Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Joseph Ratzinger aka "Joey Rats," better known today as Pope Benedict XVI, announced that he is resigning from the Papacy on Monday. I didn't even know that was a possibility, I had to look it up. The last pope to resign was Gregory XII in 1415 as part of a political settlement to end the Western Schism when there were three claimants to the throne: the Roman Pope Gregory XII, Avignon Antipope Benedict XIII, and Pisan Antipope John XXIII.
Canon law does not specify any particular individual or body or people to whom the pope must manifest his resignation (Judy Blume's book title immediately popped to mind: "Are you there God? It's me, Margaret" -- I quit), but Pope Celestine V in 1294 issued a solemn decree declaring it permissible for a pope to resign, and then he immediately resigned -- "I'm outta here!" Since Celestine's decree was never revoked, he set a precedent for a valid papal resignation. Who knew? They didn't teach us Vatican palace intrigue in my Catholic catechism classes.
"Joey Rats" was the Vatican enforcer for Pope John Paul II -- who is no saint -- before ascending to the throne himself. He was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition (yes, that Inquisition). It was his job to cover-up the numerous pedophile priest sex crimes and to reassign these priests to enable them to avoid criminal prosecution. "Joey Rats" had compassion for the sinner priests, but apparently not so much for their innocent victims. (I went to Catholic school with some of these victims).
If Dante were writing the Inferno (The Divine Comedy, Volume 1) today, he would create a special place in hell for those pedophile priests, and a ring of hell for the popes, cardinals and bishops who covered up their crimes and protected these pedophile priests from criminal prosecution -- including Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
There is every reason to suspect this resignation is related to sex crimes prosecutions closing in on the Vatican and the role of "Joey Rats" in covering up those crimes. See Adele Stan's piece in Alternet:
[Pope] Benedict's action comes just weeks after he opened his celebrated Twitter account -- and less than a month after the decades-old child abuse scandal drew nearer to the pope's door, with revelations published in the Los Angeles Times earlier this month that Cardinal Roger Mahony, then Archbishop of Los Angeles, sought to evade the law in cases involving the sexual abuse of children by the priests in his charge by sending them to treatment facilities in states that did not require health professionals to report the crimes to authorities.
At the time that Mahony was covering up the crimes of his priests, Benedict, then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, led the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican office that oversaw such matters.
In archdiocese documents released under a court order earlier this month, Mahony is revealed to have taken actions deliberately contrived to avoid legal prosecution of priests who had sexually abused -- and even raped -- children. The documents were so damaging that Mahony, now retired and once thought to be a contender for the papacy, was publicly rebuked by current Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez, and stripped of any public duties, an unprecedented censure of a cardinal archbishop by his successor.
Amid the cache of church records, released as part of a settlement between the archdiocese and 500 sex-abuse victims, are several letters to Ratzinger from Mahoney, in which the California prelate reports to the Vatican his reasons for various actions (such as defrocking) taken against the offending priests. The records amount to some 30,000 pages, so their full contents have yet to be pored through by investigators and journalists.
HBO will air the documentary film "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God" in February. The documentary explores the impact of the Roman Catholic Church's protocol as dictated from the Vatican for dealing with pedophile priests. "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In The House of God" Documentary Blames Vatican For Poor Handling Of Catholic Sexual Abuse Case.
The best summary I have read about Pope Benedict XVI is the political satire of The Onion, which captures my feelings as a disaffected Catholic perfectly. Resigning Pope No Longer Has Strength to Lead Church Backward:
Citing his advancing age and deteriorating health, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation from the papacy Monday, saying he no longer possessed the strength and energy required to lead the Catholic Church backward.
According to the 85-year-old pontiff, after considerable prayer and reflection on his physical stamina and mental acuity, he concluded that his declining faculties left him unable to helm the Church’s ambitious regressive agenda and guide the faith’s one billion global followers on their steady march away from modernity and cultural advancement.
“It is with sadness, but steadfast conviction, that I announce I am no longer capable of impeding social progress with the energy and endurance that is required of the highest ministry in the Roman Catholic Church,” Benedict reportedly said in Latin to the Vatican’s highest cardinals. “While I’m proud of the strides the Church has made over the past eight years, from thwarting AIDS-prevention efforts in Africa to failing to punish or even admit to decades of sexual abuse of children at the hands of clergy, it has become evident to me that, in this rapidly evolving world, I now lack the capacity to continue guiding this faith back centuries.”
“Thus, I must step down from the papacy,” he added. “But let me assure every member of the Church that the Vatican’s commitment to narrow-mindedness and social obstruction will long live on after my departure.”
Word of Benedict’s resignation—the first for a sitting pope in nearly 600 years—reportedly stunned the world’s Catholic faithful, many of whom believed the German-born pontiff still had years of stymieing female advancement in Church roles, opposing stem cell research, and inflaming tensions with Jews, Muslims, and Anglicans left in him.
Other members of the faith, however, said they recognized the Holy Father had, as of late, grown slower and more feeble in his ability to block measures regarding scientific discovery and same-sex rights. Many believers expressed appreciation that Benedict recognized his limitations at obstructing society’s advancement, and admitted feeling a sense of excitement that a new pontiff could reinvigorate the faith’s obsolete ideology and guide the Church toward bold social norms unseen since the Middle Ages.
“I’ll always appreciate what Benedict XVI did for limiting my ability to receive basic health care services,” said devout Catholic Ana Maria Fernández of Buenos Aires. “He was a visionary leader who was undaunted by modern realities and social trends, always vowing to triumph over modern ideals of fairness, equality, and in many cases, even basic human compassion to achieve a darker, far more regressive world for all of us.”
“I doubt we’ll ever find another leader so committed to reversing society’s natural progression of post-Enlightenment values,” Fernández added. “He will truly be missed.”
Responding to the widespread outpouring of shock and sadness surrounding his resignation, Benedict issued a brief statement Monday afternoon consoling his followers, assuring them that “the Church’s most ignorant and regressive days still lie ahead of us.”
You laugh, but Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI purged the Church of leaders who supported Pope John XXIII and the Vatican II reforms, and stacked the College of Cardinals with regressive conservative reactionaries. The new pope will be just as bad, because he is certain to come from this group.
And for you end-timers out there, here is an apocryphal story for you. Is the Next Pope the Last Pope? - National Review Online:
In the year 1140, an Irish bishop named Malachy visited Rome with a group of monks. They climbed the Janiculum Hill to thank God for the safe completion of their journey. While there (so the story goes), Malachy had a vision in which he “saw” 111 Popes to the end of time. Each Pope was chronicled with by a short, cryptic epigram in Latin. And with the resignation of Benedict XVI, the last Pope on Saint Malachy’s list is about to be elected.
Oh Noes, freak out! Get ready for the Rapture. . . or not.