Sunday, February 17, 2013

Historic departure part of Pope Benedict XVI's legacy

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-

Pope Benedict XVI, the German pope who some feared would spend his pontificate scourging liberal Roman Catholics, focused on preaching about God's love.

"His greatest legacy is his spiritual hunger and thirst to bring people closer to God," said Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh.

But it's how he ended his papacy, as the first pope in 600 years to resign, that is guaranteed to make the history books.

"In one fell swoop, he brought the papacy into the modern world. It was a very courageous act that has probably been needed for a long time," said John Thavis, the former Vatican bureau chief of Catholic News Service and author of "The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church," which will be published this week.
"A very tradition-minded pope made a very untraditional decision."

He is an introvert who followed the 26-year reign of an extrovert who had redefined the papacy. Elected at 78, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who had presided over the Vatican's doctrinal office for 24 years, didn't expect a long papacy. He set out to build on the call of Pope John Paul II for a "new evangelization" that would appeal to secularized Westerners who were abandoning the faith. But his intended messages often were overshadowed by world-shaking gaffes, such as an unvetted speech on faith and reason in 2006 that triggered rioting in parts of the Muslim world.

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