The structures of the Church at the Vatican levels are a tight knit and closed system, especially so when it comes to the transfer of power from one pope to the next. However, the process is not based on anything in the founding years of the Church.
All we outside Vatican who cherish our church have to go by are hunches, beliefs, speculation, conjecture and opinions. We can examine the Ratzinger's legacy and theorize, but no one can know why he resigned. The pope is the pope, accountable to no one. Not even God.
If ever there were a perfect time to clean house in the Church, it is now. For the Church, this symbolic time of repentance could be the time in which the Church re-orients itself to serve a 21st century world.
Our generation needs to set aside the cultural hostility toward Catholicism and take another look. The resignation of Pope Benedict gives us that opportunity.
On the surface, the death of Rabbi Hartman and the resignation of Pope Benedict occurring at the same time was a mere coincidence, two separate news items in two separate parts of the world, affecting two different religious communities. But there are lessons to learn from both men.
Thank you, Your Holiness, for, wittingly or not, setting an example. Let's all resign from this wrong-headed church and turn our hearts and minds to the God in whose "image and likeness" Genesis claims we are fashioned.
We pray the incoming pope will usher in the resurgence of sincere inter-religious dialogue and the dawn of a new era of peace-making, peace-building and coexistence befitting of the children of Abraham.
Nostalgic for his student days, Pope Benedict XVI has elected to pass out of history much as he stepped into it: blinking blindly at all the bright lights, never quite certain of how he got there, nor what he was supposed to do with the power he possessed.
The stated reasons for the Pope's abdication must be part of the story, but they are the least relevant elements. More significant is the evidence linking crimes to the Vatican. In the abuse scandal, all roads do lead to Rome.
The religion beat has been dominated by pope news over the last week and there's sure more to come as we inch closer to Pope Benedict XVI's last day in office on February 28. Catch up on the latest pope headlines.
10. Yard Sale this Weekend! I'll man the table in the Piazza 8am-till noon. MASSive bargains!
I have known Joseph Ratzinger since we were both young men at the Second Vatican Council in 1963-64. After the death of John Paul the Great, I very much wanted his great friend Ratzinger to succeed him, old and frail of health as he was.
An underappreciated achievement of Pope Benedict has been his consistent support for science. Benedict was a quiet and powerful voice calling for Christians to embrace science.
But what does it say about the conscience of church leadership when it does not support and uphold LGBT families?
The pope's resignation has broken with the traditions of Roman centralism. The Catholic Church is moving towards a more democratic era.
The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the issue it raises of how his successor deals with a living ex-pope has touched off a heated debate among presidential historians about how American presidents deal with their predecessors. Here are some examples.