The safe, polite word is that resigning was perhaps the best thing Benedict XVI ever did. Sometimes it is said with a tinge of damning with faint praise, but often it sounds sincere for reasons well articulated.
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: These three men all came into the spotlight because of scandal, and could cause some trouble when the conclave convenes next month.
On Tuesday, NCR looked at world headlines capturing the news of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, thanks to the D.C.-based Newseum.
As Pope Benedict looks to shore up his legacy in the last two weeks of his pontificate, he used one of his last general audiences Wednesday to cite three 20th century writers as examples of deep conversion to faith.
Among those Benedict mentioned was Dorothy Day, the late New Yorker who was the co-founder of a continuing radical U.S. Catholic movement focused on embracing voluntary poverty and living out the works of mercy.
Having established Feb. 28 as the end of his papacy, Benedict XVI now has two weeks to leave a final imprint on the church, conscious that every word he says for the next two weeks and every act he performs will be among his last.
One has to imagine that Benedict will use these opportunities to stress a few themes particularly dear to his heart, which will both help sum up his own papacy and, perhaps, help sketch a path for his successor.
In effect, the pope's record over the next two weeks amounts to a final chance to frame his own legacy.
During the last years of the John Paul II papacy we watched major deterioration as he clung to life and power. At that time, I wrote more than once of his need to retire or for a process to be initiated to vacate the See of Peter because of his inability to carry out his duties as pope.
Eco Catholic: Deemed the "green pope," Benedict spoke often of the need for greater care for creation among people of all faiths.
Some say Pope Benedict XVI was the most knowledgeable man about the crisis, but others say he didn't do enough for victims.
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?