Now that Pope Benedict has granted his own wish to step down, the debate over his legacy is officially open.
We say: This is a critical time for the church. Can the global church, mired in an outdated governing system, be effectively managed?
Pope Benedict XVI will live "hidden from the world" in "a life dedicated to prayer" after he officially retires. Here's more about what comes next for him.
"Pope Benedict leaves behind an important but frequently overlooked legacy on social justice issues. A pope largely viewed in the media as a staunch conservative for his opposition to gay marriage and abortion also trumpeted views to the left of most Democrats in Congress when it came to economic justice and the environment." - John Gehring, senior writer and Catholic outreach coordinator at Faith in Public Life.
Pope Benedict XVI might want to fade into a quiet retirement of books and music, but Catholics with long memories remember when Joseph Ratzinger was in charge of upholding orthodoxy.
The square outside St. Peter’s Basilica was busy the night of Feb. 26. Crews were setting up chairs, barricades, cameras and lights in anticipation of the final general audience of Pope Benedict XVI. Amid the hubbub, pilgrims and visitors milled quietly on the square, giving the scene a somber dignity. Standing in the square in the early evening, one could see lights burning brightly in the papal apartment, leading to the question: want occupies Benedict’s minds on his nights.
Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain will celebrate a Mass of thanksgiving on Thursday, the scheduled final day of Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate, at 12:10 p.m. in St. James Cathedral, according to an archdiocesan media release Tuesday.
“As Pope Benedict’s pontificate draws to a close,” the statement said, “Archbishop Sartain has asked that a Mass of thanksgiving for the Holy Father be celebrated in each parish throughout the Archdiocese of Seattle, and that all Catholics pray for the pope, his successor and for the guidance of the Holy Spirit during this time of transition.”
I fervently hope that whoever is elected pope in the upcoming conclave will abruptly depart from Benedict’s fashion preferences. The public appearances of His Holiness in garish garments reminiscent of the Middle Ages (especially the red shoes) began to wear on me long before his announcement of resignation.
I acknowledge that a considerable number of Catholics glory in this sartorial splendor that represents in its own way the direction in which Benedict was struggling to move the church.
Rome dispatch: With just a few days before he resigns, Pope Benedict XVI has given his official title for when he no longer leads the Catholic church.
Analysis: The insult of the investigation of American nuns, which came in the middle of Benedict's reign, appears to have backfired.