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SPEAK OUT: What Do You Think About Pope Benedict's Resignation?

After almost 8 years as pontiff, Pope Benedict is calling it quits at the end of the month. What do you think about his move? What effect will it have on the Church?


Pope John Paul was a hard act to follow, but his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, has done his best to fill the shoes as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

Today the Vatican announced that the 85-year-old pope will be resigning by the end of February because of his inability to fulfill the duties of his office. The pontiff said his strength "has deteriorated" in the last few months, according to a CNN report.

It will be the first time in 600 years that a pope has resigned, rather than die, in office. It may also mean huge changes ahead for the Catholic Church.

SPEAK OUT: What do you think the Pope's resignation will have on the Church? Is it a good thing, or do you fear what may be coming? Tell us what you think.

A Catholic February 11, 2013 at 04:51 PM
He is but a man. Let's not forget that...
Habemus Papam February 11, 2013 at 05:36 PM
Indeed, and a flawed man at that. The Holy See would like for catholics to go back to pre-Vatican 2 doctrine. As Americans, we often times will shake our heads at the "backwards" religious practices of other religions in regards to how they treat women, their forms of punishment towards the unfaithful, and their primitive beliefs. Yet the catholic leadership is just as guilty. "Over the course of just a few months in 2010, thousands of people in Europe, Australia, South America and beyond came forward with reports of priests who raped and molested them as children, and bishops who covered up the crimes." "Benedict had firsthand knowledge of the scope of the problem since his old office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which he had headed since 1982, was responsible for dealing with abuse cases." "But Benedict never admitted any personal or Vatican failure. Much to the dismay of victims, he never took action against bishops who ignored or covered up the abuse of their priests or moved known pedophiles to new posts where they abused again." "In 2009, he enraged the United Nations and several European governments, when en route to Africa, he told reporters that the AIDS problem couldn't be resolved by distributing condoms. "On the contrary, it increases the problem," he said then." It's 2013, stop preaching like it's 213 AD.
Monk February 11, 2013 at 06:04 PM
I suppose it's normal for critics to cherry-pick, exaggerate and take matters out of context, but the Catholic Church's teaching is quite sound. The handling of the controversies has been a real black eye, but it's no reason to call into question teachings which promote the dignity of the person above all.
Deborah Bell (Editor) February 11, 2013 at 06:29 PM
Habemus, where are you quoting that from?
klubkleb February 11, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Protector of child rapists...what a wonderful, backwards, archaic head of a backwards and archaic organization.
Habemus Papam February 11, 2013 at 07:53 PM
Deborah, There are a fair amount of articles that deal with the scandals Pope Benedict was forced to contend with. Some were just due to the timing of who happened to be pope at the time. I chose quotes from the attached article as this piece also discussed his having to had knowledge of the sex scandals based on his heading the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The attached article also discussed his ultra conservatism and how that is bringing the church back to a doctrine that is not in touch with modern times. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/11/pope-benedict-profile_n_2661590.html
Monk February 11, 2013 at 08:11 PM
One has to wonder what sort of person expects a religion to change to suit them, rather than change themselves to adhere to the religion. By its very nature, religion requires self-denial and faith in a higher authority. Are we supposed to dumb-down religion so as not to hurt anyone's spiritual self-esteem now?
Deborah Bell (Editor) February 11, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Habemus, Pope Benedict is pretty much of the same doctrinal beliefs and philosophy as his predecessor, Pope John Paul. It's difficult to say how he's "bringing the church back" when the church has always been conservative. As you'd probably agree, there's nothing new here.
Deborah Bell (Editor) February 11, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Monk, you have a point. I'd also add that no one is forced to belong to the Catholic Church. If it doesn't suit - and there are plenty of people whom it doesn't - it'd make sense that perhaps another religion would be a better fit.
unknownauthor February 11, 2013 at 08:30 PM
Yes he is, but a special one. Let us not forget that!
unknownauthor February 11, 2013 at 08:33 PM
@ Ms. Bell. With all due respect, why are you now commenting on on your article?
Habemus Papam February 11, 2013 at 10:30 PM
First to Monk - What part is exaggerated or taken out of context? You ask "One has to wonder what sort of person expects a religion to change to suit them, rather than change themselves to adhere to the religion. By its very nature, religion requires self-denial and faith in a higher authority. Are we supposed to dumb-down religion so as not to hurt anyone's spiritual self-esteem now?" No, you do not have to "dumb down" religion, but then you cannot lament that more people are leaving your faith. To Deborah - yes the church has been conservative, but Vatican 2 did bring about changes that Benedict has been working to reverse. So no, I cannot agree with you. In regards to what I see as a flippant statement that "it'd make sense that perhaps another religion would be a better fit.", I return to my prior statement that the Church is looking to increase their flock, while returning to edicts that have driven people away. Do you have a comment on Benedict's complicity related to the failure to act on the abuse cases?
gam February 11, 2013 at 11:05 PM
@Tom Maras...why wouldn't Ms Bell be able to comment on her own article? It is under "speak out". I would think that would indicate she is hoping to have some dialogue on the topic. You have never complained if she admonished people that bashed you on this page before.
Monk February 11, 2013 at 11:17 PM
I would say that "preaching like it's 213 AD" is an exaggeration. And, I don't find where I was lamenting anything. I would go on to say that emphasizing anything over personal holiness is the beginning of the end for many. Striving for personal holiness causes many issues to fade away. The controversies do not define Catholicism. They are accidents of history. Obsessing over controversies is the best way to stunt one's spiritual growth and the spiritual growth of others. Habemus, I'd like to think that you have no nefarious intentions, but only good will.
Carol8328 February 11, 2013 at 11:17 PM
To all: This is one reason I LEFT the Catholic Church...It is run by MAN. I prefer to put my trust in Jesus who died for my sins... Better to follow the Bible than a Pope who has the authority to CHANGE doctrine. God says the word of God is the same today as it was and as it will be. The Bible NEVER changes, but Catholic doctrine has changed many times over the years. I read an article that stated, "After the current Pope's reign is done, the next Pope will be the LAST before the 2nd return of Christ. People get ready... Jesus time is near. God Bless you all and may God impart His wisdom and truth to those that have been blinded by the dealings of the Catholic Church. In Jesus Name, I pray, Amen... No where in the bible does it tell us to pray to another man, nor shall anyone be called "Father" except God himself. Too many things that go against what the bible teaches us to continue in a 'religion' that is not upholding God's original word... No offense to those of you of the Catholic Faith. God will show you the truth in His time.. you just need to be willing and seeking HIS truth and He will reveal it to you, just as He did to me.. <><
klubkleb February 11, 2013 at 11:17 PM
my thoughts exactly
Habemus Papam February 11, 2013 at 11:44 PM
With all due respect Monk..."accidents of history"???? I believe you are glossing over these "accidents" that were not isolated to a particular region or to a small timeframe. I do not believe I'm obsessing over controversies, but rather pointing out the deafening silence of criminal acts that were allowed to promulgate due to inaction by leaders who were in the know. Actually, I cannot say inaction, but rather actions that included reassignment of the guilty to continue these acts. I guess my frustration lies with deifying those who could have and should have acted more "Christian". Let me ask you a question.. do you agree this those in the Middle East, who in the name of their religion believe it's ok for women to be raped? I'm sure not. They are just as devout in their faith as many who believe that contraception is a sin. Granted that is an extreme example, but where is the line?
Princess Valiant February 12, 2013 at 01:22 PM
I so many ways, I felt that this Pope was an interim Pope. He had to deal with so much and did it poorly. He acted almost as if since these were not problems generated within his Papacy, he just dropped them. Everything evolves (except the Catholic Church), and it's time for change. Most religions have factions within, let Catholics choose where they stand. Women, health, life, be inclusive, keep people engaged.
Holy Cow February 12, 2013 at 01:42 PM
Guess he is an Ex-Benedict Now!
Monk February 12, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Habemus, you are still exaggerating when you write "my frustration lies with deifying those who could have and should have acted more 'Christian'." The phrase "accident of history" in no way minimizes or glosses over anything, except in the mind of one unfamiliar with the more technical sense of the term. And do you seriously not know where the line is between Muslim sanctioned rape and Catholic banning of artificial contraception? One destroys while the other upholds the dignity of the human person. All of this Monday-morning pontificating engaged in by critics of Catholicism is especially boring when it comes from people who are obviously not in communion of heart and mind with the Catholic Church. Scandals — past, present and (sigh) future — are a huge black-eye, and they are all pretty much peripheral to the core teachings. So, why the obsession with them?
Mike February 12, 2013 at 07:10 PM
I humbly suggest that all the effort put into these arguments would be better spent in prayer to the one God.
Habemus Papam February 12, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Monk - Taken from the Oxford dictionary is the below definition of an accident of history. an accident of birth/fate/history (= describing facts and events that are due to chance or circumstances) Is there another technical sense of the term that you are aware of and I am missing? If not, are you explaining away the controversies I mention as just due to chance or circumstances? What circumstances might they be? I do have a line and am aware of where it is. However, those of different faiths seem to have lines that are not in alignment with each other. You seem to subscribe to Catholicism and the tenets that govern their faith. My question was related to how is your faith, norms, and beliefs less worthy than someone who subscibes to a different faith and god? These scandals are not peripheral when they are shown a blind eye by those that hold institutional power. Below is from today's NY Daily News. The small group is from a PUBLIC school and is trying to ban gay students from attending the public school prom. This is in the name of religion. I would disagree, but at least say it's their right if it were a Catholic school. Do you have a comment or opinion on this in the name of religion? http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/indiana-parents-teacher-prom-bans-gays-article-1.1261207
Monk February 12, 2013 at 07:52 PM
Amen, Mike.
Robert G. Petix February 12, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Everything happens for a reason.
OnTheBrightSide February 14, 2013 at 08:22 AM
If only there were a God, what would he think of an institution that in his name to consolidate power denies natural behaviors like sex and procreation by preventing priests to marry. What would he think of an institution that in his name has waged wars over land, tortured non believers, stifled scientific progress pushed policy that has caused millions to be born into disease and poverty, and covered up the rape of 10's , no possible 100's of thousands of children from the safety of its walled city state that has arranged it's very existence by cutting a deal with a dictator in league with Adolfo Hitler. Keep praying if you want, just keep all of your misguided sentiments to yourselves. Let the rest of us do all the heavy lifting and thinking without your nonsense.
Deborah Bell (Editor) February 14, 2013 at 09:08 AM
" Keep praying if you want, just keep all of your misguided sentiments to yourselves. Let the rest of us do all the heavy lifting and thinking without your nonsense." Bright, many of the people posting here believe in God. It's fine if you don't; it's not fine to show such contempt and disrespect for other people's sincerely held beliefs. If you can argue without the snideness, you're welcome to continue posting.
Monk February 14, 2013 at 11:19 AM
Deborah, I am grateful for your intentions, but I wince whenever the Catholic Church is plastered on the front page of the secular media ... for the mockery it invites. While once there was a time when mutual respect was fostered in society, the modus operandi today is to ridicule and destroy anyone or anything that stands in contradiction to one's way of life. We Christians are "in the world, but not of the world", and the hostility has to be expected. It matters not that Catholic hospitals, schools and other charitable efforts have provided superb service to people of all faiths or no faith. The critics only rehearse the same list of aberrations, as if they represent the main program of the Catholic Church.
Deborah Bell (Editor) February 14, 2013 at 01:02 PM
Monk, tolerance is a virtue. I can't patrol the world. I can make sure that people who post on Patch feel comfortable doing so, and can post seriously without being ridiculed for what they believe.
Fred D Dawg February 14, 2013 at 01:29 PM
1st time reader,here.What I see,is the usual dogmatic attack on religion,& in this case,the catholics.The catholics are a HUGE group.in any huge group,boy scouts,repubs,demos,caths,or protestants,there will be a certain number of pervs,liars,theives,rapists,& so forth.NO human instituiton was EVER Perfect. God is Perfect. Humans are very flawed. To demand Perfection in anything done by humans,is a waste of time.Real world often sucks.If you don't like any religion,that's your right,but to demand they meet YOUR expectations, is NOT your right. don;t like it,then don;t go! The Pope is an old man in his 80s...I hope he has a long enjoyable retirement.But it appears to me,this "issue",is being hijacked by antireligionists to just bash.I'm not catholic,but I respect all the GOOD they have done in this world,which far outweighs their bad points. signed..Fred D Dawg
The Duke February 14, 2013 at 09:36 PM
Thumbs up to Fred D Dawg, thanks for defending the Church even though you are not an adherent. In reading some of the comments here it seems that the same lack of civility that plagues politics and tweets has crept into this discussion. Ms. Bell posted four short sentences about the Pope's resignation and asked what people thought. Some Catholics are highly offended by remarks made here, many of which are based upon (purposely) erroneous reporting of details, in particular Pope Benedict's handling of the clerical sexual abuse. Consider your source before proclaiming your ignorance. And don't confuse this medium with Twitter. People in Cranford are far more thoughtful than that. Catholics respect the religious beliefs of others, please respect ours.

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