Q-and-A: American Cardinal Theodore McCarrick talked with John Allen in Rome about Pope Benedict's resignation and the dynamics of the upcoming election.
John Allen in Rome: The Vatican spokesman shot down one rumor but confirmed another this morning in what has become a daily exercise in rumor control.
On Thursday, Pope Benedict spoke extemporaneously on his experiences at Vatican II at his last encounter with the clergy of his diocese.
Conventional wisdom about Benedict XVI holds that he's a strong teaching pope but weak on the business management side, reflected in the "Vatileaks" mess and other internal breakdowns. Yet defenders argue he's actually been a reformer, perhaps nowhere more so than on Vatican finances.
The next few days seem likely to bring one final twist to the story, with the naming of a new president for the embattled Vatican Bank.
Famously, the papacy of Benedict XVI has had a rocky relationship with religious women, especially in the United States. An apostolic visitation of women's orders in America was initiated in 2008, and in 2012, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decreed a sweeping overhaul of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
His post-papal life, however, will in a certain sense be thanks to the nuns.
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.
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.
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?
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.
John Allen in Rome: The Vatican spokesperson answered questions about Benedict's resignation this morning -- but he certainly didn't have all the answers.