This is unusual. The last one was nearly comatose during the end of his contract. Why the change of tradition in an organization that is entirely, and rigidly, traditional?

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No way of knowing at this point. We may never know why he is stepping out. Perhaps the pressure on the RCC regarding pedophelia plays a part. This story is so complicated and riddled with holes. It makes for a thoroughly nauseating soap opera. That Ratzinger was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and later became pope is one twisted story. I have no more proof than anyone else of his direct complicity in a coverup but if I was him, and I had participated, I would pursue the position of pope for reasons of fear, not ambition. It would be the most effective method of controlling the narrative. The internal statute of limitations on communication regarding the issue and the threats of excommunication for breaking the directive raise a stink that will linger for decades at least.

If he is indeed worn down by age, he may have given everything he can to heal this nasty scab. A new, younger pope may be the only hope for catholicism that is increasingly isolated to the southern hemisphere and third world. Maybe energized by youth, the church can shorten the time until the laity forgets.

I personally think it has more to do with the pederasty scandal than with "ill health." Though, his health may be deteriorating to the point where he is becoming too old and frail to control the narrative of the scandal-plagued church. Or, he could have gotten a conscience and decided.....Naw. Never mind. It's not that.

I agree with Greg that whoever the new "Mr. Infallible" will be, they're going to want someone to put this grotesque black eye behind them. However, I doubt it will work all that well. Let's face it. All the world will get is a John Gotti replacing a Paul Castellano as the head of the Vatican's version of the Gambini Family.

I'm inclined to agree with you, Pat. The mess, particularly the child abuse, may have been to much for him. You have to be a cold, sharp and professional liar, to yourself and others, to work with the irrationality and insensitivity of the organization. Dishonesty can be hard, tedious and depressing work for an old person.

Another possibility involves the stolen papers. If copies were made and are now outside of the control of the organization, J. Ratzinger could be blackmailed. 

Good that you brought up the infallibility aspect. I'd always thought all actions by the pope were considered infallibile. This whole resignation thing finally got me to look it up when I saw it mentioned in an article. Apparently, even Ratzinger thought he was fallible unless he was performing Ex Cathedra ("from the chair"). Only an official action defining doctrine concerning faith and morals is considered infallible. Ratzinger never issued any such actions. I guess that means that everything he did is now fair game as fallible (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk).

Soitenly! He's a victim of soicumstnace. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

that's GambinO, but great comparison!

Ratz', old pal, may the door hit you in the butt on your way out.



Maybe he’s resigning for the same reason a lot of people with high public profiles resign:  he wants to spend more time with his family

  .... oh, wait .....

Best reply ever!

Ok, the college of cardinals has discussed the situation. We really don't need two weeks notice. Go ahead and clear out your locker and we'll make sure you receive anything that might be left behind. Thanks for everything but we'll somehow manage without you.

Of course, there's lots of speculation about who will replace the current pope.

Some things we can be sure of.

He'll be catholic.

Let's see.  What else.

He'll be male.

He'll be over 65.

He won't be married.

Beyond that?  We should have a pool.  I'm going to guess -

European.  Because even with the movement of Catholicism to the more poor Southern hemisphere, it's hard for me to think they are ready for a S. America, or African, or Fillipino.

Italian.  Because there have been 2 nonItalian popes.

A member of the current inner circle.

That's about all I can think of.  Any better guesses?

This is kind of like the old Kremlin watching.  

For your entertainment,



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