Benedict XVI’s farewell tour began this week, including a three-minute plus eruption of applause at the Ash Wednesday service, one that might never have ended if the pope himself hadn’t cut it short by saying “Let’s get back to the prayer,” and a love fest with the priests of Rome on Thursday.
John Allen in Rome: The pope is on a retreat this week run by a man considered papabile. Here's more about him.
Q-and-A: Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner talks Benedict’s record on sex abuse and the fallout from last’s year sex abuse summit.
"Cardinal Mahony should do the right thing and stay home," said one group, while some Los Angeles parishioners aren't bothered.
John Allen in Rome: The appointment of a German with ties to a company that makes military warships to be president of the Vatican Bank is threatening to stir controversy.
"We need a pontiff who feels totally comfortable among women, one who respects rather than fears female intelligence. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, led by their limited, distorted, one-dimensional view of women and femininity, separated the lives of the hierarchy from the lives of the people,” writes Catholic theologian, A. Regina Schulte. “From both popes have come some benign, non-specific testaments to feminine qualities such as a woman’s “genius” and “superiority” (think Mother’s Day cards).
It is a widely held belief that, aware of the indefatigable character of women, the pope and hierarchy continue to stifle feminine power because they fear it,” she writes in an essay set to appear in Corpus Reports, the bi-monthly journal of CORPUS. “A just and equitable rearranging of the deck chairs, starting an entirely new way or seeing and working with women, as respected equals, sharing the same basic baptismal rites, is long overdue.”
John Allen in Rome: In a recent interview, one cardinal says that in 2009, he approached Pope Benedict to ask him to dump his Secretary of State.
Pope Benedict XVI's resignation is big on buzz but is not the stunning surprise claimed by many pundits. It is rather a further example of the German theology professor's style that informed his years as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, his term as pope, and the formation of his legacy to the church.
Simply put, no U.S. cardinal has the chops to be the next pope, whether it's due to depth of theological writings, expert managerial capability, the facility of languages, or a global presence, among other reasons.
My NCR colleague, John Allen, has done his level best to introduce into the mainstream media the notion that Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., are contenders for the papacy at next month's conclave. To be sure, Allen has as much, if not more, experience covering the Vatican as any U.S. journalist.
NCR Today: The president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious said the new pope should work with the sisters "to support our mission."