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Benedict XVI


  • Originally published 03/07/2013

    Benedict’s Obedience to New Pope Part of Tradition

    (VATICAN CITY) — He slipped it in at the end of his speech, and said it so quickly and softly it almost sounded like an afterthought.But in pledging his “unconditional reverence and obedience” to the next pope, Benedict XVI took a critical step toward ensuring that his decision to break with 600 years of tradition and retire as pope doesn’t create a schism within the church.It was also a very personal expression of one of the tenets of Christian tradition that dates back to Jesus’ crucifixion: obedience to a higher authority....

  • Originally published 02/28/2013

    Benedict becomes 1st pope in 600 years to resign

    CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (AP) -- Benedict XVI has become the first pope in 600 years to resign, ending an eight-year pontificate shaped by struggles to move the church past sex abuse scandals and to reawaken Christianity in an indifferent world.The Swiss Guards standing at attention in Castel Gandolfo shut the gates of the palazzo shortly after 8 p.m. Thursday (2 p.m. EST), symbolically closing the doors on a papacy whose legacy will be most marked by the way it ended - a resignation instead of a death.In a final farewell to his cardinals as pope, Benedict tried to dispel concerns about the unprecedented future awaiting the Catholic Church, with one reigning and one retired pope living side-by-side. He pledged his "unconditional reverence and obedience" to his successor....

  • Originally published 02/26/2013

    The hermit pope of the 1200s

    Beneath a glass coffin, wearing a pontiff's miter and faded vestments of gold and purple, there lies a tiny man with a wax head.This represents an Italian priest who, until this month, was the only pope in history to voluntarily resign.His name is Celestine V.Celestine became pope at 84, some seven centuries ago, after a long and self-punishing career as a hermit.Though a celebrated spiritual leader, and founder of a new branch of the Benedictine order, his papacy lasted just over five months. It's widely viewed as an utter disaster.He left at 85 — the same age as Benedict XVI....

  • Originally published 02/22/2013

    Timothy Stanley: Why Benedict XVI Will Be Remembered for Generations

    Timothy Stanley is a historian at Oxford University and blogs for Britain's The Daily Telegraph. He is the author of "The Crusader: The Life and Times of Pat Buchanan."(CNN) - Journalists have a habit of calling too many things "historic" - but on this occasion, the word is appropriate. The Roman Catholic Church is run like an elected monarchy, and popes are supposed to rule until death; no pope has stepped down since 1415.Therefore, it almost feels like a concession to the modern world to read that Benedict XVI is retiring on grounds of ill health, as if he were a CEO rather than God's man on Earth. That's highly ironic considering that Benedict will be remembered as perhaps the most "conservative" pope since the 1950s - a leader who tried to assert theological principle over fashionable compromise.

  • Originally published 02/15/2013

    Resigning pope brings doomsday prophecy

    Is the world only a Pope away from the End? Yes, if you believe a chilling 12th-century prophecy.Attributed to St. Malachy, an Irish archbishop canonized in 1190, the Prophecy of the Popes would date to 1139. The document predicted that there would be only 112 more popes before the Last Judgment — and Benedict XVI is 111.The list of popes originated from a vision Malachy said he received from God when he was in Rome, reporting on his diocese to Pope Innocent II.The story goes that St. Malachy gave the apocalyptic list to Innocent II and that the document remained unknown in the Vatican Archives some 440 years after Malachy’s death in 1148. It was rediscovered and published by Benedictine Arnold de Wyon in 1590....

  • Originally published 02/12/2013

    Pope Benedict XVI Never Aspired to Be Pope: Historian

    ...Pope Benedict XVI was the oldest pope to be elected at age 78 on April 19, 2005, but according to a Catholic historian, the now 85-year-old pontiff never aspired to become pope.Writer and historian Michael Hesemann spent months interviewing Monsignor Georg Ratzinger at his home in Regensburg to capture the intimate details of his life with the pope, from childhood to papacy. The two brothers have always been close.These interviews became Ratzinger’s memoirs in a book titled “My Brother, The Pope,” which came out last March....

  • Originally published 02/12/2013

    Despite Nazi past, Israel considered pope friend

    JERUSALEM — When Joseph Ratzinger became pope in 2005, many in Israel wondered whether the German-born Cardinal with the Nazi past would prove a worthy successor to the popular Pope John Paul II, whose pluralistic path helped sooth centuries of fraught relations between Jews and Christians.Eight years later, following his surprise resignation Monday, Israeli leaders lauded Pope Benedict XVI as a friend who helped promote dialogue and coexistence....

  • Originally published 02/12/2013

    When the pope was powerful, and why that changed

    It’s difficult to pinpoint a precise moment when the office of the pope began to lose its vast political power, which had long placed the Holy See above even the kings and emperors of Europe, but has since declined to the point that now-retiring Pope Benedict XVI found few political accomplishments in his reign. But one day that stands out is Dec. 2, 1804.A few weeks earlier, French voters had overwhelmingly approved a referendum elevating Napoleon Bonaparte from first consul to emperor, the beginning of the end of France’s democratic revolution. His coronation was to proceed in the manner of all Catholic monarchs, who still ruled most of Europe: he would kneel before the pope, then Pius VII, to receive a crown and blessing. The symbolism of the coronation reflected centuries of European political tradition, in which the Catholic church formally conferred royalty with the divine blessing that was thought necessary to rule; the church, in its power, had at times competed openly with those same monarchs....

  • Originally published 02/11/2013

    The Next Pope: What Happens Now?

    Basilica of St. Peter. Credit: Wiki Commons.In a surprise announcement this morning, Pope Benedict XVI announced his intention to resign the office of the papacy effective at 8:00 p.m. on February 28. Per the Vatican's official announcement, Benedict declared to the cardinals gathered in consistory that given his advanced age (the pope is 85 years old), he feels he lacks the physical strength to continue fulfilling the duties of the papal office.The announcement took the world, including those at the Vatican, by surprise -- a "bolt of lightning from a clear sky," one cardinal reportedly remarked. Papal resignations are not unprecedented, though they have proven extremely rare. Along with death, resignation is one of the two ways the papal office can be vacated according to canon law. Benedict will be the first pope to resign in nearly six hundred years, making his announcement all the more remarkable.

  • Originally published 02/11/2013

    Which Other Popes Have Resigned?

    UPDATE, 2-28-13: As of 2:28 pm today, Pope Benedict XVI has stepped down from the papacy.* * * * *In an unexpected announcement today, Pope Benedict XVI stated he is resigning from the papacy as of February 28. Benedict's abdication, reportedly due to ill health, apparently took even the pope's closest advisors by surprise. Indeed, a pope hasn't stepped down from the papacy in over six hundred years, and the few instances when popes have resigned have been for reasons either more political -- or more corrupt -- than health.A look back at the confirmed instances of papal abdication:

  • Originally published 01/22/2013

    German Priests Carried Out Sexual Abuse for Years

    BERLIN — A report about child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, based on victim accounts and released by the church this week, showed that priests carefully planned their assaults and frequently abused the same children repeatedly for years.The report, compiled from information collected from victims and other witnesses who called a hot line run by the church from 2010 until the end of last year, includes the ages of the victims, the locations of the assaults and the repercussions they have suffered since. The accounts were provided in 8,500 calls to the hot line; they are not representative of abuse cases over all and cannot be individually verified. The church said the report contained information from 1,824 people, of whom 1,165 described themselves as victims.

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