Current Weather
The Spy FM

Pope Benedict Leaves A Church Mired In Crises

Filed by KOSU News in World News.
February 28, 2013

Today is the last day of the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI. Just two weeks ago, the German-born pope stunned the world by announcing he would be the first pope to resign in 600 years. After eight years on the throne of St. Peter, Benedict leaves behind a church in crisis.

Since the announcement, bulletins issued by the Vatican have ranged from the lofty — how Benedict will retire to a life dedicated to prayer and study — to the mundane, such as the details of packing the pope’s personal belongings and what he’ll leave behind.

In a sign that even the Vatican was totally unprepared for the resignation, it took two weeks to decide Benedict’s new title and what he would wear.

And while the cardinals publicly praise Benedict for his courageous act, privately many are re-assessing his legacy.

“They’re sympathetic with Benedict, but they saw that really he was not able to push through some big items on his agenda,” says John Thavis, author of the recently published Vatican Diaries. “They see Benedict as perhaps a frustrated pope, frustrated in his ambitions, frustrated in part by his own top officials, and I think that’s where we’re seeing some more open criticism than we ever saw before”.

Benedict’s papacy has been marred by crises: He angered Muslims when he quoted inflammatory remarks on Islam and violence; he offended Jews when he lifted the excommunication of a traditionalist Holocaust-denying bishop; and he was severely reprimanded by European politicians over his remarks that condoms help spread AIDS. He also failed to restore unity with Anglicans and Orthodox.

The scandal that has most haunted Benedict is that of children abused by pedophile priests.

Before becoming pope, as theological watchdog, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had overseen many cases of clerical sex abuse.

David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests (SNAP), says Benedict has been credited for meeting with and apologizing to victims and issuing new guidelines on handling cases, but he has not sanctioned one bishop for covering up abuse cases.

“Pope Benedict came into office knowing more about abuse than any other Catholic official on the planet, and I think many victims and many Catholics had some real hope that he would clean house, and he clearly didn’t,” Clohessy says.

The sex abuse cloud will hang over the conclave to elect the new pope. As will a confidential report on last year’s embarrassing leaks of private papers that revealed corruption and turf battles within the Vatican. Benedict has left the report for his successor’s eyes only, but many cardinals are already asking to be briefed on its contents.

Massimo Franco, author of numerous books about the Vatican, says the scandals have revealed Benedict to be a poor manager and a victim of the powerful administrative apparatus known as the Roman Curia.

In speculating on why Benedict is stepping down, Franco says in the past, popes were always protected by their inner circle.

“With Pope Benedict XVI, we saw the reverse — we saw the pope obliged to defend his advisers who were attacked, and the outcome was that the pope was overexposed and eventually was forced to resign,” he says.

When the resignation becomes official Thursday at 8 p.m., when Benedict is at the Castel Gandolfo summer residence, spokesman Father Tom Rosica says, the Vatican enters what’s known as the sede vacante — the Holy See becomes empty.

“And very symbolically, we will see the doors or the gates of Castel Gandolfo close, and the Swiss Guards will leave at that point,” Rosica says. “They leave because the Swiss Guards are assigned to protect the pope; he is no longer pope at 8 o’clock in the evening, so they are no longer protecting him.”

As a retiree, Benedict’s security will be ensured by Vatican police.

But it’s still unclear what influence the pope emeritus will wield and how two popes will co-exist inside the Vatican. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

One Response to “Pope Benedict Leaves A Church Mired In Crises”

  1. snapjudy says:

    Pope Benedict made several apologies to victims who were sexually abused by clerics, within the Catholic church. Yet to this day, he has taken no decisive actions to punish any high ranking church officials for enabling, empowering, and covering up sex crimes against kids. But yet, there is still time. He has two weeks left, he can fire several bishops and cardinals, if he believes at all in moral law.
    Just to name a few..
    –Cardinal Law, who was given a plush job in the Vatican, is still in that high ranking position
    –Bishop Finn, who is a convicted criminal is still the bishop of the KC-St Joe diocese
    –Cardinal Mahony, horrific cover up of sex crimes per thousands of recently released LA archdiocese secret documents, he is still a cardinal and can now vote for a new pope.

    We hope there is someone within the college of cardinals who could be a pope with integrity, who will start to take immediate actions to stop these crimes against innocent children.
    Yet with that in mind, since all of these cardinals were promoted by popes, we have our doubts. So we hope that outside law enforcement will get more involved and investigate these crimes against humanity.

    Children are safest when child predators and those who enable and conceal their crimes are held responsible.
    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. snapjudy@gmail.com,
    "SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

Leave a Reply

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

Listen Live Now!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

10AM to 11PM On Point

On Point

On Point unites distinct and provocative voices with passionate discussion as it confronts the stories that are at the center of what is important in the world today. Leaving no perspective unchallenged, On Point digs past the surface and into the core of a subject, exposing each of its real world implications.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center