world. In so far as all of that goes I look upon the Holy See as a "nation" and it's leader, the Pope, as something of a "head of state".

    Today is a sad day, from a secular perspective, just as it would be if any other solid, responsible, measured, moral head of state would step down from office.

    If there's any conspiracy relating to Ratzinger I'm afraid that this "cowboy" of a Pope may have gone too far for the likes of the Cardinals, company men, who hold the real power in Rome.

    That's just supposition of course, and it's more likely that there is no conspiracy at all, but as I said, if there is one, I expect that Ratzinger is the victim rather than a perpetrator.

    It's a sad day.
    Last edited by soot; 02-11-2013, 11:01 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Pope Benedict XVI Says He Will Resign

    I applaud the man for having the courage to say "hey, my age and frailty are keeping me from doing my job properly, so I'll step aside". That, IMO, is the mark of a humble man and a man with integrity.


    • #3
      Re: Pope Benedict XVI Says He Will Resign

      Originally posted by soot View Post
      It's a sad day.
      Yeah, I know... but you get days like this, every 600 years or so.


      • #4
        Re: Pope Benedict XVI Says He Will Resign

        I couldn't agree more.

        It's amazing how John Paul II is viewed compared with Benedict XVI. Then again, it's not so amazing when you look at other world leaders. When was the last time you saw a POTUS of real accomplishment and integrity?
        Last edited by Whipple; 02-11-2013, 10:49 AM.


        • #5
          Vatican : The Pope resigns

          Pope Benedict the 16th is the first head of the Catholic Church in over 700 years who doesnt only leave his post to meet his creator, but who has chosen to retire, due to the "burden of age" that makes it impossible to "serve as well as I should". And not just his office, but also intrigues in the Vatican ( like the "Vatileaks" affair last year, when his personal butler was arrested over stealing confidential documents that ended up in the press and exposed clerics in the corridors of power in Rome fighting like chicken over power, money and influence) or the smell of corruption around the Vatican Bank are said to have taken a toll on the 86 year old. Since the last example of a Pope who resigned voluntarily was Coelestinus in 1294 speculations are now running wild. Will Benedict ( real name : Josef Ratzinger) retire to his native Germany ( where his family lives in Bavaria) or stay in the Vatican ? Will he continue to write books or vanish in some monastery ? But the more interesting speculation is probably wether the time is finally right for the first non-european pope, the first African or Latin-American probably ? Anyway, the work that waits for Benedicts successor is extremely daring and requires more than pysical fitness, but will not be possible without, as the liberal cardinal Carlo Maria Martini said already last year, shortly before his death :

          "The church is tired in Europe and America. Our culture has aged, our churches are large, our religious houses are empty, and the bureaucracy of the church climbs higher, our rituals and our clothes are pompous." The church must recognise her mistakes and must follow a path of radical change, starting with the pope and the bishops", and he concluded "the church has been left behind for 200 years".
          Vatican Confirms Pope to Step Down at End of Month - SPIEGEL ONLINE
          Last edited by Voland; 02-12-2013, 02:39 AM.


          • #6
            Re: Vatican : The Pope resigns

            I'm sure it was a difficult decision for the man. He realized that his health prevented him from doing the job that he believes was necessary. I respect his decision.


            • #7
              Re: Vatican : The Pope resigns

              I agree with Dan. Nothing but good wishes and prayers to a man who obviously recognizes his limitations and takes steps to mitigate his shortcomings before it affects his performance.

              I'm also not as keen as some here to see "the first African" or "the first Latin American" pope. The College of Cardinals are true to their process whether or not we agree with it. They believe their process yields the man appointed by God so such ego-based characteristics as national origin are irrelevant.


              • #8
                Re: Vatican : The Pope resigns

                Originally posted by Good1 View Post
                I agree with Dan. Nothing but good wishes and prayers to a man who obviously recognizes his limitations and takes steps to mitigate his shortcomings before it affects his performance.

                I'm also not as keen as some here to see "the first African" or "the first Latin American" pope. The College of Cardinals are true to their process whether or not we agree with it. They believe their process yields the man appointed by God so such ego-based characteristics as national origin are irrelevant.

                Well, the choice of the next Pope has often also been a statement about the upcoming priorities of the church. When the fight against communism was high on the agenda, it was not a coincidence that a polish pope was chosen ( who then turned out to be one of the most remarkable probably not just of the 20th century). It wasnt a coincidence either that in 2005 a german pope was chosen. Not just because Cardinal Ratzinger was personally close to his predecessor, but because Germany stood exemplary for the nations of northern Europe, where the church has been steadily loosing ground and that have turned more and more secular over decades. A trend that Pope Benedict wasnt able to reverse, partially because he is a brillant theologist, but a much less brillant communicator with the masses, especially compared to his predecessor. And because not all of his actions and statements have been fortunate ( since the Pope also always needs political skills), especially in relation to the abuse scandal, that also heavily shook his home country. But nobody is without failures, therefore lets leave it at that.
                To go back to future priorities : It is a fact that the majority of Catholics now live outside the old continent and North America, in Africa, Latin America, Southern Asia, yet that the upper ranks of the church continue to be dominated by white Europeans, mostly in their 70s and 80s ( it is remarkable that several of Benedicts successors under discussion are almost as old as him). It is possible to reasonably argue that this reality should not be acceptable, and that the person of a new Pope could be a signal. But the church is not a democracy after all . The appointment of a non-european Pope from a region of the world where the church is still growing and faces real challenges may shift attention away from Europe and mark a change of priorities that may be too much to be expected now from the grayheads in the Vatican.
                What the church could do and what the Cardinals decide may indeed be two pairs of shoes
                Last edited by Voland; 02-12-2013, 11:54 PM.


                • #9
                  Re: Vatican : The Pope resigns

                  A number of Cardinals have been named as "papabili" ( potential successors to Benedict the 16th) by various sources. Which is only a likelihood, but not a certainty, that the future head of the catholic church is on that list ( surprises are possible, also the current pope wasnt on the list of many "experts" in 2005) Interesting though is that it includes two Africans, six Latin Americans, two Asians, one US-American, one Canadian and one Australian, and seven Italians

                  List of papabili in the 2013 papal conclave - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


                  • #10
                    Re: Pope Benedict XVI Says He Will Resign

                    Originally posted by soot View Post
                    On the other side of the coin Benedict XVI is viewed as an unbending, doctrinaire theologian. Where JPII was "human", Benedict XVI is aloof, cold, disciplined, removed. This says nothing, of course, about his service in the Nazi-era Wehrmacht which inspired more than a little controversy at the time of his Inauguration (a controversy, I'm ashamed to say, I was a little too enthusiastic to embrace).
                    The Pope has certainly stood in the eye of the storm of many controversies, from the catholic churchs relation to women, condoms and protestant churches till the abuse scandal (his role in clearing up child abuse by priests is not seen as positively as you paint it though f.e. in his home country, but that is probably a generational thing as well), both before and during his pontificate. The "controversy" about his Wehrmacht service however was entirely cooked up by the anglo-american press and is bit ridiculous. Not only because service in the Wehrmacht ( unlike service in the SS f.e.) wasnt a choice, and wether one served honourably or not is an individual thing. I mean, seriously, he was 14 when he was drafted in the Hitler Youth, 16 when he was drafted in the Wehrmacht and 17 when the war ended ( He was an american POW at that time by the way). He was, like many of his generation, one of these abused young boys supposed to fight the advancing Americans and Russians with a handful of guns and mortars, since the Nazis had run out of men. According to his own testimony and the available sources he spent a couple of months digging trenches against advancing american tanks in Austria, and was lucky enough to have a commanding officer who sent him and other young boys home after Hitlers suicide, with the message that they should run and save their lifes if they could. What kind of "controversy" is there supposed to be, and what kind of responsibility should a young teenager at that time, who was trying to survive, have ? While the Pope is far from being beyond criticism on other issues, this one only proves that some anglophone journalists still cant resist the temptation to link a prominent German to Naziism, even if the allegations are rather nonsensical if valued soberly.


                    • #11
                      Re: Pope Benedict XVI Says He Will Resign

                      Threads merged.


                      • #12
                        Re: Pope Benedict XVI Says He Will Resign

                        Unfortunate loss for the church and their followers.