Pope Benedict XVI Resigns in Dramatic Fashion
Pope Benedict XVI resigned Monday in dramatic fashion. He's the first Pope to resign in over six centuries. Benedict caught Roman Catholics everywhere by surprise when during what was thought to be a routine canonization of three potential saints he read a prepared statement citing his advanced age and poor health as reasons for stepping down. Those in attendance stated that Benedict showed little emotion while delivering this shocking news.
According to his brother, Father Georg Ratzinger, Benedict had been planning to step down for several months. His last day in office will be February 28th. Later it was revealed that Benedict had received a pacemaker some 10 years ago. The Vatican stated this had nothing to do with Benedict's decision to resign.
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As the world prepares to bid Benedict farewell, questions will be raised about how his reign as Pope should be remembered. During Benedict time as Pope the Catholic Church was wrought with one crippling scandal after another. His butler was convicted by a Vatican court for aggravated theft after he admitted stealing confidential Vatican documents. And there were the numerous clerical child-abuse scandals that Benedict and Vatican officials struggled to handle properly or at all, his critics would claim. Benedict was also revered and reviled for his staunch support of traditional Roman Catholic doctrine against women in the clergy and divorce.
To Benedict's credit, he tried to focus on what it meant to be a Christian rather than constantly addressing the scandals and challenges facing the church. This approach made him appear distant to his detractors.
More than likely, Benedict will be remembered more as a traditionalist than as an aggressive, free-thinker who confronted critical issues and sought to bring the Roman Catholic Church into the modern world.
With great power comes great responsibility. The question about Benedict is did he do enough to force the Roman Catholic Church to move forward when he was in power.
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