The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Community News Network

February 11, 2013

UPDATED: Pope Benedict XVI to resign, citing age and waning energy

(Continued)

LONDON —

Benedict is seen as the most intellectual pontiff in generations , but he was never quite able to exude the charisma that made Pope John Paul II a beloved figure among Catholics and non-Catholics alike. "He had a hard act to follow in John Paul, who was bigger than life. Benedict suffered by comparison because he was much more shy, he wasn't an actor, he preferred to write books and issue encyclicals rather than travel," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a Catholic writer and former editor of "America," a Catholic magazine.

Reese said Benedict would be remembered as the pope who "cleaned up sex abuse" because he demanded that bishops around the world institute more extensive preventative procedures, the way the U.S. church has. However, only a minuscule number of clergy worldwide have been held accountable for sexual abuse and removed from their positions, which Reese acknowledged "has been a problem. . . . However, he did a lot more than Pope John Paul did."

At various times, Benedict made statements — some say gaffes — that included what critics called slights against Protestants, Muslims and Jews.

"He will be remembered as a conservative pope," said John Pollard, an expert on the modern papacy at Cambridge University. "People will remember his conservatism, moral high ground over same-sex marriage, women priests and contraception, his involvement in dealing with the pedophile scandals."

Benedict departs amid a sense of crisis in a Vatican still reeling from a litany of scandals and at a time when questions of reform are dividing Roman Catholics worldwide.

The most recent problems facing the church involve a bevy of documents leaked by the pope's personal butler, Paolo Gabriele, to Italian journalists and alleging corruption and heated disputes within the marbled Vatican walls.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014