“The Gospel’s call to love one another is the basis for the rich Catholic social teaching that sparked and nourished my love of God and church. It is this love that is absent from too many actions of our leadership. No wonder Catholics like me are despairing. We can’t find Christ in our church. …
Celebrating what was expected to be the last public liturgy of his pontificate two weeks before his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI preached on the virtues of humility and Christian unity and heard his highest-ranking aide pay tribute to his service to the church.
Jesus "denounces religious hypocrisy, behavior that wants to show off, attitudes that seek applause and approval," the pope said in his homily during Mass on Wednesday in St. Peter's Basilica. "The true disciple does not serve himself or the 'public,' but his Lord, in simplicity and generosity."
John Allen in Rome: It's the question everyone is asking: Is the pope really just old and tired, or is there more to the story?
Still reeling from Monday's announcement that Pope Benedict XVI will become the first pope in 600 years to resign, the Vatican is attempting to return to normal, but many questions about the future remain unanswered.
"I don't know" was the most common response from the Vatican's top spokesman, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, at a press conference Tuesday as he was peppered with questions about everything from what Benedict will be called in retirement, to whether he will still be a cardinal, to who will live with him in his retirement inside a Vatican convent.
John Allen in Rome: There's reason to believe the College of the Cardinals will go in a different direction when they gather to elect a new pope.
U.S. church leaders said they were surprised by the news of the pope's retirement but admired the pontiff's courage for making the decision.
Analysis: Pope Benedict will no longer be pope starting Feb. 28, but there are a few things he can do before then to avoid becoming a lame-duck pope.
The Vatican monastery where Pope Benedict XVI intends to live began its life as the Vatican gardener's house, but was established as a cloistered convent by Blessed John Paul II in 1994.
When Pope Benedict, 85, announced Monday that his age and declining energies prompted his decision to resign effective Feb. 28, the Vatican said he would move out to the papal villa in Castel Gandolfo while remodeling work was completed on the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican Gardens.
John Allen in Rome: The Vatican spokesperson answered questions about Benedict's resignation this morning -- but he certainly didn't have all the answers.
Regulated by ancient traditions and recent rules, the period between popes -- known by the Latin term "interregnum" -- will begin exactly at 8 p.m. Rome time Feb. 28.