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The pope resigns
February 11, 2013 3:11 AM   Subscribe

Pope Benedict resigns

The Guardian's live blog.
posted by Dumsnill (625 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Benedict's 2005 selection on Mefi

More information on the history of papal resignations. Fun fact: the last to step down was Gregory XII, almost 600 years ago.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:17 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Good riddance that Pope totally sucked.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:17 AM on February 11, 2013 [24 favorites]


So when will his trial begin?
posted by waraw at 3:17 AM on February 11, 2013 [65 favorites]


Hopefully this won't put the Catholic Church over the salary cap.
posted by onya at 3:17 AM on February 11, 2013 [37 favorites]


*waits for the other Pontifical shoe to drop*
posted by unSane at 3:18 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Full text of resignation announcement: "After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry."
posted by ltl at 3:18 AM on February 11, 2013


That sound you heard was a thousand Twitter comedians spontaneously combusting with joy.
posted by fight or flight at 3:22 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


The announcement was "a bolt from the blue", said Angelo Sodano, a senior Vatican cardinal.

He heard it first on Metafiler as well, it seems.
posted by three blind mice at 3:24 AM on February 11, 2013 [111 favorites]


"The quality of a society, I'd say of a civilisation, is judged by how well it treats its elderly,"

The quality of a religion is judged by how well it treats its children.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:26 AM on February 11, 2013 [150 favorites]


Fun fact: the last to step down was Gregory XII, almost 600 years ago.

So this retirement has something to do with the rape scandals and Ratzinger's role in them?
posted by zardoz at 3:27 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The rulers of a gerontocracy generally don't last very long.
posted by selfnoise at 3:27 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Contenders for the succession. Time for an American Pope???
posted by Segundus at 3:27 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, basically, the Pope is smarter than ... how many Twitter users are there?

WAIT? The Pope didn't just quit Twitter? This isn't a stuny headline?
That guess I shouldn't gte my news from twitter.
posted by Mezentian at 3:29 AM on February 11, 2013


Warren Ellis: Pope Benedict is simply resigning his name, and will be reinstated as Pope Strangelove.
posted by muckster at 3:30 AM on February 11, 2013 [13 favorites]


Now if only Senator Palpatine had resigned, maybe the Universe would be a far, far better place.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 3:30 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


We would have ended up with Pope Jar Jar.
posted by Mezentian at 3:34 AM on February 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


If conspiring to subvert justice in the cases of the sexual abuse and ruination of the lives of thousands of innocents wasn't enough to precipitate his departure, God only knows what this is all about.
posted by psmealey at 3:34 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


BBC News is running a loop of Benedict footage which includes two different shots of him in a sombrero, and many, many of him looking terribly bored and/or apathetic.

I'm not sure what that means, but it seems appropriate somehow.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:35 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


I didn't actually know that a pope could resign; I thought it was a theological point that once in, always in.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:37 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


missed out on the "Ex-Benedict" headline.
posted by empath at 3:37 AM on February 11, 2013 [79 favorites]


Agreed... is he even allowed to resign??
posted by Yowser at 3:39 AM on February 11, 2013


I didn't actually know that a pope could resign; I thought it was a theological point that once in, always in

Me too. When I saw this headline I thought the journalists had mistakenly reported an Onion article as real news.
posted by Dumsnill at 3:39 AM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


Isn't that like getting a divorce?
posted by Brocktoon at 3:39 AM on February 11, 2013 [14 favorites]


Not did I.
But I'm not Catholic.
And it hasn't happened since 1415, so many there is an out for being incapacitated.

(Also: First In With: Hitler Youth, Birth Control, Gay Marriage... Hopey Changey).
posted by Mezentian at 3:39 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Good for him, this is much better than the long lingering absence of leadership that was the end of JP-II.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:40 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


He really was a crap pope.
posted by unSane at 3:41 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


ITYM JP-XXIII
posted by Mezentian at 3:41 AM on February 11, 2013


Wait.... why did I think he was John Paul 23rd?

1. X-Men continuity.
2. Beatles conspiracy
3. Lizard People.

Honestly, for a moment there my brain was convinced the last pope was the 23rd of his name.
My bad.
posted by Mezentian at 3:43 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd always wondered if I'd see a pope in my lifetime that would lift the ban on women serving in the ministry. But as I've gotten older, I have concluded that women have too much damn sense to want to participate in that clusterfuck.
posted by psmealey at 3:43 AM on February 11, 2013 [13 favorites]


Finally the Vatican can get back to the real business of selling all those John Paul fridge magnets they've got stocked up.
posted by Elmore at 3:43 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


him looking terribly bored and/or apathetic.

Wow, this proves the pope is a true catholic then, amirite?
posted by psmealey at 3:44 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


He needs the time off to reprise his role as Palpatine in the J.J. Abrams Star Wars movies.
posted by briank at 3:45 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


I guess you could say
*takes off sunglasses*
The Pope's on the ropes.
posted by Mezentian at 3:46 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Full text of Pope's declaration:
Dear Brothers,
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

BENEDICTUS PP XVI
There have only ever been two ways out of the Papacy, death or resignation, and in this new age of slow deaths and quick news it really makes a lot of sense that we should see resignations happening a lot more often. This is the classy way out and good news.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:47 AM on February 11, 2013 [23 favorites]


I didn't actually know that a pope could resign; I thought it was a theological point that once in, always in

Guardian: "The best known example involved Pope Celestine V in 1294. After only five months as the Bishop of Rome, he issued a solemn decree declaring it possible that a pope can resign and then promptly did so. He then lived the rest of his days as a hermit and was later canonised."

It certainly is beneficial to be able to make up the rules on the fly...
posted by ltl at 3:47 AM on February 11, 2013 [20 favorites]


Hey, you can make good money betting on who will be his successor:


Bookmakers Paddy Power have drawn up a list of contenders to replace Benedict. According to them the favourite is Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana (9/4), with Cardinal Marc Ouellet next at 5/2 and Francis Arinze at 7/2. Here is their full list:

9/4 Cardinal Peter Turkson

5/2 Cardinal Marc Ouellet

7/2 Cardinal Francis Arinze

7/1 Archbishop Angelo Scola

10/1 Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga

12/1 Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone

14/1 Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco

16/1 Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio

20/1 Cardinal Leonardo Sandri

25/1 Cardinal Raymond Burke

25/1 Cardinal Cladio Hummes

25/1 Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi

25/1 Cardinal Christoph von Schonborn

33/1 Cardinal Wilfrid Napier

33/1 Cardinal William Levada

33/1 Cardinal Camillo Ruini

33/1 Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera

33/1 Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa

33/1 Cardinal Renato Martino

33/1 Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith

33/1 Archbishop Piero Marini

33/1 Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera

33/1 Cardinal Keith O’Brien
posted by Dumsnill at 3:49 AM on February 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


Worst. Pope. Ever.

PAPAL FAIL
posted by trip and a half at 3:52 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seems odd to pick the middle of Lent. Is this so the next guy can kick off his papacy with Easter?
posted by gubo at 3:52 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wants to spend more time with his family.
posted by R. Mutt at 3:53 AM on February 11, 2013 [54 favorites]


If this retirement is NOT specifically for the purpose of steering the selection for his replacement, I'll eat my hat, mitre and all. He spent a long time behind the throne of his predecessor, and wielded increasing power as JP II's health waned. He wants to ensure his influence over the future direction of the Church as well.
posted by ardgedee at 3:53 AM on February 11, 2013 [26 favorites]


Now who's gona be so infallible playing shuffleboard in Boca, huh?

Good riddance is right. Next pope should be African, as it's the only place the church is growing.

Or you know, shut the whole operation down and go away maybe?
posted by spitbull at 3:54 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


He's just jealous of Beatrix. Copy-cat.
posted by trip and a half at 3:56 AM on February 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'm pretty sure it will be Beyonce.
posted by unSane at 4:00 AM on February 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


On topics Biblical: The Autocorrected Bible. From Cotex.
posted by Mezentian at 4:00 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Mezentian: "Wait.... why did I think he was John Paul 23rd? Honestly, for a moment there my brain was convinced the last pope was the 23rd of his name. My bad."

It's an easy mistake to make. You were thinking of the Pope before John Paul II - he was Pope John XXIII.
posted by koeselitz at 4:01 AM on February 11, 2013


According to them the favourite is Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana (9/4)

Oh man, I'd love the see the shit storm that develops after they put up a black pope.
posted by empath at 4:02 AM on February 11, 2013 [38 favorites]


Surely this means the end of all child rape and coverups in the Roman Catholic Church.
posted by psmealey at 4:02 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


(Okay, no - not right before - I was wrong. Several popes before, anyway. 1958-1963. Confusing.)
posted by koeselitz at 4:03 AM on February 11, 2013


Wait? There was a pope before JP2?
That guy was, like, a million seven thousand years old.

I guess that is a more rational answer than lizard people. It does seem odd, since he died before I was born.
posted by Mezentian at 4:04 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


According to St Malachy's prophecies, the next one - who is said to reign during "the extreme persecution of the Church" - is gonna be the last one, after which Rome will be destroyed. Good times!
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 4:04 AM on February 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


I guess that is a more rational answer than lizard people.

...yes.
posted by Lizard People at 4:06 AM on February 11, 2013 [43 favorites]


Man, where I work, I'm expected to give a months notice, if not two.

Then again, I'm sure some hackish plot twist in an upcoming Dan Brown airport paperweight will involve a pope stepping down, then upon returning to his chambers after the deinvestiting, he'll be assassinated by some albino from a random sect that believes the pope cannot simply give up the office..

Wait. Forget I said anything. I, uh, need to, uh, do some typing. Be back in a bit.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:07 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Empirically a palpable fraud. Darth Pope up next?
posted by panaceanot at 4:08 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


So does he get a pension, security detail, the whole nine? Or does he basically become like a regular old man?
posted by FJT at 4:08 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was raised Catholic, and wish the Holy Father well.
posted by timsteil at 4:10 AM on February 11, 2013 [20 favorites]


Those interested in doomsaying (and disappointed that neither the Harold Campong end times nor the Mayan Calendar thing panned out) will surely now turn to St Malachy's Prophecy of the Popes, which was a list of short Latin phrases, each one nominally being a pithy poetic description of a pope from when Malachy wrote it in the twelfth century (starting with Celestine II and concluding with the destruction of Rome and, IIRC, the Church). Anyway: the list runs for 112 popes, of which Benedict (De Gloria Olivae) is the 111th. Petrus Romanus is the next and putatively final pope.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:10 AM on February 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


So does he get a pension, security detail, the whole nine?

He's the absolute ruler. It's really up to him, especially given that it's not like the successor is going to take it away.
posted by jaduncan at 4:12 AM on February 11, 2013


Do famous unexpected resignations also come in threes? Your turn, Justices Scalia and Thomas.
posted by shortfuse at 4:12 AM on February 11, 2013 [31 favorites]


Any source for the statement in the original Latin? Coming up empty on Google.
posted by Locative at 4:13 AM on February 11, 2013


Guardian: "The best known example involved Pope Celestine V in 1294. After only five months as the Bishop of Rome, he issued a solemn decree declaring it possible that a pope can resign and then promptly did so. He then lived the rest of his days as a hermit and was later canonised."

Pope Celestine V is actually kind of a sad story. The conclave had been dragging on for, like, months, and the cardinals kept getting these messages from nut-ball people that they should appoint this hermit up in the mountains to be Pope because they thought he was the holiest man alive or something. And finally, one of the cardinals got another one of those messages and basically suggested doing that as a way to break the logjam - and the other cardinals all basically said, "fuck it, sure." So they dragged this hermit out of his cell and made him Pope. Celestine never, ever really wanted this, but hung in there as long as he could before resigning and going back to his cell.

But he was such a beloved figure that a whole huge number of Catholics refused to accept his retirement, and refused to acknowledge the next guy that the Vatican put up after him. And it was a whole thing for a while, where the former Celestine was trying to flee across Italy and France trying to get away from his followers and the Vatican was all, "wait, guys, THIS is the Pope here, what are you doing?" Finally the Vatican arrested Celestine and imprisoned him to calm everyone down; Celestine came peacefully. I think his comment was something like, "all I really ever wanted was a cell and some peace, and you're giving me one, so thank you."

Some of the LolCatholics in here would have liked Celestine. He was opposed to the moneygrubbers among the medieval church leadership and that's why he didn't want to be Pope.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:14 AM on February 11, 2013 [193 favorites]


Anyway: the list runs for 112 popes, of which Benedict (De Gloria Olivae) is the 111th. Petrus Romanus is the next and putatively final pope.

Maybe he was compiling a list of all the Earthly Popes. I for one, welcome our new Crocodilian line of Space Popes.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:14 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Any truth to the rumor that he's gunning for a spot on FoxNews? You figure if Sarah Palin could get the job as a quitter, his quitting prestige is much greater.
posted by psmealey at 4:16 AM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


As you may know by now, Joe Ratzinger is no longer employed with us. We would like to thank Joe for all he did as head of the Benedict XVI team, and we wish him well in his future endeavors.

Which reminds me: Conclave 2013 is almost upon us! Contact your local admins for travel details. See you in Rome!
posted by pracowity at 4:17 AM on February 11, 2013 [36 favorites]


He could retire to Naples and go around resolving traffic jams. Fake or not.
posted by shortfuse at 4:19 AM on February 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


WIR SIND KEIN PAPST MEHR
posted by runincircles at 4:21 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


WIR SIND KEIN PAPST MEHR

We were never the Pope. Or at least I wasn't.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:22 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


As you may know by now, Joe Ratzinger is no longer employed with us. We would like to thank Joe for all he did as head of the Benedict XVI team, and we wish him well in his future endeavors.

Any workplace scuttlebutt that he resigned by stating "Fuck you, fuck you, you're cool, I'm out" is to be reported as heresy to the nearest Cardinal.

Joe, we still need a forwarding address for the shoes.
posted by jaduncan at 4:22 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm not concerned about him resigning, I'm worried about the impact this will have on his twitter account?!?!
posted by Fizz at 4:26 AM on February 11, 2013


Last monday HBO featured a documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God. A documentary that highlighted his role in the child sex abuse problem that plagues many institutions including his Catholic church. Radio West's Doug Fabrizio had this interview with the director Alex Gibney.
posted by Kale Slayer at 4:29 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


So, did Pope Benedict really write that or did someone write it for him? (In other words, is he going senile or something, and that is why he is resigning?)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:29 AM on February 11, 2013


We were in Rome doing the tourist thing last year, and 90% of the papal trinkets sold as souvernirs carried the image of JPII. And I don't think it's because the ones with the current pope on were all sold out...
posted by Harald74 at 4:29 AM on February 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


FT: DRUNK HULK
THAT AWKWARD MOMENT WHEN DRUNK HULK BEAT CNN TO NEWS! AGAIN!

Crazy goddamned world
posted by Sailormom at 4:30 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Being senile didn't stop the last pope?
posted by The River Ivel at 4:30 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


It really is about 8,000 kinds of awesome to be able to structure your own severance agreement, and not have it be subject to board approval. Well played, sir, well played.
posted by psmealey at 4:30 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


We were in Rome doing the tourist thing last year, and 90% of the papal trinkets sold as souvernirs carried the image of JPII. And I don't think it's because the ones with the current pope on were all sold out...

It was also a fairly recent beatification. NOW BUY THE POSTER IN FULL BEAUTIFIED!!!
posted by jaduncan at 4:32 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, here is that Malachy thing, never heard of it before.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:33 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


This was the first thing I heard when I turned on NPR this morning, and I look forward to the same few factoids being repeated in broadcasts and small talk for the next three weeks:

"He's 85!"

"John Paul II!"

"600 years!"

"A billion Catholics!"

Worst bingo card ever.
posted by psoas at 4:33 AM on February 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


But wasn't he hired by God or something? Isn't that how popes work?
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 4:35 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Everything that pops into my mind about this is snarky - I don't know if it's the lack of coffee or what. So I'll leave ol' Joe alone.

Mostly, I'm mortified that current contender #2 is Canadian. We already have Chris Hadfield storming heaven, guitar and all; he's doing a fine job at it too. It would be selfish of us to hog the whole celestial sphere.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 4:35 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm hoping hard for a black pope -- please make him very large and dark and African, oh three-part lord! -- if only so I can chuckle at pictures of racists forcing themselves to kiss his hand.
posted by pracowity at 4:42 AM on February 11, 2013 [15 favorites]


All snark and giggle aside, I wonder who has what on him and how bad is it to force him to resign?
posted by signal at 4:46 AM on February 11, 2013 [16 favorites]


Man there have been some wacky popes. Benedict IX was ~18, allegedly gay, given the papacy by his father and was pope three times. I want to see a straight-to-DVD movie about this guy.

Seriously though when the current Benedict was elected there was quite a bit of talk about him being elected specifically because of his age. It wouldn't surprise me if there were a gentlecardinal's agreement about really not hanging around too long.
posted by Skorgu at 4:48 AM on February 11, 2013 [14 favorites]


He really was a crap pope.

Yeah, he pretty much shit the woods.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:49 AM on February 11, 2013 [22 favorites]


Does this mean that on March 1st he's fallible again?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:49 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, here is that Malachy thing

I honestly thought it was Hellboy's amulet.
posted by Segundus at 4:49 AM on February 11, 2013


So, I rolled out of bed a little while ago and wandered out to the kitchen to get my coffee going. I flipped on NPR and here was this interview going on with some Italian correspondent, and they're talking about Benedict in this odd leap-frog of past-tense/present-tense references, and I'm getting more and more confused. Did he suddenly die? No, wait, sounds like he's alive, but they're talking about the next Pope. WTF is going on???

It wasn't until the end of the interview that they said Benedict had resigned. Wait...resigned???? The bestest job-for-life and he resigned???? I personally didn't like him as Pope, but...resigned????

I didn't even know you could resign the Papacy. But, then again, you're the fucking Pope, so I guess you can do what you want.

Perhaps he just wants to spend more time with his family...
posted by Thorzdad at 4:49 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


You guys, maybe he finally met that special lady and he's in love!
posted by emjaybee at 4:49 AM on February 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


Or that special gentleman.
posted by Skorgu at 4:51 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


To answer myself: found the Latin text of the resignation here: http://www.ilmessaggero.it/primopiano/vaticano/dimissioni_papa_documento_ufficiale_dichiarazione_concistoro/notizie/250821.shtml
posted by Locative at 4:51 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


So I just want to be reassure everyone about this, it's Pope Benedict that's resigning and NOT Benedict Cumberbatch!?!
posted by Fizz at 4:51 AM on February 11, 2013 [19 favorites]


For all the seriousness given to the position it was only until relatively recently that the title of Pope wasn't traded amongst French/Italian nobility like a baseball card.
posted by PenDevil at 4:51 AM on February 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


Restore a bit of dignity. Bring back a Borgia I say.
posted by mattoxic at 4:52 AM on February 11, 2013 [13 favorites]


Is he still Catholic?
posted by miyabo at 4:53 AM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


Also: think about it this way, the Pope is kind of like James Bond. Occasionally you have to reboot the series, the gadgets & special effects get old
posted by Fizz at 4:53 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


"All snark and giggle aside, I wonder who has what on him and how bad is it to force him to resign?"

The dude is old, he has hanging over him what mortality has on us all.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:54 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sorry, Benedict. You cannot resign. You must carry your papacy to full term.
posted by Malor at 4:54 AM on February 11, 2013 [169 favorites]


Spitbull, "Or you know, shut the whole operation down and go away maybe?"

Is Michael "I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders" Dell Catholic?

"Yo, Cardinal-dudes, you're gettin' a Dell!"
posted by Gotanda at 4:55 AM on February 11, 2013


Sorry, Benedict. You cannot resign. You must carry your papacy to full term.

Or death, of course.
posted by jaduncan at 4:55 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Since he already seems to be following the Palin playbook, I wonder if Benedict has got a gig lined up on Fox News?
posted by Flashman at 4:59 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


found the Latin text of the resignation here

By Hercules, questo articolo non è più disponibile.
posted by psmealey at 4:59 AM on February 11, 2013


Wow. That's ... remarkable. I was raised Catholic, so even though I'm an atheist now, I'm pretty boggled by this turn of events.

Also: There will not be an American pope elected this time around. If nothing else, there's too much association with the whole "letting pedophiles rape kids" scandal around here.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:00 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Listening to that NPR interview I mentioned, it sounds like Benedict was big on promoting Italians to Cardinal, so odds are that the next Pope may well be Italian.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:03 AM on February 11, 2013


Pope "Bunga Bunga" Berlusconi
posted by panaceanot at 5:05 AM on February 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


There should be a reality show to determine the next Pope. Catholicism's Next Top Pontiff? Project Altar?
posted by Rock Steady at 5:07 AM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


Um, wow.
The next pope could be French Canadian. As someone who has been fairly pleased with the (perceived?) decline of Catholicism in Quebec, I find this disturbing.
posted by third word on a random page at 5:07 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow. The LOLCatholics so far in this thread really is the worst of Metafilter.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 5:07 AM on February 11, 2013 [42 favorites]


Also: think about it this way, the Pope is kind of like James Bond. Occasionally you have to reboot the series, the gadgets & special effects get old

Stupid Romulan miners! They bring us nothing but trouble and lensflares.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:07 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Much snark about Benedict, I see.

But, as a matter of fact, he hasn't been such a bad pope. Not that I'm somehow going to go back to the arms of the Church, which rarely fails to disappoint me these days, but I must point out that he did a lot more to clean up the place than his predecessor, for example with respect to the Legionnaires of Christ. And his writings are quite worthwhile, if you're interested in that sort of thing. However, like most true intellectuals (and he certainly is one), he's pretty useless when it comes to PR. And, yes, he's old.

On the other hand, when most of what his detractors can come up with is that he's German, Catholic, and looks like Emperor Palpatine, one also has to answer that there's little he could have done about any one of these faults...
posted by Skeptic at 5:08 AM on February 11, 2013 [13 favorites]


Italian Pope? Roger that.

The chances of an African Pope are as likely as the chances of Paul Krugman to be appointed chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.
posted by rdone at 5:08 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sure, you're all riding Ratzinger now, but mark my words: after four or five years away, when you're still living with his legacy, someone will hack his phone and publish his paintings of himself in the bathtub, and you guys are going to be like "let this sad old man alone!"
posted by sy at 5:09 AM on February 11, 2013 [22 favorites]


when most of what his detractors can come up with is that he's German, Catholic, and looks like Emperor Palpatine

The fact that he was the man in charge of investigating and prosecuting instances of child rape while Cardinal Ratzinger appears to have escaped your notice, then? Or was that slate wiped clean once he ascended to the Papacy?
posted by psmealey at 5:11 AM on February 11, 2013 [30 favorites]


So how is he doing to earn a living now he's quit his job?

Who will give him money for old pope?
posted by randomination at 5:11 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


But, as a matter of fact, he hasn't been such a bad pope. Not that I'm somehow going to go back to the arms of the Church, which rarely fails to disappoint me these days, but I must point out that he did a lot more to clean up the place than his predecessor, for example with respect to the Legionnaires of Christ.

What he did with child abuse policing before he attained the Papacy is what has harmed him.
posted by jaduncan at 5:12 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


...and on making the comment it appears I am not alone in thinking so.
posted by jaduncan at 5:13 AM on February 11, 2013


Maybe they think he is so infirm he won't be able to tap three times on the next blokes head, so best do it while he is able.
posted by marienbad at 5:13 AM on February 11, 2013


Some say the Pope just wanted to go out while he was at the top of Popin'. The Pope, meanwhile, says he wants to see if he can swing that bat in the Majors. But secretly, there are whispers that the Pope owes money to some unsavory characters, and that the Pope will attempt a return to Popin' in a year or two.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:13 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pope tells kids to get off his lawn.
posted by Sailormom at 5:13 AM on February 11, 2013


Or maybe it has something to do with the Magdalene Laundries scandal erupting into full bloom? If complicity in child rape isn't enough, perhaps slavery will do it.
posted by 1adam12 at 5:15 AM on February 11, 2013 [14 favorites]


To get serious and less hateful for a moment, the idea of an African pope in the line up has come up long before this, as yes, that is the one region where the denomination is still growing. In the context of, "And when this happens, American Catholics will finally revolt." Not because of racism (or at least, not among the middle class/reasonably progressive/elite American Catholics under discussion), but because African Catholicism is still very much about the rules and rigidity and social conservatism that have alienated so many here in edicts from Rome (including entire orders of nuns).
posted by availablelight at 5:15 AM on February 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


Seriously. LOLCatholics, my ass. No one is LOL'ing at Catholics here, just at one in particular.
posted by psmealey at 5:16 AM on February 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


"The LOLCatholics"

He was German. They have a word for it: schadenfreude
posted by panaceanot at 5:16 AM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


Sounds like the next pope might be French or from one of the French former colonies:

"la République salue le pape qui prend cette décision"

François Hollande

Maybe my French isn't too good, but doesn't that sound as if France has been putting some pressure on the Vatican to make changes? (I understand the literal, formal meaning of the sentence, but pragmatically? Maybe I'm moving into tin foil hat territory here, but mark my words: the next Pope will be Nicolas Sarkozy.)
posted by Dumsnill at 5:18 AM on February 11, 2013


Hollande has been specifically saying that he has no comment in the decision, except that it is "respectable".
posted by the cydonian at 5:21 AM on February 11, 2013


A new pope just in time for Easter - what a meaningful farewell present from Pope Benedict XVI. :)
posted by ruelle at 5:22 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


There will not be an American pope elected this time around. If nothing else, there's too much association with the whole "letting pedophiles rape kids" scandal around here.

Is it not associated with that everywhere? I mean, except for Africa, where they just prefer to say some not-good words when people want to make being gay illegal.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:22 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


"The LOLCatholics"

Some of us use humor to disguise our hatred for church leaders who use their Christmas message to denounce gays, or who protect those who rape and victimize small children.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:23 AM on February 11, 2013 [90 favorites]


As Harald74 said: We were in Rome doing the tourist thing last year, and 90% of the papal trinkets sold as souvernirs carried the image of JPII. And I don't think it's because the ones with the current pope on were all sold out...

Totally agree. I was there in September and it was hard to find Benedict stuff among all the JPII stuff. He's not been a very popular pope, from what I can gather. My grandmother, a fairly religious Catholic francophone woman, would have been extremely disappointed if I'd come back from my trip with anything for her with Benedict XVI trinkets versus the JPII stuff I brought home. I think she kind of just wants to ignore the fact that he was ever elected pope. Can't wait to chat with her about this today -- I think she'll be pretty psyched, particularly if the new pope is indeed the French-Canadian guy. (We're in Montreal.)

Dumsnill: I think, and this is just my opinion, that France is just trying to be polite. I would imagine many reactions would be along the lines of "well, uh, good for him, for recognizing he can no longer carry out the duties of the office...?" and that phrase seems to me that France just made that reaction sound more polite.
posted by juliebug at 5:23 AM on February 11, 2013


There should be a reality show to determine the next Pope. Catholicism's Next Top Pontiff? Project Altar?

Pope Idol.
posted by Iteki at 5:24 AM on February 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


There should be a reality show to determine the next Pope. Catholicism's Next Top Pontiff? Project Altar?

So You Think You're Infallible?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:24 AM on February 11, 2013 [64 favorites]


I was making a little joke I was
posted by Dumsnill at 5:26 AM on February 11, 2013


Well, A New Pope will come!
posted by bdz at 5:26 AM on February 11, 2013


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: So You Think You're Infallible?

I would also have accepted "So You Think You Can Bless?"
posted by Rock Steady at 5:27 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


CTRL-F "Pope Bene-Quit"?

No results.

God, it's like I don't even know you folks anymore.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 5:27 AM on February 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


Father Guido Sarducci is still around, available and made an appearance on the Colbert Report not long back.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:29 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Worst. Pope. Ever.

A pretty basic European history course would disprove this quickly.
posted by spaltavian at 5:29 AM on February 11, 2013 [101 favorites]


I've never understood the love of JPII over Benedict XVI. If anything, it was JPII who inserted enough conservative cardinals into the college of cardinals to ensure the election of a conservative pope upon his own demise. As nasty as Vatican politics are, how were they different under JPII? Child abuse in the church goes much further back than either Ratzinger or Wojtyła. JPII may well have been a better tele-evangelist (Benedict XVI can look down right scary), but still.

And worst pope ever? Seriously? Get thee to thine history books, and look up the Borgias, or Pope Alexander VI. Or any crusading pope, or counter-reformation pope.

As a vicious atheist, I don't really have a bone in this battle, but the lack of history here annoys me. We're usually better than that.
posted by bouvin at 5:29 AM on February 11, 2013 [36 favorites]


There should be a reality show to determine the next Pope. Catholicism's Next Top Pontiff? Project Altar?

So You Think You're Infallible?

I'm A Celibate, Get Me Out Of Here?
posted by jonnyploy at 5:29 AM on February 11, 2013 [22 favorites]


The fact that he was the man in charge of investigating and prosecuting instances of child rape while Cardinal Ratzinger appears to have escaped your notice, then?

I said that he wasn't a bad pope. I didn't say that he wasn't a terrible Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a job which, in many ways, was a lot harder than that of pope. In that job, and without much support of the then extant pope, he had to battle a Curia which was notoriously recalcitrant towards him even after he became pope himself. And, quite frankly, while he may have been the right person to arbitrate theological disputes, one could have hardly sought a more unsuitable person to play the role of Elliott Ness than the bookish Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. The basic organisational mistake was to put the CDF in charge of investigating these charges. And that wasn't Ratzinger's error.
posted by Skeptic at 5:30 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Some of us use humor to disguise our hatred for church leaders"

Its pretty thin
posted by Blasdelb at 5:30 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


To get serious and less hateful for a moment, the idea of an African pope in the line up has come up long before this, as yes, that is the one region where the denomination is still growing. In the context of, "And when this happens, American Catholics will finally revolt." Not because of racism (or at least, not among the middle class/reasonably progressive/elite American Catholics under discussion), but because African Catholicism is still very much about the rules and rigidity and social conservatism that have alienated so many here in edicts from Rome (including entire orders of nuns).

The last time they were selecting a Pope, I was talking about it with my former Catholic, Episcopal priest mother-in-law who is quite liberal and very accepting of Africans personally (she used to run a church with a large Nigerian population). When the prospect of an African pope came up, she announced:

"Lord, save us from the Africans!"

for basically the reason you mentioned.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:30 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wow. The LOLCatholics so far in this thread really is the worst of Metafilter.

Schadenfreude indeed. Sorry, I was *raised* Catholic, served as an altar boy, and read Latin. I get to LOL as much as I want. The Catholic Church has brought this shame and mockery upon itself through egregious conduct and decidedly immoral leadership over decades (we'll leave centuries out of it). Ratzinger covered for pedophile priests as Bishop, and they made him Pope, where he continued the coverup and evasion of responsibility.

When Ireland has grown sick of the RC church, it's open season. You can't cry bigotry until you fix the church so it isn't such a shameful institution.
posted by spitbull at 5:32 AM on February 11, 2013 [64 favorites]


I'm hoping hard for a black pope -- please make him very large and dark and African

You might get your wise. The church is growing quickly in the developing world, including Africa, and the they tend to be much more "conservative" (ie, anti-enlightenment) than the existing batch of western cardinals.
posted by shothotbot at 5:33 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


And worst pope ever? Seriously? Get thee to thine history books, and look up the Borgias, or Pope Alexander VI.

My own nominee is Pius IX, without any doubt. He may have lacked the criminal panache of the Borgias, but his legacy, including the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and Papal Infallibility, his stubborn ultraconservatism, and his deep rancour towards the Enlightment have probably done the most to leave the Catholic Church in its current parlous state.
posted by Skeptic at 5:34 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Wow. The LOLCatholics so far in this thread really is the worst of Metafilter.

Sensing a bit of a martyr complex here.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:36 AM on February 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


In other news: Cardinals retire brown shirt #265.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:37 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


For the next few weeks my rhetorical 'yes' answer to everything will be, "Does the pope quit in the woods?"
posted by Freon at 5:39 AM on February 11, 2013 [20 favorites]


You might get your wise. The church is growing quickly in the developing world, including Africa, and the they tend to be much more "conservative" (ie, anti-enlightenment) than the existing batch of western cardinals.

Which could hasten the decline of the Catholic Church in the west, or even set off a new schism.
posted by acb at 5:39 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


If they really want to revive the spirit of the Catholic faith among the masses, they should go all Hunger Games in choosing the next pope and assume that God will most protect the winner.

It would also help if the new pope looked a little less like a Sith lord and a little more like Harrison Ford.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 5:41 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Which could hasten the decline of the Catholic Church in the west,

Which sounds like a good thing, until you relaize the main benefactor would be millenarian evangelism.
posted by spaltavian at 5:41 AM on February 11, 2013 [14 favorites]


(....the traditional) 9 days of mourning will not be held, but a conclave of Cardinals will meet...

A conclave of Cardinals is not as cool as that murmmuring of Starlings.

Full stop
posted by mule98J at 5:42 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow. The LOLCatholics so far in this thread really is the worst of Metafilter.

Sensing a bit of a martyr complex here.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:36 AM on February 11 [+] [!]

In other news: Cardinals retire brown shirt #265.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:37 AM on February 11 [+] [!]


I love how the defense of LOLCatholcism is immediately followed by a Nazi crack.
(No love for Benedict, just found this amusing and ever so MetaFilter.)
posted by charred husk at 5:42 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


[This is actually pretty specific news that we can maybe address without dragging the thread into another repeat anti-Christian, anti-Catholic fight, yet again again again. Also, I get that people apparently really want to yuk it up, but it would nice if there was a little bandwidth left for those who'd actually like to discuss the news.]
posted by taz at 5:43 AM on February 11, 2013 [17 favorites]


"In other news: Cardinals retire brown shirt #265."

Only in Catholic threads would otherwise reasonable mefites not only blame a child soldier for their forced conscription but make fun of them for it.
posted by Blasdelb at 5:45 AM on February 11, 2013 [19 favorites]


Taz, on lack of preview, I admire your optimism
posted by Blasdelb at 5:47 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm crossing my fingers for Pope Lando II. It works every time!
posted by Strange Interlude at 5:47 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow. The LOLCatholics so far in this thread really is the worst of Metafilter.

I haven't seen any LOLCatholics. I've seen LOLMegaPowerfulCorruptInstitution.
posted by DU at 5:49 AM on February 11, 2013 [18 favorites]


What does the Pope do?
posted by coolxcool=rad at 5:50 AM on February 11, 2013


Where is Andrew Sullivian?
posted by shothotbot at 5:50 AM on February 11, 2013


As a vicious atheist, I don't really have a bone in this battle, but the lack of history here annoys me. We're usually better than that.

Not when it comes to religion. Trust me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:50 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


"What does the Pope do?"

Maybe start with the wiki page?

The Catholic Encyclopedia is also a good and really well curated resource.
posted by Blasdelb at 5:53 AM on February 11, 2013


I've been searching for an image of Pope Gregory's remarks, the one with a resigned Silda Spitzer looking on, and can't find it. Yet.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 5:53 AM on February 11, 2013


He was really a disaster. It's unfair that he's had to answer for the abuse scandals while JPII is still loved, but the church needed someone more vigorous. I'm hoping that the next one is from one of the counties hit hard by the scandals, such as the US or Australia. He'll never be picked, but I'd vote for Dolan.
posted by gsteff at 5:54 AM on February 11, 2013


Dolan is a right wing creep.

He will fit right in in Rome.
posted by spitbull at 5:56 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow. The LOLCatholics so far in this thread really is the worst of Metafilter.

After 12 years in Catholic school, 5 years as an altar boy and 1 year in Catholic aligned boy scout troop, I have no problem laughing at the Catholic Church.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:59 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I really really don't want Dolan as the pope.
posted by drezdn at 6:00 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Relevant: Can the Pope Retire?
posted by Cash4Lead at 6:00 AM on February 11, 2013


I smell Pauly Shore comeback vehicle.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 6:01 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


He was tired. Tired of being admired. Tired of love uninspired. Let's face it, he's tired!
posted by gimonca at 6:01 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Only in Catholic threads would otherwise reasonable mefites not only blame a child soldier for their forced conscription but make fun of them for it.

It's an indelicate comment, for sure, but I consider a man who is the moral voice of a global religion and who claims a special connection with god to have resisted conscription better at some point. He was still conscripted at 18 when the war ended. Other, lesser men, had more moral clarity at a younger age to find a way to resist. Many others died for their beliefs.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:01 AM on February 11, 2013 [33 favorites]


Wow. The LOLBothans so far in this thread.
posted by panaceanot at 6:06 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Hitler youth thing is a shitty dig, he was a kid.

Utterly failing to protect children, investigate their abusers properly, and in many cases apparently taking action to ensure that the abusers are protected and relocated means he's a fucking asshole that should be in a court of law, not ruling with God's Authority.

This is today's theme song for me.

"The fact remains if you protect a single kiddy fucker, then pope or prince or plumber you're a fucking motherfucker."
posted by lazaruslong at 6:08 AM on February 11, 2013 [13 favorites]


Time to pitch my 80s style syndicated action tv show.... In order to appeal to a younger demographic, the Catholic church picks a 20 something Californian surfer priest as the next pope in SURF POPE. Together with his sidekick Dick Cheney (imagine Dick Cheney in a Robin costume) they fight crime that can be solved by surfing into it. SURF POPE Feed the Rush. Coming March 2013 on the WB.
posted by drezdn at 6:08 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Count Weirdly puts his hat into the ring.
posted by drezdn at 6:11 AM on February 11, 2013


Time to pitch my 80s style syndicated action tv show.... In order to appeal to a younger demographic, the Catholic church picks a 20 something Californian surfer priest as the next pope in SURF POPE.

Kai of Dogtown?
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:11 AM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


> I haven't seen any LOLCatholics. I've seen LOLMegaPowerfulCorruptInstitution.

I've seen threads go much worse than this one is, but saying "I'm not making fun of people, I'm making fun of their beliefs and the organization they believe in" is really not in the spirit of the request. It's the web forum equivalent of being six years old and riding in the back seat of the car and coming up with things to do that your parents haven't explicitly forbidden yet.
posted by ardgedee at 6:13 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think there's more to this story. People of Benedictus XVI's conviction don't just give up after fighting so hard for an entire life. Maybe there's a terminal sickness involved that has made it prudent to step down and pave the way for a strong replacement?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:13 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've seen threads go much worse than this one is, but saying "I'm not making fun of people, I'm making fun of their beliefs and the organization they believe in" is really not in the spirit of the request.

I am 100% in favor of people making fun of beliefs and organizations, including any that I am a member of. What a shitty place that would be, if people could not do so.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:16 AM on February 11, 2013 [30 favorites]


fun of their beliefs and the organization they believe in

If harshly criticizing an institution, and a powerful figure in that institution is tantamount to ridiculing peoples' faith, this inspires my inner Calvinist. What is it that you are worshipping? The Almighty, or the construct of idols on earth?
posted by psmealey at 6:16 AM on February 11, 2013 [18 favorites]


People of Benedictus XVI's conviction don't just give up after fighting so hard for an entire life. Maybe there's a terminal sickness involved that has made it prudent to step down and pave the way for a strong replacement?

I'm leaning towards he knows he doesn't have that much time left (could be years, could be months) and wants to try to steer the selection of the next pope.
posted by drezdn at 6:17 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


I didn't expect this.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:18 AM on February 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


I would not be surprised to hear, after a new Pope takes over, that there is some pretty damaging documentation, far more than the inconclusive bits and pieces now floating out there, that Ratzinger acted to specifically sweep priest child abuse under the rug during his long tenure as Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. And therefore that while age and health may have played a role, the real reason for his resignation is the damage such a revelation would do to the church if it came out while he was still serving as Pope and the resignation became a forced one.
posted by beagle at 6:19 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Um, yeah, Your Holiness?"
"WHAT IS IT?"
"It's about your job approval ratings, sir..."
"GOD DOES NOT RECOGNIZE SUCH -"
"Yeah, about that. Turns out higher courts do, though, Your Grace."
"I BOW TO NO ONE!"
"Okay, they said you might mention that. We also have this list of complaints coming in from the children and their families?"
"....."
"Right. Tell you what - we'll handle the press, you make a nice comment about your age, and we'll make sure you have references from your time here."
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:19 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


He fell in love with Wallis Simpson. It happens.
posted by moammargaret at 6:21 AM on February 11, 2013 [18 favorites]


Maybe there's a terminal sickness involved that has made it prudent to step down and pave the way for a strong replacement?

What I heard on NPR this morning is that he's had a couple of strokes, and that's played a part in his decision.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:21 AM on February 11, 2013


There you go
Fratres carissimi

Non solum propter tres canonizationes ad hoc Consistorium vos convocavi, sed etiam ut vobis decisionem magni momenti pro Ecclesiae vitae communicem. Conscientia mea iterum atque iterum coram Deo explorata ad cognitionem certam perveni vires meas ingravescente aetate non iam aptas esse ad munus Petrinum aeque administrandum.

Bene conscius sum hoc munus secundum suam essentiam spiritualem non solum agendo et loquendo exsequi debere, sed non minus patiendo et orando. Attamen in mundo nostri temporis rapidis mutationibus subiecto et quaestionibus magni ponderis pro vita fidei perturbato ad navem Sancti Petri gubernandam et ad annuntiandum Evangelium etiam vigor quidam corporis et animae necessarius est, qui ultimis mensibus in me modo tali minuitur, ut incapacitatem meam ad ministerium mihi commissum bene administrandum agnoscere debeam. Quapropter bene conscius ponderis huius actus plena libertate declaro me ministerio Episcopi Romae, Successoris Sancti Petri, mihi per manus Cardinalium die 19 aprilis MMV commissum renuntiare ita ut a die 28 februarii MMXIII, hora 29, sedes Romae, sedes Sancti Petri vacet et Conclave ad eligendum novum Summum Pontificem ab his quibus competit convocandum esse.

Fratres carissimi, ex toto corde gratias ago vobis pro omni amore et labore, quo mecum pondus ministerii mei portastis et veniam peto pro omnibus defectibus meis. Nunc autem Sanctam Dei Ecclesiam curae Summi eius Pastoris, Domini nostri Iesu Christi confidimus sanctamque eius Matrem Mariam imploramus, ut patribus Cardinalibus in eligendo novo Summo Pontifice materna sua bonitate assistat. Quod ad me attinet etiam in futuro vita orationi dedicata Sanctae Ecclesiae Dei toto ex corde servire velim.

Ex Aedibus Vaticanis, die 10 mensis februarii MMXIII

BENEDICTUS PP XVI

English
Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013
posted by elpapacito at 6:21 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


As a suprise move they should make Tony Blair pope.

He'd be completly unsurprised, of course. He'll probably be a little disappinted when he doesn't get it.
posted by Artw at 6:21 AM on February 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


"I'm leaning towards he knows he doesn't have that much time left (could be years, could be months) and wants to try to steer the selection of the next pope."

All of the power a pope has over his successor is in his ability to pick the people picking that successor, this isn't really affected by whether he resigns or dies.
posted by Blasdelb at 6:22 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Who here ordered the Ex-Benedict?
posted by zamboni at 6:23 AM on February 11, 2013 [28 favorites]


> I am 100% in favor of people making fun of beliefs and organizations, including any that I am a member of. What a shitty place that would be, if people could not do so.

Jokes about your favorite band can be awesome. Jokes about how stupid and gullible your favorite band's fans are, not so much.
posted by ardgedee at 6:23 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Jokes about how stupid and gullible your favorite band's fans are, not so much.

This is so much tilting at windmills. I haven't read every single comment in the thread, but I have seen very little of this kind of thing (which used to be a lot more common in MeFi) so far. Just some specious accusations of same.
posted by psmealey at 6:25 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Maybe there's a terminal sickness involved that has made it prudent to step down and pave the way for a strong replacement?

I'm not sure there needs to be any secret reason or backroom plotting here. He's a 85 year old man who wanted to retire from being bishop before he was ever elected Pope. He's got health problems (who doesn't at 85?), he's had strokes, apparently he was told not to travel anymore. It seems perfectly logical that a person in that position would retire, terminal illness or not.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:26 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Blasdelb: All of the power a pope has over his successor is in his ability to pick the people picking that successor, this isn't really affected by whether he resigns or dies.

Officially, but the idea that there aren't any Cardnials who might be swayed by a living Benedict's prefrences seems unlikely to me.
posted by spaltavian at 6:26 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


> All of the power a pope has over his successor is in his ability to pick the people picking that successor, this isn't really affected by whether he resigns or dies.

While this is true, I think it's naive to assume he will sever all his ties, social and otherwise, to the Vatican when he retires. He's still going to have a hand in things, ex-officio.
posted by ardgedee at 6:28 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Your Favourite band is implicated in covering up decades of child abuse while at the same time favouring regressive social policies and generally wanting to send the world back to the middle ages!

It's Coldplay, isn't it?
posted by Artw at 6:28 AM on February 11, 2013 [73 favorites]


To quote myself:
(Also: First In With: Hitler Youth, Birth Control, Gay Marriage... Hopey Changey).

Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.

Well, we're kinda lacking in people who thing we might get something of a reformist pope.
But otherwise.
posted by Mezentian at 6:29 AM on February 11, 2013


It's odd thinking of someone who held a position for thirteen years as having a short tenure.
posted by charred husk at 6:32 AM on February 11, 2013


Poor Ratz was always going to be in the shadow of his rockstar predecessor. He was more comfortable as the cleaner in the shadows, and the timing of the global sex scandal stuff couldn't have been calculated better to stick in his craw. If I were him, I'd also be all, "Who needs this grief?", too.
posted by 2N2222 at 6:32 AM on February 11, 2013


"the bark of St. Peter?" Please tell me that they don't make jerky out of the saints.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:32 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a couple of interesting problems here.

1) What do we call the former Pope Benedict XVI?

2) As part of the funeral rites, a bag of gold and silver coins was placed in the coffin -- one of each coin for each year he served as the supreme pontiff. This was the only monetary renumiration he would receive directly for his work. Will Benedict get the coins immediatly, when he's buried, or never?
posted by eriko at 6:33 AM on February 11, 2013 [14 favorites]


On one hand I hope the next Pope cleans house and apologizes for the actions of the Church, and on the other hand I don't know that I would look forward to the popularity of a Church with a Pope who had the leadership to do so.

Interesting times we live in, eh?
posted by Mooski at 6:34 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


3) what is his precedence at official functions? Will it be like ex-presidents?
posted by shothotbot at 6:34 AM on February 11, 2013


I remember being an altar boy fondly.
posted by hal9k at 6:36 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


1) What do we call the former Pope Benedict XVI?

The Old Guy in the Dress Formerly Known as Pope?
posted by Splunge at 6:40 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why does everyone keep saying "resign" instead of using the correct term, "abdicate"?
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:40 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


From wikipedia on the age of Popes:

The youngest pope was probably either Pope Benedict IX (who became pope at an unknown age between 11 and 17) or Pope John XII (who was 18 at the beginning of his papacy).

It is time for a young pope. I am thinking of some young man in his 20's (maybe even a hipster pope wearing very tight fitting, low rise vestments). It seems like that could change the Catholic Church in some fairly profound ways.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 6:41 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


what is his precedence at official functions?

What are you, Debrett Wonk or something?
posted by Segundus at 6:41 AM on February 11, 2013


1) What do we call the former Pope Benedict XVI?

J-Ratz.
posted by Mezentian at 6:41 AM on February 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


Why does everyone keep saying "resign" instead of using the correct term, "abdicate"?

Because the early newspaper reports used the word "resign." You will notice that I included "abdicate" in the tags.
posted by Dumsnill at 6:42 AM on February 11, 2013


I haven't read every single comment in the thread, but I have seen very little of this kind of thing (which used to be a lot more common in MeFi) so far. Just some specious accusations of same.

I wonder how much of that may be attributed to the mod warning in here which got scoffed at? It could have been a pre-emptive warning, you know. Or the mods may have been deleting things that WERE inflammatory.

(Speaking of which - mods, go treat yourselves at some point today.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:44 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why does everyone keep saying "resign" instead of using the correct term, "abdicate"?

Is there a correct term? What's your source? The Catholic Encyclopedia uses both terms.
posted by vacapinta at 6:45 AM on February 11, 2013


It's odd thinking of someone who held a position for thirteen years as having a short tenure.

By thirteen do you mean eight?
posted by Slothrup at 6:45 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jokes about how stupid and gullible your favorite band's fans are, not so much.

Bigger disappointment: Beatles breakup, Morrissey's comeback, Chinese Democracy, or Benedict's abdication?
posted by octobersurprise at 6:46 AM on February 11, 2013


"1) What do we call the former Pope Benedict XVI?"

The convention for living/current Popes differs by language, but logically in English, the resigning Pontiff legally changed his name, in a move related to but distinct from assuming the Papacy, and has not mentioned changing it back as far as I can tell. Calling him the former Pope Benedict XVI is probably pretty safe until it all gets worked out.
posted by Blasdelb at 6:46 AM on February 11, 2013


Hey now, I will gladly LOLProtestants at any time, as well. Given that the Pope and his predecessors have clearly stated that I am of no use except as a baby-generating machine, and have strongarmed my country's healthcare into putting ridiculous barriers in the way of my getting birth control and abortion, I feel pretty free to LOLCatholic all I fucking want.

If the Pope wants my deference, he and his sex-fearing nosy parkers need to keep their religious mitts off of my body. I'm not in the Church, but I have certainly been hurt by its actions, like a lot of other people.
posted by emjaybee at 6:46 AM on February 11, 2013 [114 favorites]


Pope formerly known as Benedict 16.
posted by lrobertjones at 6:48 AM on February 11, 2013


The odds on Paddy Power have already shifted - Turkson has slid from 9/4 to 7/2, Ouellet takes the lead at 5/2.

Oddschecker.com shows that the other open books are following suit.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 6:50 AM on February 11, 2013


Yeah Turkson is a ridiculous bet, no offense. Probably the line set to entice loyal Ghana fans.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:54 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Here's something that amazed me: look at this picture a friend found on his tear-off calendar yesterday.

The thought bubble reads 'Holy haybag! I'm resigning tomorrow!'

The calendar was printed last summer.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:54 AM on February 11, 2013 [106 favorites]


Conclaves should really be full-on fights to the death rather than the pedestrian catered affairs that they are now.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:55 AM on February 11, 2013


I'm not a fan of many of the Catholic Church's policies either but geez louise, we get it yall. Quit being boring and either make funny or interesting.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:55 AM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


Slightly off-topic, if you are really so thin-skinned as to equate the critiques of a massive and incredibly powerful institution with persecution, how did you last on Metafilter past, say, comment #2?
posted by psmealey at 6:56 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


What do we call the former Pope Benedict XVI?

I'd make up business cards that say

~Pope Emeritus~
~Avid Golfer~

posted by Greg Nog at 6:57 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Slightly off-topic, if you are really so thin-skinned as to equate the critiques of a massive and incredibly powerful institution with persecution, how did you make it Metafilter past, say, comment #2?

Metafilter comment #1 was hard for me. I felt persecuted. I felt like my way of life was being attacked. Metafilter comment #2, though? That was a a breath of fresh air. I learned that I was not alone. I learned that other people did in fact read the comments down here. I felt affirmed and validated.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:59 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


My money is on a South American pope. That Brazilian guy de Aviz seems likely to me. Book it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:59 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Former Nazi couldn't take the heat. For Pope's sucking, don't they all suck? I know Pope Paul was well loved, but why? None of them supported birth control where needed in 3rd world countries (or even first). None of them helped convict the abusers. To me, they're all lying and serve zero purpose in today's society. Personally, I think religion needs to get out of an organized state. If you're spiritual, beleive in a higher being, and all basic principles (don't kill, be good to your neighbor like you want to be treated), then I think as far as religion goes, it's for the better.
posted by stormpooper at 7:00 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just not a French-Canadian Pope. Though bringing poutine to the Vatican dinner table would be pretty rad.
posted by Kitteh at 7:00 AM on February 11, 2013


Besides who's going to be the next Pope, Paddy Power is also giving 500/1 odds that Benedict XVI will be Chelsea's manager for the first league game of 2013/14 season.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:02 AM on February 11, 2013


> Though bringing poutine to the Vatican dinner table would be pretty rad.

Poutine Eucharist.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:02 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm holding out for Pope Bono.
posted by kmz at 7:02 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm hoping a Golden Cleric winner can become pope this time.
posted by drezdn at 7:02 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm holding out for Pope Bono.

He's actually Protestant.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:03 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can we get a petition going to nominate Joe Biden?
posted by drezdn at 7:03 AM on February 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'd always wondered if I'd see a pope in my lifetime that would lift the ban on women serving in the ministry.

I doubt it. The church officials are making a concerted effort to see that this doesn't happen. A guy I used to date told me about his cousin, a former priest, who was regarded as being very successful in his work and very likely to rise within the hierarchy of the church. He was given a document to sign that stated that he would never challenge the church's stance on homosexuality, birth control, women in the ministry, etc. He refused to sign, and it soon became clear that his career was over because of it. He ended up leaving the priesthood.

It really makes me sick. They elected a former Brownshirt, but won't even consider electing a humanist. The Catholic church can't collapse fast enough for me.

Just not a French-Canadian Pope. Though bringing poutine to the Vatican dinner table would be pretty rad.

I'd pictured Stanley Cup parties in the Vatican, with Pope Canuck decreeing that no one was allowed to talk during Hockey Night in Canada.
posted by orange swan at 7:04 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


If Saint Malachy's correct, let's hope the next Pope is a robot.
posted by whuppy at 7:05 AM on February 11, 2013


I totally misread the news this morning and thought that John Ratzenberger had died.
posted by xingcat at 7:05 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Mitt Romney's faith will be a plus in his campaign for the Papacy. #slatepitch.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:06 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wait - I heard it was illegal to resign after the first trimester(?)
posted by newdaddy at 7:06 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Physical retail space is no longer economically efficient. This is the first step in the Vatican's plan to shutter its doors completely by fall 2014. For further updates, please visit theromancatholicchurch.tumblr.com, and don't forget to download our free app for smart phones.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:06 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


>> Though bringing poutine to the Vatican dinner table would be pretty rad.

> Poutine Eucharist.


Oddly, a heartfelt OMG is usually the first thing I say when I dig in to a good poutine. So it's not so far-fetched.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 7:07 AM on February 11, 2013


He's actually Protestant.

Well damn, and here I thought he seriously had a chance.
posted by kmz at 7:08 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I suspect the influence of the Inquisition.
posted by COBRA! at 7:09 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh man, I'd love the see the shit storm that develops after they put up a black pope.
Imagine a world in which the phrase "Is the pope black?" is a frequent quip.
posted by deathpanels at 7:11 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't want to say too much, but, The Illuminati.

I've said too much.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:12 AM on February 11, 2013 [18 favorites]


I would bet that the Catholic church would allow priests to get married decades/centuries before they would allow woman priests.
posted by drezdn at 7:12 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


My grandparents were excellent Catholics who followed all the rules to the letter, including having 18 children. My grandmother almost died on the birth of the 17th. So, they wrote the Bishop for a dispensation to have my Grandmother's tubes tied, but they heard nothing after a few months. Then she got pregnant again and really almost died with #18. They decided to go ahead with the surgery and ask for forgiveness later.

My grandmother died much younger than she should have because so many births (18 in exactly 22 years) put such a stress on her system. None of the 18 children have more than 3 children of their own. Though they talk warmly of their giant family, it is a real hardship in so many ways.

When I was in the 8th grade it was time for me to get confirmed in the Catholic church. My mother was a Sunday school teacher, so there was pressure on me to just do it without too much fuss. However, based on the treatment of women in the church, and specifically the teachings on birth control, I could not in good conscience stand up inside the church and repeat vows that I did not believe. When I tried to quit I had to face down the head of Catechism and the priests and stood my ground.

I spent the next decade not attending church and with my mom fuming at me privately over it. I'm not very good at being an atheist and I've had a church to belong to for all my life, and deep down I believe in God. But I couldn't go to mass without getting so angry. Even my childhood church is festooned with banners with pictures of fetuses on them.

Yet, I was still Catholic inside and held out hope for change. However, when Pope Benedict was chosen I knew for sure that nothing would change in the church within my lifetime and was finally able to move on. I joined a church that allows female and gay clergy and does not make me feel like a sinner for spacing out my kids.

So, thanks to Pope Benedict for finally giving me what I needed to leave the Catholic Church!
posted by Alison at 7:13 AM on February 11, 2013 [69 favorites]


More on that prophetic German calendar cartoon mentioned by Too-Ticky
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:13 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Too-Ticky: Here's something that amazed me: look at this picture a friend found on his tear-off calendar yesterday.

The thought bubble reads 'Holy haybag! I'm resigning tomorrow!'

The calendar was printed last summer.


Holy haybag, that is amazing.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:13 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure there needs to be any secret reason or backroom plotting here. He's a 85 year old man who wanted to retire from being bishop before he was ever elected Pope. He's got health problems (who doesn't at 85?), he's had strokes, apparently he was told not to travel anymore. It seems perfectly logical that a person in that position would retire, terminal illness or not.

Normally I would agree that it would be perfectly reasonable for a sick old man to retire, but the last time a pope retired was in the Late Middle Ages, so it raises the question about what exactly is different in this situation than any other time in the last 600 years.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:15 AM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


Nobody expects the German resignation! /sorry
posted by shortfuse at 7:17 AM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


Last monday HBO featured a documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.

I watched it. He was the point man for all child sex abuse cases worldwide before becoming Pope.
It had been believed for many years that bishops were basically on their own, dealing with these matters as they saw fit. That was the fiction that Rome had advanced. But it turns out that, to defrock a priest, you had to go to Rome. Only a pope can do that. Those issues went to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who ran an organization called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—formerly known as “the Inquisition.” In 2001 Pope John Paul II decided to give Cardinal Ratzinger all the authority on all sexual abuse cases.
posted by ericb at 7:19 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


They're going to want to reach out to an increasingly secular world. The obvious successor is Pope Richard Dawkins
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:20 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


burnmp3s: it raises the question about what exactly is different in this situation than any other time in the last 600 years.

I expect to some extent it is about setting a precedent. Medical science has changed a great deal over the reigns of the last two pontiffs, and we are much more likely to see a Pope who is too impaired by things like stroke or dementia to remain on the job, but is not likely to die in the immediate future. It seems prudent to establish a precedent for abdication with a Pope who is clearly in full command of his faculties, rather than wait until we have a Pope who is on life support or something.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:20 AM on February 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


So when will his trial begin?
If past Papal history is any indication, nine months after death.
posted by Flunkie at 7:23 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


it raises the question about what exactly is different in this situation than any other time in the last 600 years.

For most of the last 600 years, the pope was also a significant temporal power; i.e., he was one of Europe's kings. Absolute monarchs typically stayed in office until they died because 1) power 2) divine right and 3) the safety of former monarchs isn't usually assured.

Similiarly, now that monarchs are figureheads in Europe, you see them resign of their own free will more frequently.
posted by spaltavian at 7:24 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Two things:

1) The idea that the new Pope will presumably take over the @pontifex Twitter feed gives the Papacy a distinct Dahlai Lama-esque feel.
2) Before you go saying "worst Pope ever", do remember that "ever" is a long time when we're talking about the Roman Catholic Church, and they've had the people wearing the pointy hat over that time have ordered some pretty unspeakable atrocities. Benedict did not have a high bar to clear.
posted by dry white toast at 7:27 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I expect to some extent it is about setting a precedent. Medical science has changed a great deal over the reigns of the last two pontiffs, and we are much more likely to see a Pope who is too impaired by things like stroke or dementia to remain on the job, but is not likely to die in the immediate future. It seems prudent to establish a precedent for abdication with a Pope who is clearly in full command of his faculties, rather than wait until we have a Pope who is on life support or something.

I find it interesting how this might relate to the Church's stance on end of life care and dying with dignity. I suppose this might put that discussion off since having the Pope retire will keep the world from having to watch a series of Popes chained to the throne while hooked to life support.
posted by charred husk at 7:27 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Seems to be a lot of dislike for Benedict the Pope in here. I guess I would agree, but the thing to remember is that the Pope truly represents the Church. It's about the most political kind of job in the entire world. You don't get to be Pope if you are really going to shake things up - and if you are going to shake things up, it's what The Church is already ready for.

Hate on the pope all you like, but what I am saying is that he isn't responsible for the dogma, ideology, and politics of The Church. He is just the guy that takes the heat. So, that being said, don't get your hopes up for any new Pope coming down the road. This is the Church we are talking about.

For him personally, I think it's a good thing he is retiring. He can relax and live a better quality of life a little, and maybe with the pressure off, he might be allowed to mellow a little. I never understood why anyone would want to be Pope or President for life, but then again, I don't share that kind of ambition.

He should get himself a bass boat and do some fishing, drink some cold beer, and enjoy the sun for a while. That's what life is about anyway.
posted by Xoebe at 7:28 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


charred husk: I suppose this might put that discussion off since having the Pope retire will keep the world from having to watch a series of Popes chained to the throne while hooked to life support.

Exactly.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:28 AM on February 11, 2013


"the bark of St. Peter?" Please tell me that they don't make jerky out of the saints."

Not that this thread is about anything actually neat or interesting on the internet, but that seemingly odd bit in the resignation letter reffers to the bark (also spelled barque or barchetta), as in the type of smallish ship, of St. Peter. A bark is a common metaphor for the church that fits in with the tone of the letter, where he is saying that the church is a small force in a large world in need of a less elderly leader.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:30 AM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's all a trick to get his political opponents to exhaust themselves during the Conclave. Then he bounces back and seizes victory.

It's a classic Pope-A-Dope.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:33 AM on February 11, 2013 [17 favorites]


First time I ever heard of someone giving up being Pope for Lent.
posted by Mchelly at 7:34 AM on February 11, 2013 [60 favorites]


I really really don't want Dolan as the pope.

Catholics, pls
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:36 AM on February 11, 2013 [14 favorites]


keep the world from having to watch a series of Popes chained to the throne while hooked to life support.

The Church that people love to imagine is a lot more terrible and reactionary than the actual Church in the real world, which teaches this on end-of-life issues:
2278 Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one's inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.
2279 Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable. Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged.
I fully expect that a lot of people on MetaFilter will explain how this teaching, too, is bad and wrong and reactionary and short-sighted because it is not precisely where they would draw the line on the morality of end-of-life care, but the idea that the Church teaches that people have to be put on life-support forever and ever amen is just a fiction.
posted by gauche at 7:36 AM on February 11, 2013 [22 favorites]


non habemus papam
posted by Damienmce at 7:38 AM on February 11, 2013


I recall an NPR segment last week (prior to this news) that touched on how Cardinal Ratzinger did in fact want to continue a formal inquiry into sexual abuse charges against a bishop, but was told not to by John Paul. Of course, when Ratz did become Pope his focus shifted wholly towards protecting the Church.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:38 AM on February 11, 2013


BRING BACK POPE FORMOSUS. AGAIN.

First time I ever heard of someone giving up being Pope for Lent.

Yeah, I'm going with that one, too.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:43 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


To be fair, the Catholic Church would say where most MeFites draw the line on morality of end-of-life care is bad and wrong and short-sighted, and it's not like they are quiet about it.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:43 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Church that people love to imagine is a lot more terrible and reactionary than the actual Church in the real world, which teaches this on end-of-life issues:

And? So? They're still wrong about damn near everything else.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:45 AM on February 11, 2013


He should get himself a bass boat and do some fishing, drink some cold beer, and enjoy the sun for a while. That's what life is about anyway.

Also naked ladies. He should get some of those.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:46 AM on February 11, 2013


gauche: the idea that the Church teaches that people have to be put on life-support forever and ever amen is just a fiction

Sure, but even the statements you quote leave open a big window for "non-responsive Pope on life support indefinitely", which is certainly a situation the Church would like to avoid, don't you agree?
posted by Rock Steady at 7:47 AM on February 11, 2013


Another leading headline contender: CARDINALS MANAGER RETIRES
posted by dry white toast at 7:51 AM on February 11, 2013 [34 favorites]


@Eddie Sarfaty
Rumor has it that the Pope is abdicating in favor of his boyfriend, an altar boy named Rolf.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:52 AM on February 11, 2013


The only thing I really am wondering about is what colour (if any) they will change the cross to (in Montreal, usually purple on the death of a pope). I'll have to head to the mountain and check some time this week.
posted by jeather at 7:52 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Before you go saying "worst Pope ever", do remember that "ever" is a long time when we're talking about the Roman Catholic Church, and they've had the people wearing the pointy hat over that time have ordered some pretty unspeakable atrocities.

Ditto. My account of Celestine V above was based on what I read in a book called The Bad Popes, which was fascinating reading.

the Catholic Church would say where most MeFites draw the line on morality of end-of-life care is bad and wrong and short-sighted, and it's not like they are quiet about it.

Many, many people who've stayed in the church are also not quiet about their dissent sometimes. My former-Jesuit-Seminarian friend, who is very definitely still Catholic (sometimes he even goes to Matins, and even found some church in the Bronx that still does it in Latin), has always referred to Ratzinger as "the Papist Rapist". Then you have the far-left factions of the church who've appointed women as priests (Sinead O'Connor is a Catholic priest in one such order). Granted, these orders are not quite...official, but they're still out there.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:52 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]



Sure, but even the statements you quote leave open a big window for "non-responsive Pope on life support indefinitely", which is certainly a situation the Church would like to avoid, don't you agree?


In such a case, given the magnitude of what is at stake, surely such a nonresponsive pope could be hurried along discreetly. As, some say, John Paul I (immediately prior to JPII) may have been, despite not even being comatose.
posted by acb at 7:52 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hate on the pope all you like, but what I am saying is that he isn't responsible for the dogma, ideology, and politics of The Church.

The Pope has the power to advance the politics along though, just look at The Second Vatican Council.
posted by drezdn at 7:53 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Church that people love to imagine is a lot more terrible and reactionary than the actual Church in the real world, which teaches this on end-of-life issues:

And? So? They're still wrong about damn near everything else.


The "And? So?" defense is a little weak here, as gauche is talking about a specific aspect of church teaching. Facts are facts, and credit is due where credit is due (and most certainly not due where it isn't).
posted by Going To Maine at 7:55 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Okay, so now we need a new pope. A young pope, in touch with the wants and needs of the youth. A pope who knows how to party, who can do a shot for every year of his age without dying. A pope who has the courage to make the baseball cap the official holy headgear, to make miller lite and doritos the food of the communion. We need a pope who even lifts.

We need a brope.

That would be dope.
posted by Drexen at 7:56 AM on February 11, 2013 [21 favorites]


This is one of those threads that's gonna make me hit my favorite limit.
posted by sweetkid at 7:56 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


> We need a brope. That would be dope.

It's technically feasible for any Catholic man with good standing in the Church to be elected pope. Reality TV is screaming for this.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:57 AM on February 11, 2013


"The Pope has the power to advance the politics along though, just look at The Second Vatican Council."

...and everything we've seen in the last couple of decades is a pretty sobering indication of how that doesn't always turn out so well in the long run.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:58 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Pope has the power to advance the politics along though, just look at The Second Vatican Council.

The fact that there was nearly a century between the First and the Second Vatican Council makes me question just how much power a given pope has in these matters.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:00 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Obligatory Natalie Dee
posted by Mchelly at 8:00 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


(Speaking of which - mods, go treat yourselves at some point today.)

Nah, do it tomorrow when it's Pączki Day!

For those who do not know what this is, or why it is so important, I will pray for the salvation of your palate.
posted by eriko at 8:01 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sure, but even the statements you quote leave open a big window for "non-responsive Pope on life support indefinitely", which is certainly a situation the Church would like to avoid, don't you agree?

I agree that that is a situation the Church would like to avoid, but as the Church has not, to my knowledge, faced that situation yet in its history, I think it not inconceivable that this shockingly resilient institution could muddle through rather than being comically hamstrung by its imagined rigid adherence to teachings it doesn't actually teach.
posted by gauche at 8:02 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


charred husk: "I suppose this might put that discussion off since having the Pope retire will keep the world from having to watch a series of Popes chained to the throne while hooked to life support."

Ah, yes, about that...
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:02 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


My girlfriend's next writing project:

It's a BroCom about a slacker frat boy who gets elected as the new Pope. What? Whooaaa! Totes prophecy, dudes! All the Cardinals think he's craazy, but one Cardinal sees he has potential, and shows him the ropes. The climax, Pope Bro gets all the other Cardinals to see things his way when he teaches them how to long board.

Starring Pauly Shore as Cardinal Weeezel and Jonah Hill as Pope Bro.
posted by zug at 8:03 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


A young pope, in touch with the wants and needs of the youth. A pope who knows how to party, who can do a shot for every year of his age without dying.

I vote for Pope Paul Pope.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:04 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah, yes, about that...
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:02 AM on February 11 [+] [!]


I don't know if that would be so awesome that everyone would want to be Catholic or if it would just confirm what everyone secretly suspects about the Church and launch the Anticrusade.
posted by charred husk at 8:06 AM on February 11, 2013


A young pope, in touch with the wants and needs of the youth. A pope who knows how to party, who can do a shot for every year of his age without dying.

Then those “I LIKE THE POPE. THE POPE SMOKES DOPE.” posters they sold in university student union buildings will cease to be ironic.
posted by acb at 8:06 AM on February 11, 2013


It's a BroCom about a slacker frat boy who gets elected as the new Pope. What? Whooaaa! Totes prophecy, dudes! All the Cardinals think he's craazy, but one Cardinal sees he has potential, and shows him the ropes. The climax, Pope Bro gets all the other Cardinals to see things his way when he teaches them how to long board.

Starring Pauly Shore as Cardinal Weeezel and Jonah Hill as Pope Bro.


This is basically a shameless rip off of my friend Colin's Student Pope about a college kid who gets elected Pope and has to navigate the challenges of being a college student and pope simultaneously.

I have to endorse your girlfriend's project though, because Colin's has been in extreme pre-production (nascent thought stage) since Benedict was first elected.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:07 AM on February 11, 2013


+<=( :[ ) shiiiiiiiiiiii
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:08 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


American Pope: switches from iconic hat to baseball cap with image of iconic hat.
posted by mikepop at 8:09 AM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


There are a lot of Catholic congregations in the US where the members are entirely welcoming of gays and birth control, would be fine with women priests, and think the church leadership has been going in the wrong direction since forever.

They have no direct influence on The Pope, but if the Church came down on them hard, donations from a bunch of wealthy congregations would end the day after.

I'd be interested to hear what the Church's thinking is on these liberal congregations.
posted by zippy at 8:09 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't have anything clever to say about Pope Benedict resigning but I'm reminded of when Pope John Paul II was dying. I went to watch this play at an evangelic Protestant church and after it was over I was talking to one of my high school classmates who was, like most of the people there, not Catholic. We started talking about the dying Pope and he said to me "But don't you Catholics think that the Pope is infallible?"

I guess that being infallible meant never dying and that my world was just falling apart with news of the dying Pope, as if I thought that Pope John Paul II would live forever. I'm not sure what he thought had happened to the previous hundreds of Popes or maybe he thought that PJPII was the original Pope. Who knows man, who knows.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 8:09 AM on February 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


Christopher Hitchens | March 2010: The Great Catholic Cover-Up -- "The pope's entire career has the stench of evil about it."
posted by ericb at 8:10 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry, this is clearly the best idea for a fake stoner bro pope move.

"The film starts by establishing that the Pope is dying and it's only a matter of time before he passes on to the great pulpit in the sky. So our two heroes, who have heard of the fabled Stash of Saladin in the Vatican archives, trek to the Vatican knowing that everyone will be distracted preparing for the upcoming papal selection, and they plan to try to steal the weed. Hilarity ensues as they stumble through set piece after set piece, including the aforementioned communion-wafer munchies, a scene in which they hide a joint in what turns out to be a ceremonial censer and get an entire congregation a contact high, and I dunno, a scene where they need to fill a bong with holy water or something.

The climax comes when they're caught and pursued through the city by the Swiss Guard, and through a series of mishaps end up in the Room of Tears and disguise themselves in robes that they find there. They finally end up smoking their shit but get caught halfway through and run away, but since it's very special ancient weed the smoke ends up billowing white, so the group assembled in St. Peter's Square think a new Pope has been elected, and somehow the two end up on the balcony and everyone mistakes them for the Cardinal Protodeacon and the new Pope, so one of them has to give a speech (in a nod to The Great Dictator) and he ends up making a plea that everyone chill and be more real to each other and shit. And the speech goes over really well and everyone cheers and then we do a voice over by one of the guys saying that while he didn't actually become Pope everyone loved his speech so much that they were both given pardons by the real new Pope and they got the girls (earlier we will have established that they stirred some decidedly unchaste feelings in two young ladies who hadn't yet taken their final vows). Then after the credits we have a scene in which the new Pope goes down into the archive himself, locks the door behind him and takes a big hit off of Saladin's Stash and says "Ahhh...stercus bonus!" THE END

We call the film "The Most High," give it a tagline like "The dope is infallible" and release the fucker at Easter 2012. You're all welcome."
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:10 AM on February 11, 2013 [50 favorites]


Get Don Novello in to give us the scoop from Father Guido Sarducci!
posted by rmd1023 at 8:10 AM on February 11, 2013


+<=( B| ) "deal w it yall" *does harlem shake*
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:10 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think the wacky young-guy Pope movie has already been made.

(Through some chain of events I don't entirely remember, I actually saw this movie. It wasn't so much potentially offensive to Catholics as it was definitively offensive to people who liked good movies.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:11 AM on February 11, 2013


This is directly from a friend from Rome:

"In Rome, rumor is Ratzinger was busted with an umpteenth underage hustler. This time his boyfriend Jeorge, tired of seeing him sleeping around, videotaped him and blackmailed him. Considering the type of man, I think it is a very credible theory ..."
posted by PigAlien at 8:12 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The climax, Pope Bro gets all the other Cardinals to see things his way when he teaches them how to long board.

[as they skate their way, tentatively at first, down a winding street in Rome]

Cardinal Tightwad: "Holy Father, I think I begin to understand! Longboarding is like...a metaphor for the procession of the Church through history!"
Bro Pope: "Dude, that's what I've been trying to say all day! We're, like a vessel for the people and shit."
Cardinal Bookworm: "Yes! And the Church is like the perfect line! We must lay the path wisely so that the people can follow it!"
Cardinal Tightwad [banking around a turn a bit uneasily]: "The path is sometimes difficult, but the journey is ultimately rewarding!"
Cardinal Weed: [blows past doing a 540 heelflip off a fountain] "AND IT'S TOTALLY FUCKIN' AWESOME TOO"

Bro Pope and Cardinal Weeezel highfive. Freeze frame. Text crawl tells us where all the Cardinals ended up in five years.
posted by cortex at 8:12 AM on February 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


Can it be mere coincidence that the Pope has resigned only days after Christina Applegate announced her departure for Up All Night? I think not.
posted by steambadger at 8:13 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd be interested to hear what the Church's thinking is on these liberal congregations.
posted by zippy at 11:09 AM on February 11 [1 favorite +] [!]


My previous small college parish where all the wealthy townies attended the "other" church? Bishop Peewee came down on it like a ton of bricks.

My current parish with all the lawyers, doctors and other rich people? We've still got a tapestry of Ghandi with a halo around his head, no kneelers and the Bishop's "special statements" that are meant to be read to the congregation are just printed and left to be ignored.

That's how the Church handles it.
posted by charred husk at 8:13 AM on February 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'd be interested to hear what the Church's thinking is on these liberal congregations.

The impression I got was that they're kind of like when families have this one wild-card rebel that they all see as kind of a fuckup but they still hold out hope that they'll come around someday, but deep down they're kind of disappointed that they're not getting a normal job like everyone else.

I may or may not be projecting.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:18 AM on February 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


American Pope: switches from iconic hat to baseball cap with image of iconic hat

I think he would just wear the papal tiara backwards.
posted by shothotbot at 8:19 AM on February 11, 2013


gauche: I think it not inconceivable that this shockingly resilient institution could muddle through rather than being comically hamstrung by its imagined rigid adherence to teachings it doesn't actually teach.

Well, I don't doubt that that the Church would come up with some way of solving the problem, but I would be exceedingly surprised if such a thing did not engender significant controversy and debate. I realize the Church doesn't teach "life support forever", but I know many many Catholics who seem to think it does, and I'm not sure how they would react to the idea of the Pope refusing further treatment.

In the end, I think this is a wise move by Benedict -- from the point of view of the Church -- to set a precedent to greatly eliminate the chances of that sort of controversy. Personally, I'd rather see the debate play out, but that's just me.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:21 AM on February 11, 2013


1) What do we call the former Pope Benedict XVI?

2) As part of the funeral rites, a bag of gold and silver coins was placed in the coffin -- one of each coin for each year he served as the supreme pontiff. This was the only monetary renumiration he would receive directly for his work. Will Benedict get the coins immediatly, when he's buried, or never?


This is what I am interested in-- a hidebound institution with amazingly complex and rigid rules is now faced with an entirely new situation. How will the ex-Pope live? What will his duties (if any) be? Where will he retire and who will take care of him? What sort of funeral will he have?

I would love a tell-all book followed by a documentary that interviews everyone concerned with his elevation and and his resignation. Of course that will never happen, but really, do you think the Cardinals who elected him are chagrined? Did they misunderstand God's voice in their hearts or did God change his mind? So many, many questions.

I wonder if this will set a precedent.

Along the same lines, I've been wondering about the British Monarchy. With life being prolonged by modern medicine you have to wonder if She will ever resign...say at age 100? Her mother lived past 100, didn't she? These days QEII looks like she can barely carry out her duties, yet she could live for another 20 years.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:24 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


How will the ex-Pope live?

He will paint pictures of himself bathing in holy water.
posted by Dumsnill at 8:26 AM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


SLoG: I assume HRH Elizabeth II is attempting to outlive her son so the crown will go to the grandson.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:28 AM on February 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


As part of the funeral rites, a bag of gold and silver coins was placed in the coffin -- one of each coin for each year he served as the supreme pontiff.

This is in Zuckerberg's contract too. WAKE UP SHEEPLE.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:28 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ooh, the pope would just love for QEII to abdicate for health reasons too, wouldn't he? That way the Head of the Anglican Church would only be following fashion and would look like just another Johnny-Come-Lately.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:32 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The guy alternated between painfully biased attempts at outreach to publicly demonizing people like me as a threat to Western civilization. And I'm suspicious that the Vatican was entirely innocent in the matter of playing musical parishes with sex offenders. So goodbye, good luck to your new life. Maybe we'll get someone better.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:33 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


SLoG: I assume HRH Elizabeth II is attempting to outlive her son so the crown will go to the grandson.

Given that Elizabeth II's duties are essentially waving and refraining from having opinions, she could possibly remain fit for duty for longer than her son is capable of crusading for homeopathy and architectural traditionalism, especially if given the best medical care available. What her quality of life is is another matter, though one has to make sacrifices.
posted by acb at 8:34 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


So was this a fat pope or a skinny pope?

Regarding priests marrying, my understanding is that most if not all of the non-Latin rites that still fall under Rome allow priests (at least at the parish level) to marry, and Anglican converts who are married are allowed to remain so. So it seems like that would be the easiest thing for the church to move on - more so that female priests (never gonna happen).
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:35 AM on February 11, 2013


"I'd be interested to hear what the Church's thinking is on these liberal congregations."

You'll only really be able to get a collection of anecdotal reports to this kind of question but in my experience,

I'm currently in an Anglican congregation in continental Europe that a nearby Catholic congregation has just invited to lead the Eucharist for during the coming Ash Wednesday, having invited us to participate in their eucharist last Ash Wednesday. (For context, this is a super big deal thing that drives towards the heart of what makes Catholics Catholic rather than catholic Protestants) The general sense at least where I'm at is that everyone in the dioces knows this sort of thing happens in this church and a few others but no one says anything because that would lead to the end of a church; not that there is any kind of real money coming from the students at this church but that that would be an inherently sad thing to happen.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:35 AM on February 11, 2013


With any luck, the next pope can be Pope Guilty.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:38 AM on February 11, 2013 [14 favorites]


I hope mefi's own Rogers Cadenhead gets a two-fer -- he still owns a bunch of pope-themed domain names, and he made news when Benedict rose to power by being the successful papal domain speculator.
posted by AzraelBrown at 8:39 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


So was this a fat pope or a skinny pope?

Pope who climbs on rocks!
posted by griphus at 8:39 AM on February 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


In Rome, rumor is Ratzinger was busted with an umpteenth underage hustler

I don't know anything about the Pope. Is this at all a possibility or is this just a smear campaign for crazy conspiracy nutballs like the attempt to label Obama as gay?

SLoG: I assume HRH Elizabeth II is attempting to outlive her son so the crown will go to the grandson

Yes, I have thought there was something to this but I see no possibility of her outliving him-- his father still seems in perfect health. If Charles was still around at 90 that would make QEII 112.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:39 AM on February 11, 2013


Well, there have long been rumours that the Pope's boyfriend is his secretary Georg.
posted by unSane at 8:41 AM on February 11, 2013


I'm currently in an Anglican congregation in continental Europe that a nearby Catholic congregation has just invited to lead the Eucharist for during the coming Ash Wednesday, having invited us to participate in their eucharist last Ash Wednesday.

Wow! That seems pretty far out there to me, having been raised Catholic, and I'm having trouble wrapping my head around it.

The general sense at least where I'm at is that everyone in the dioces knows this sort of thing happens in this church and a few others but no one says anything because that would lead to the end of a church; not that there is any kind of real money coming from the students at this church but that that would be an inherently sad thing to happen.

I'm a bit jaded here, but I would think that even if the money coming in isn't substantial, the Church just can't go around cutting out entire parishes without some major unwanted repercussions and loss of projected power and influence.

Poutine Eucharist.

Oh man. Sacramental gravy sounds divine.
posted by ODiV at 8:44 AM on February 11, 2013


Will no one think of how this effects Jack Chick?
posted by drezdn at 8:45 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


the Church just can't go around cutting out entire parishes without some major unwanted repercussions and loss of projected power and influence.

The archdiocese here in Ottawa did just that a couple of years ago, shutting down a parish church and selling the property. The congregation took them to court over it, but ultimately lost. They got their own back, though - they raised enough money to buy the now-deconsecrated church, and turned it into an arts centre.
posted by LN at 8:46 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Three thots about Benedict:
a) Though he has spent his life working his way to the position (see Earthly Powers by Burgess), i wonder if he actually ever wanted it in the first place.
b) For someone who is deeply respectful of tradition, this is genuinely shocking, esp. considering the health of his predecessor--I wonder if the work got to be too much for him, and i wonder how substantive his inner circle was/is.
c) Uta Ranke-Heinemann was his close friend, and she talked quite openly about how smart he was compared to his predecessor, i wonder if it would have been better if he had stuck as a moral theologian, as much as i profoundly disagreed with him the dude wrote well, and was terribly terribly smart. That his smartness was used to a set of political and social ends was intensely problematic, but being a leader of a billion people is an actively political position, and to think otherwise is profoundly naive. Religion is politics. Theology is politics. Of his politics think that his changes to AIDS policy, his books of theology suggested another way of looking at his role as leader. I mean we won't get a radical, Martini is retired, and Martini was the last of a certain kind of V2 nostalgia, and there are a number of ways that he made me feel very uncomfortable--i left when he became pope, but in the negotiating a western institution becoming post colonial, it's an impossible job, i wonder if we will get a gatekeeper, and be pleased by it. I also wonder if w. this resignation, they would be willing to find someone younger, but is there anyone younger.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:46 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't think anyone is worried about QEII being able to continue her strenuous duties, seeing as they mostly consist of waving and shaking hands. And she can always tap Charles and his brood to take over even that. She isn't going to be able to send the UK to war against France because she's senile or anything.
posted by emjaybee at 8:48 AM on February 11, 2013


The archdiocese here in Ottawa did just that a couple of years ago

Yes, sorry, I should have included something to the effect of "on a large scale". I'm aware that parishes occasionally get shut down. And that's a pretty cool story and link, thanks!
posted by ODiV at 8:49 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, he's retiring because he wants to be able to spend more time with the kids?
posted by xedrik at 8:49 AM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


You could get a decent Wes Anderson movie about the life of a retired pope.
posted by drezdn at 8:53 AM on February 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


Totally did not expect the announcement to end with "I'm taking my talents to South Beach."
posted by drezdn at 8:54 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


To add a loose framing with other ages of (somewhat arbitrary) powerful people (um, Americans, sorry for being me-centric):

* Benedict is 85
* Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 80
* Antonin Scalia is 77
* Anthony Kennedy is 77
* Dick Cheney is 72
* Joe Biden is 70
* Hillary Clinton is 65
* Karl Rove is 62
posted by Going To Maine at 8:56 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Joe Biden is 70

Yes, but he lives life and buys cars like it's 1970
posted by zombieflanders at 8:57 AM on February 11, 2013 [18 favorites]


The Catholic church can't collapse fast enough for me.

Don't hold your breath. It is growing.
posted by dgran at 8:58 AM on February 11, 2013


Secret Life of Gravy: "This is what I am interested in-- a hidebound institution with amazingly complex and rigid rules is now faced with an entirely new situation."

The thing is, though, it's the Catholic Church. They have been around forever. Right now, some underling is digging through the archives to see how they handled things when Gregory XII resigned.

My personal guess is he goes to some relatively comfortable monastery.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:03 AM on February 11, 2013


I just had the best idea! Picture it:

Pope Obama the First.

Is the Pope Catholic? You know what? I think he's a secret Muslim...
posted by wabbittwax at 9:04 AM on February 11, 2013


I have a bold prediction: Pope LeBron I.
posted by Mister_A at 9:04 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rick Santorum waits eagerly by the phone.
posted by drezdn at 9:05 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


The archdiocese here in Ottawa did just that a couple of years ago, shutting down a parish church and selling the property

They've been closing places up the wazoo here in Massachusetts, where the sex scandals hit pretty hard. They claim it's because 1) membership is declining, and they need to consolidate; 2) they need money to settle lawsuits give restitution for the poor victims. *Cough.* It's also because their prime Boston estate will bring in big bucks, too. It's a business, not a church.

Reminds me of the last days of the Soviet Union, when they kept appointing old person after old person until, oh, wait, there weren't any more old people, so, darn, someone younger had to come in and shake things up.
posted by Melismata at 9:07 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


"So, he's retiring because he wants to be able to spend more time with the kids?"

So this is really the kind of thing that bugs me.

There are many aspects of the soon to be former Pope Benedict ‘s career that are genuinely awful and actually real, from participating in the shielding of child abusers to continuing the eroding of Vatican II to continuing the church’s policies of being really shitty to gays to his aggressive maintenance of a conservative ideological purity, but abusing children is not one of them. Neither is being a Nazi, nor is having a funny sounding ‘foreign’ name, nor is being an evil emperor in a galaxy far far away. This kind of bullshit is not only just stupid and uninteresting, but trivializes both child abuse and the very real problems of the church into some kind of bigoted joke that doesn’t even bother to try being funny.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:09 AM on February 11, 2013 [24 favorites]


It's not terribly hard to argue that "shielding child abusers" is the same thing as "abusing children", though I also have never heard that Ratzinger did any more direct abuse. But I don't think what he did was less bad.
posted by jeather at 9:13 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Catholic church can't collapse fast enough for me.
She [the Roman Catholic Church] may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.

Macaulay, On Ranke's History of the Popes
posted by shothotbot at 9:13 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I thought it was a reference to the fact that most popes don't have kids.
posted by drezdn at 9:14 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Great work everybody, but I've got to figure out a team name for trivia tonight so if we could keep the witty Pope jokes coming that would help a ton. Bad puns are also accepted, though not necessarily encouraged.
posted by DynamiteToast at 9:15 AM on February 11, 2013


EVERYONE POPES
posted by oulipian at 9:16 AM on February 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


DynamiteToast: I'd go with Freon's "Does the pope quit in the woods?"
posted by rmd1023 at 9:17 AM on February 11, 2013


So I'm not sure how many other Catholics there are on Metafilter, but does anyone else remember rumours around Ratzinger's appointment, that he was essentially a placeholder pope? That he was chosen because of his age and state of health, was not expected to last long, and would break the deadlock about what type of long-term popes they wanted to put in place?

I also wonder if this means a resurgence of the amazing POPEORNOPE.
posted by corb at 9:17 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


missed out on the "Ex-Benedict" headline.

Gawker's on it.
posted by ndfine at 9:18 AM on February 11, 2013


Argh missed edit window that's Boston real estate
posted by Melismata at 9:18 AM on February 11, 2013


Well, "spending more time with the kids" is the traditional excuse of politicians fleeing scandal, and, well, oh dear..
posted by Artw at 9:19 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Pope's nose knows noes.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:20 AM on February 11, 2013


In the age of media, I think one of my favorite things about today's news has been CBC reporters showing up at churches to ask the opinions/feelings about this development, only to have priests and parishoners genuinely ask them--ON LIVE RADIO--"Wait, what are you talking about?" and then reporter fill them in on the event.
posted by Kitteh at 9:20 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


"The quality of a society, I'd say of a civilisation, is judged by how well it treats its elderly,"

The quality of a religion is judged by how well it treats its children.


favourite times a zillion
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 9:27 AM on February 11, 2013


Your Favourite band is implicated in covering up decades of child abuse while at the same time favouring regressive social policies and generally wanting to send the world back to the middle ages!

Wait, my favorite band lives in Brooklyn?

[An ex-Catholic--for a reason--who is not a fan or defender of the church, but doesn't think LOLCatholics is any more constructive or defensible than LOLJews or LOLTibetanBuddhists...did you know those mouthbreathers believe in child reincarnation and magic beads???]
posted by availablelight at 9:28 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


US will have unprecedented voice in electing new pope.
posted by ericb at 9:28 AM on February 11, 2013


So I'm not sure how many other Catholics there are on Metafilter, but does anyone else remember rumours around Ratzinger's appointment, that he was essentially a placeholder pope? That he was chosen because of his age and state of health, was not expected to last long, and would break the deadlock about what type of long-term popes they wanted to put in place?

Corb, I remember precisely that, and have been thinking all morning that the retirement announcement should not come as a surprise.
posted by gauche at 9:28 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Was always disappointed that Benedict didn't take the name George Ringo.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:29 AM on February 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


It will be awkward that he's still alive, when it comes to the part where they have to burn his heart and see if the smoke is black or white.
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:33 AM on February 11, 2013


Pope Benedict Profile: Pontiff's Mission To Revive Faith Clouded By Scandal.
posted by ericb at 9:34 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


LolCatholics? The only thing funny about that organization is how it is diametrically opposed to the core values Jesus taught and believed in. Imagine if Jesus returned and surrounded himself with old virgins obsessed with the sexual habits of everyone on the planet, sat in a golden chair (perhaps with a golden calf in the background?) inside of a huge opulent temple, and from his position of earthly power and authority decided to tell the poor to keep fucking without condoms while they die from a combination of overpopulation and STDs. Centuries of torture and genocide in the developing world just wasn't enough for the Church. This is in addition to hiding behind the demand for respect for their organization while they shuffle around child molesters so they can go on molesting without being bad press for the Vatican.

And what an appearance: wasteful rituals smothered in conspicuous consumption that could be turned into wells, farms, and schools that would save lives, but instead it's just a backdrop so those stupid old Pharisees can preach their narrow, hateful, and loveless vision of Christ. Christ who wore a crown of thorns so popes could smother themselves in jewelry and gold to preach division and judgement.

There's nothing funny about it. Fuck Ratzinger, fuck the Catholic church, and fuck any attempt to defend that shameful cesspool of materialism, ignorance, bigotry, and exploitation.
posted by tripping daisy at 9:35 AM on February 11, 2013 [30 favorites]


US will have unprecedented voice in electing new pope.
Pope The Situation I
posted by Flunkie at 9:35 AM on February 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


I remember the talk of him being a placeholder Pope, too. Part of where the "placeholder for 8 years?" comment came from. (Yes, my math sucked. Allergy meds make me stupid.)
posted by charred husk at 9:36 AM on February 11, 2013


I start from the trademark red shoes and work up to the tip of the mitre, wrapping slowly and carefully. Soon Joseph Ratzinger is completely wrapped in cling-film. He is like a somewhat lumpy moon rocket wrapped in a silvery cocoon. The satisfaction is unparalleled by anything in my previous existence.

'He is completely wrapped in cling-film,' I call to the cardinals. 'I will accompany him as you drive to the hospital.'
posted by flabdablet at 9:36 AM on February 11, 2013 [16 favorites]


John Paul I was the ultimate placeholder.
posted by Melismata at 9:36 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mostly, I'm mortified that current contender #2 is Canadian.

For those of you still kicking yourself for not wagering on Obama last year, Cardinal Marc Ouellet currently has the leading odds of 3:1, closely followed by Cardinal Peter Turkson at 7:2. American Cardinal Timothy Dolan would pay 25:1 and Bono is being offered long odds of 1000:1.
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:38 AM on February 11, 2013


one of these men will become pope
posted by shothotbot at 9:38 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


And, look, my earliest memories are sitting at the top of the stairs asking my very Catholic mother questions like "If god created everyone, who created god?" and finding the answers unbelievable. I went to Catholic school for grades 1-7 and never felt a twinge of belief.

However, I think establishing a modern precedent for graceful retirement of the Pope has to be a good thing to accelerate change in the Catholic Church - which would make family events much more pleasant for me.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 9:39 AM on February 11, 2013


So writing about Celestine V got me curious about the whole shebang all over again and I've done some digging.

The election was even more fucked up than I remembered. It wasn't going on for a few months, it was going on for two years, partly because at the time the election didn't include a conclave yet. In fact, things dragging on for so long is what prompted the church to introduce a conclave.

Also, the cardinal who finally had the idea to say "fuck it, let's just go with this hermit guy" was also the guy who reassured Celestine that he could quit later on - and then was his successor as Pope. And that guy sucked -- so bad that Dante put him in the Eighth Circle of Hell when he wrote L'Inferno. He also turns up in the Decameron and in Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagreul, so he made quite a bad reputation for himself. So with all of that, him nominating Celestine V may have been a political move anyway.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:44 AM on February 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


Sinead O'Connor on Pope Benedict XVI's retirement:
I would like to congratulate Pope Benedict on his wise decision to retire before the very worst of what has been going on is discovered. I appreciate his alluding to some of it in his statement and assure him The Most High forgives those who can faithfully say they did wrong.

The church had been brought into dreadful disrepute by lies and blasphemies against The Holy Spirit. Benedict’s greatest achievement is this act of retiring. There is a chance now for the church to be re-built and made fit to house The Holy Spirit.
posted by ericb at 9:45 AM on February 11, 2013 [13 favorites]


Man, a few balloons at your mass and your Pope chances are shot.
posted by drezdn at 9:48 AM on February 11, 2013


The numerous comments on allowing priests to marry blow my mind. The church will allow priests to marry eachother before they allow for legal heirs to leech their coffers.
posted by Iteki at 9:49 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


IIRC, from this book, Dante stuck Celestine in a circle of hell too, so he's not the most discerning arbiter of good and bad popes.
posted by gaspode at 9:49 AM on February 11, 2013


Pope Benedict XVI will not take part in the Conclave for the election of his successor.

Pope Benedict XVI will move to the Papal residence in Castel Gandolfo when his resignation shall become effective.

When renovation work on the monastery of cloistered nuns inside the Vatican is complete, the Holy Father will move there for a period of prayer and reflection.

From whispers in the loggia
posted by shothotbot at 9:51 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Even a humanist can hope for a Pope fit for the twenty-first century:"
This Pope has been widely regarded as a conservative leader. His comments on atheism and secularism have frustrated many humanists, seeming as they do to contain a willful misunderstanding of individuals who find meaning and value outside of religion....

We note that a great many people around the world who define themselves as Catholic nevertheless reject much of the authoritarian 'moral' dogma from the Vatican. As a humanist I have no part in the church, and the internal workings of the church are no business of mine. However, the influence and behaviour of the Vatican impacts on millions of lives. And even as a humanist I can hope – though it may be a vain hope – that the next Pope might better reflect the diversity of opinion within the Catholic laity, let alone the wider world in the twenty-first century.
posted by audi alteram partem at 9:52 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Holy See 'Ya Later!
posted by ericb at 9:55 AM on February 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


What Now For Benedict?
posted by homunculus at 9:59 AM on February 11, 2013


Pope Betting Leaderboard Top 3 with choice wiki (and other) quotes:

#1 Cardinal Marc Ouellet, age 68 #2 Cardinal Peter Turkson, age 64 #3 Cardinal Francis Arinze, age 80 My own 2 lire on the subject is that Arinze would at best be another vaguely conservative placeholder pope , much like Ratzinger; just there to hold the line for a few more years. The "younger" cardinals are the more interesting, seeing as how -- based on the quick googling I just slapped together -- the Canadian appears much more conservative than the Ghanaian. If those representations hold true, election of either one could signal a shift in the Church in one direction or the other.

Of course, these are Catholic Cardinals we're talking about, so "progressive" means adhering to a 19th century social code, while "conservative" means they probably long for a good auto de fe. So no reason to get our hopes up regardless of who gets chosen for the big white hat.
posted by Panjandrum at 9:59 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


IIRC, from this book, Dante stuck Celestine in a circle of hell too, so he's not the most discerning arbiter of good and bad popes.

Actually, no - Celestine is only in the weird sort of vestibule outside Hell, reserved for people who don't commit to either good or evil either way. And there's actually some debate whether the guy Dante's talking about is Celestine or is Pontious Pilate.

Boniface, though, is way down in the Eighth Circle, with his head in a hole and getting burnt on the soles of his feet, along with the other simonists. The people up in the vestibule are only getting chased by wasps, but it's kind of not as bad - the next step down from the Eighth Circle is Satan himself, so Dante also makes it clear what kinds of sins are worse.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:59 AM on February 11, 2013


Or, rather, Dante makes it clear what kinds of sins he THINKS are worse.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:00 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who's secretly hoping he retires to Avignon?
posted by pentagoet at 10:00 AM on February 11, 2013 [19 favorites]


My mentor is a very active practicing Catholic (and, as a side note, a very closeted gay man who lives in fear that the church will find out). I am lapsed but still interested. He and I watched the last enclave like it was a sporting event, with him doing the stats and play by play and me doing the color commentary. He knows all of the cardinals and their takes on various points of doctrine. He was singularly critical of Ratzinger during the process and profoundly disappointed that he was selected, but he also fell in line behind him, as good Catholics are supposed to I suppose.

My friend is over 80 now and I can't help but think he's secretly delighted that he has lives long enough to see Benedict step down. He might even admit it once there's a new pope.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:01 AM on February 11, 2013


Iteki: "The numerous comments on allowing priests to marry blow my mind. The church will allow priests to marry eachother before they allow for legal heirs to leech their coffers."

There are married Catholic priests right now. Some Eastern Catholic Churches permit marriage. There are also married priests who converted from Protestant faiths.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:02 AM on February 11, 2013


Where is Andrew Sullivan?

Andrew Sullivan: Benedict’s Radical End.
posted by ericb at 10:03 AM on February 11, 2013


Regardless of the Catholic church's faults or crimes, I think this is a good move and hope that following popes are encouraged to do the same. No organization needs a frail and dying person at its head, and John Paul II clung on far beyond his usefulness. A pope is never going to be a young and thrusting person, but healthy and capable are reasonable asks.

(I remember at the Catholic school I went to, we had a picture of John Paul II in the dining room, and many of us inwardly prayed for him to die so we could get a couple of days off school.)
posted by Jehan at 10:03 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I work for a Catholic Church but am not Catholic. Last Sunday, the homily was on the subject of problems in the church, the priest was all "Look, just because the church does messed-up things doesn't mean you leave. I mean, your mother does some crazy shit too, but she's still your mother, right?"*

I wonder if he knew something.

*paraphrased.
posted by KathrynT at 10:09 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


gaspode: "IIRC, from this book, Dante stuck Celestine in a circle of hell too, so he's not the most discerning arbiter of good and bad popes."

Maybe, sometimes the passage is read as being about Pontius Pilate. "I saw and recognized the shade of him / Who by his cowardice made the great refusal."

In any case, it's just in the antechamber of Hell, chasing the banners. It could be a lot worse, as it is for Nicholas III, Clement V, and Boniface VIII.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:11 AM on February 11, 2013


There are also married priests who converted from Protestant faiths.

It's common enough to do this that I've heard that Episcopal seminaries are getting paranoid about young, married men serving for a year or two and then suddenly converting to Catholicism.

Actually, they're paranoid about a whole bunch of other things, too, but that's more about how the demographics of the priesthood have changed much more over the last 50 years than the demographics of the laity.
posted by Copronymus at 10:12 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yoiks, sorry! The Empress beat me to it.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:13 AM on February 11, 2013


I work for a Catholic Church but am not Catholic. Last Sunday, the homily was on the subject of problems in the church, the priest was all "Look, just because the church does messed-up things doesn't mean you leave. I mean, your mother does some crazy shit too, but she's still your mother, right?"

That is some burned out priest right there. "Sure, we're terrible. But you gotta stay."
posted by jaduncan at 10:14 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


I hope it's not Turkson. An African Pope may cause a sharp rise in Catholicism on the continent, which would be unfortunate and probably quite bloody.
posted by rocket88 at 10:20 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


That is some burned out priest right there. "Sure, we're terrible. But you gotta stay."

Dude, I've heard people give that answer to explain why they're still Red Sox Fans. Loyalty is not always logical.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:22 AM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


That is some burned out priest right there. "Sure, we're terrible. But you gotta stay."

I don't know how anybody could make an honest argument for staying that doesn't rely on inertia.
posted by empath at 10:24 AM on February 11, 2013


There are also married priests who converted from Protestant faiths.

It's common enough to do this that I've heard that Episcopal seminaries are getting paranoid about young, married men serving for a year or two and then suddenly converting to Catholicism.

Actually, they're paranoid about a whole bunch of other things, too, but that's more about how the demographics of the priesthood have changed much more over the last 50 years than the demographics of the laity.


Yeah, the Episcopal church is having its problems, too. They're not getting the wealth they used to enjoy, and it's never coming back, and young people have many, many other options besides going to church, and they're not sure what to do.
posted by Melismata at 10:24 AM on February 11, 2013


The "And? So?" defense is a little weak here, as gauche is talking about a specific aspect of church teaching

...in order to write off all the many other criticisms of the Church, as if the singular fact that cyanide smells nice means it's okay to drink.

And so I reiterate: And? So?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:26 AM on February 11, 2013


Sys Rq: "as if the singular fact that cyanide smells nice means it's okay to drink."

Eh, don't really like the smell of bitter almonds.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:28 AM on February 11, 2013


Historical bad popes, Gawker edition
posted by Artw at 10:33 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Somewhere, you have made an insecure millipede weep, Chrysostom.
posted by Panjandrum at 10:33 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the Episcopal church is having its problems, too. They're not getting the wealth they used to enjoy, and it's never coming back, and young people have many, many other options besides going to church, and they're not sure what to do

As an Episcopalian, I've more or less made my peace with the fact that one day my church is just going to be a club for gay atheist sacred music enthusiasts.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:35 AM on February 11, 2013 [69 favorites]


Panjandrum: "Somewhere, you have made an insecure millipede weep, Chrysostom."

MY WORK HERE IS DONE.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:37 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't know how anybody could make an honest argument for staying that doesn't rely on inertia.

Inertia is the honest argument, albeit not very well articulated in the example above mentioned with the priest. The central idea of the Catholic Church, next to the divinity of Jesus, is that its leadership is entrusted to hold fast to traditions forged in its apostolic period.
posted by dgran at 10:40 AM on February 11, 2013


Yes, I saw that recent job opening on VaticanMonster.Com... my resume is a little light, but I'm definitely thinking of applying.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:41 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow you nailed that, Bulgaroktonos.
posted by Melismata at 10:42 AM on February 11, 2013


As an Episcopalian, I've more or less made my peace with the fact that one day my church is just going to be a club for gay atheist sacred music enthusiasts.

And, at least in the Northeast, Cathedral fetishists.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:50 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I work for a Catholic Church but am not Catholic. Last Sunday, the homily was on the subject of problems in the church, the priest was all "Look, just because the church does messed-up things doesn't mean you leave. I mean, your mother does some crazy shit too, but she's still your mother, right?"

There are many, many AskMe's where people advocate cutting ties with family that are sufficiently messed up.

I've heard all the same arguments, being raised a Catholic. None of them are convincing. And the idea that the Church's problems are all somehow all my fault for not coming to Church more frequently is insulting.

All that being said, there are faithful Catholic people out there doing good work, and I want to make a distinction between their good work and the stupid shit the Catholic Church as an administrative body does.
posted by LN at 10:53 AM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oops, it turns out this was all a huge mistake. The Pope was giving up eBay for Lent and he meant to issue his Paypal resignation.
posted by Freon at 10:54 AM on February 11, 2013 [21 favorites]


...in order to write off all the many other criticisms of the Church, as if the singular fact that cyanide smells nice means it's okay to drink.

Um, no. I was responding to a particular false but often repeated claim about the Church's beliefs on a single topic.

If I may employ an analogy: it feels a little as though I have pointed out that President Obama has indeed already released his birth certificate, and you are criticizing me for glossing over the extrajudicial killings and the drones.
posted by gauche at 10:57 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Charles Pierce: Adios To The Pope
posted by homunculus at 11:02 AM on February 11, 2013


News report I heard just said he will retire into a renovated monastery used by cloistered nuns. Lucky for some.
posted by Jimbob at 11:02 AM on February 11, 2013


Does he get to keep the title Benedict XVI or does he go back to plain ol' Joey Rats, as we called him back in the day...
posted by PenDevil at 11:06 AM on February 11, 2013


Is there a definitive answer yet on what he's called once the new Pope takes over? Is he still Benedict XVI? Or does he go back to being Cardinal Ratzinger, or just Mr. Ratzinger? The Ratz? El Poperino, if you're not into the whole brevity thing?
posted by saturday_morning at 11:06 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Inquiring minds want to know, PenDevil.
posted by saturday_morning at 11:07 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm no fan of him or his positions but he is a very old man. Is it too much to ask to let him live out whatever time he has left in peace?
posted by double block and bleed at 11:11 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]



...in order to write off all the many other criticisms of the Church, as if the singular fact that cyanide smells nice means it's okay to drink.


Actually, no. The original comment refers to the idea that people have a mental conception of the church that differs from fact, but only specifically notes this one teaching as being misrepesented & argues that people should be aware of it. The church can & should be criticized on many grounds. (e.g. covering up pedophilia, retrograde attitudes on contraception). But criticism should be done with a focus on the facts, & in this specific case the facts aren't there.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:15 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: gay atheist sacred music enthusiasts
posted by nooneyouknow at 11:17 AM on February 11, 2013 [15 favorites]


I'm no fan of him or his positions but he is a very old man. Is it too much to ask to let him live out whatever time he has left in peace?

I don't think the people making jokes on the Internet are going to be loud enough to keep him up, don't worry.
posted by superfluousm at 11:19 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Upon hearing this news, I got sucked into the wikipedia vortex for an hour or so, but it's OK because it taught me about the Cadaver Synod, when the Pope exhumed the body of his predecessor, propped it up on a throne, made it stand trial, then threw it in the river.
posted by benbenson at 11:20 AM on February 11, 2013 [15 favorites]


Sorry, Benedict. You cannot resign. You must carry your papacy to full term.
posted by Malor


Perhaps he's practicing Catholic birth control by pulling out early?
posted by QuakerMel at 11:21 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Regardless of the Catholic church's faults or crimes, I think this is a good move and hope that following popes are encouraged to do the same. No organization needs a frail and dying person at its head, and John Paul II clung on far beyond his usefulness. A pope is never going to be a young and thrusting person, but healthy and capable are reasonable asks.

All of this is entirely reasonable, though the church could have dealt with the issue more effectively by not electing a 78 year old pope.
posted by brain_drain at 11:22 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've been doing some research and found some confusing and bizarre clues that may just crack this mystery wide open.
posted by griphus at 11:23 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Upon hearing this news, I got sucked into the wikipedia vortex for an hour or so, but it's OK because it taught me about the Cadaver Synod, when the Pope exhumed the body of his predecessor, propped it up on a throne, made it stand trial, then threw it in the river.

That's just life in the Pornocracy.
posted by Copronymus at 11:30 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


All of this is entirely reasonable, though the church could have dealt with the issue more effectively by not electing a 78 year old pope.

To be fair, that probably would have only delayed the issue.
posted by jedicus at 11:38 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Following everyone down the WikiPedia rabbit hole, I have a hypothesis: the Catholic Church is fanatical about sexual repression because they're afraid that regular people act like Popes behind closed doors.

(h/t Copronymus)
posted by tripping daisy at 11:46 AM on February 11, 2013


As an Episcopalian, I'm excited that my church is a club for openly gay sacred music enthusiasts who like working at the soup kitchen, because they think the actual teachings of Jesus are more important than who Paul (or someone pretending to be Paul) thought needed to be in the Time-Out corner that week.

My dad was a very observant Roman Catholic who had thought seriously about being a priest, and he actively deplored the papacy of Benedict XVI. Dad's Pope was always John XXIII, though he had a soft spot for John Paul I as well.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:50 AM on February 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


To be fair, that probably would have only delayed the issue.

True enough, but it feels different when the guy was basically just elected in pope-years.
posted by brain_drain at 11:51 AM on February 11, 2013


What the New Pope Can Learn from the Boston Archdiocese -- "It's time to clean up the sex abuse scandal for good."
posted by ericb at 11:51 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


He didn't resign. The cardinals finally reached the conclusion that he actually died a while ago and had just been decomposing at a very slow rate.
posted by Foam Pants at 11:52 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder if they're accepting resumes.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:07 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thanks David Peel let's send the Pope a care package for his retirement.
posted by NiteMayr at 12:13 PM on February 11, 2013


"Pope resigns amid new allegations of blood-poping."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:22 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm no fan of him or his positions but he is a very old man. Is it too much to ask to let him live out whatever time he has left in peace?

Certainly. Perhaps a quiet retirement washing laundry somewhere.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:50 PM on February 11, 2013 [18 favorites]


I wonder if they're accepting resumes.

"Please ascend us your resume and at least two reverences in a self-blessed infallible envelope."
posted by oulipian at 1:10 PM on February 11, 2013


I remember being an altar boy fondly.
posted by hal9k at 9:36 AM on February 11 [+] [!]
Really, almost seven hours and nobody made a joke with that?
posted by achrise at 1:11 PM on February 11, 2013


Child rape isn't all that funny?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:12 PM on February 11, 2013 [20 favorites]


Really, almost seven hours and nobody made a joke with that?

I know, right? It's almost like we don't make fun of other MeFites' pleasant childhood experiences for some weird reason.
posted by griphus at 1:13 PM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


While Burhanistan and griphus are absolutely right, I will admit that I thought it was a joke by itself, as a kind of Tom Swifty. I'm a bad person.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:18 PM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Joe Biden not running (for Pope).
posted by Curious Artificer at 1:24 PM on February 11, 2013


All this feverish speculation will just have to wait for the Conclave, and the sighting of the smoke rising from the Sistine Chapel, which is colored white or black depending on the new Pope's ethnicity
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:28 PM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


I remember being an altar boy fondly.
posted by hal9k at 9:36 AM on February 11 [+] [!]


I'd remember my time as an altar server fondly too, if not for the way it ended with a curt "sorry, kid, you're not allowed to be an altar server anymore, the new pope said women can't be on the altar." Little me felt quite excluded from participation (which was the point, right)? JPII, you did me a favor in the long run by starting me questioning the church, but really, were you worried about girl germs or what? Turned out to be just start of a long campaign against women.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 1:30 PM on February 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


> hich is colored white or black depending on the new Pope's ethnicity

Heh, I was just coming back to recommend the documentary "Inside The Vatican". It's on Netflix streaming.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:30 PM on February 11, 2013


Is that documentary actually good or is just an excuse to yell about Catholicism (pro- or con-) and/or Dan Brown-esque conspiracy nonsense?
posted by griphus at 1:32 PM on February 11, 2013


There was also an immediate reaction from On High. (No kidding - the pic really is from this evening...)
posted by aqsakal at 1:35 PM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's nothing funny about it. Fuck Ratzinger, fuck the Catholic church, and fuck any attempt to defend that shameful cesspool of materialism, ignorance, bigotry, and exploitation.

I wonder how many other institutions or people one could substitute in here and remain undeleted, much less barely commented on? Not many, I'd wager.
posted by Justinian at 1:36 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


> Is that documentary actually good or is just an excuse to yell about Catholicism (pro- or con-) and/or Dan Brown-esque conspiracy nonsense?

It's pretty good, I guess. National Geographic made it so there's not anything other than a slight partiality for the subject matter. I suppose anyone could get all "vatican code" about anything, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:38 PM on February 11, 2013


I expect to some extent it is about setting a precedent. Medical science has changed a great deal over the reigns of the last two pontiffs, and we are much more likely to see a Pope who is too impaired by things like stroke or dementia to remain on the job, but is not likely to die in the immediate future.

Yeah, medical science has changed a great deal, but the Pope refuses to acknowledge what medical science can now do for women, eh?

Turkson did not rule out condoms in all circumstances suggesting they could be useful in the situation of a married, faithful couple where one partner is infected... He also believes that the money being spent on condoms would be better spent providing anti-retroviral drugs to those already infected.

THINK, dammit! How many anti-retrovirals can you purchase with the $5 bucks that can be spent on condoms? And how many of the poor can even afford condoms, let alone the drugs? So supportive of the 'married, faithful'--the rest of the world can go to hell. What bullshit!
posted by BlueHorse at 1:45 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd remember my time as an altar server fondly too, if not for the way it ended with a curt "sorry, kid, you're not allowed to be an altar server anymore, the new pope said women can't be on the altar." Little me felt quite excluded from participation (which was the point, right)? JPII, you did me a favor in the long run by starting me questioning the church, but really, were you worried about girl germs or what? Turned out to be just start of a long campaign against women.

In his defense, as I understand it, although John Paul II did reiterate the rules that were in effect about female altar servers(in 1980); he also later confirmed that change in interpretation that allowed female altar servers officially (in 1994), although he didn't allow them in Rome. It's far from a sterling record, and it's not what I would do if I were in charge of the Catholic Church (but then I'm Episcopalian), but it's also something.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:47 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


oh, National Geographic is alright. There's just a lot of documentaries on NetFlix re: Catholicism and a bunch of them are clearly proselytizing and the rest are either Bible Code or the Horrors of Catholicism and with a bunch of them you can't even tell until like twenty minutes in.
posted by griphus at 1:47 PM on February 11, 2013


The last time they were selecting a Pope, I was talking about it with my former Catholic, Episcopal priest mother-in-law who is quite liberal and very accepting of Africans personally (she used to run a church with a large Nigerian population). When the prospect of an African pope came up, she announced:

"Lord, save us from the Africans!"

for basically the reason you mentioned.


Roosting chickens, indeed.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:48 PM on February 11, 2013


I wonder how many other institutions or people one could substitute in here and remain undeleted, much less barely commented on? Not many, I'd wager.

Um, dude. If you speak with the voice of God himself, and then it turns out you're complicit in the rape of children, keep women as slaves, and you're responsible for the death of people like Matthew Shepard, then we're going to judge you a bit harshly.

Even if you've been infallible the rest of the time.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:49 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Um, dude. According to the Vatican, the pope is only speaking "with the voice of God himself" if he is making an Official Announcement On Church Doctrine.

I mean, I hear you, but please don't perpetuate that old stupid "lol the church thinks the Pope is infallible 24/7" misconception. The church teaching is that the Pope is "the voice of God" only in those instances, and the rest of the time could be a fuckup.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:54 PM on February 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


I mean, I hear you, but please don't perpetuate that old stupid "lol the church thinks the Pope is infallible 24/7" misconception. The church teaching is that the Pope is "the voice of God" only in those instances, and the rest of the time could be a fuckup.

I have to ask, Catholics. Is it true that when he's speaking ex cathedra there's now a literal special hat ready to put on for that? I heard this from someone in Professor Duffy's family (Cambridge Uni CC historian) but was never quite sure if they were putting me on.
posted by jaduncan at 1:59 PM on February 11, 2013


And I believe ex cathedra has only been officially invoked a couple of times in history.

There's plenty of reason to castigate the Church beyond that shit.
posted by kmz at 1:59 PM on February 11, 2013


But is God gonna give him a decent reference?
posted by nowhere man at 2:01 PM on February 11, 2013


Turkson did not rule out condoms in all circumstances suggesting they could be useful in the situation of a married, faithful couple where one partner is infected... He also believes that the money being spent on condoms would be better spent providing anti-retroviral drugs to those already infected.

Turkson seems like a bad choice because of some of his treatment of Islam, the condom comments seem downright progressive by the standards of what you'll find in the upper ranks of the Catholic hierarchy. Use of condoms by faithful married couples is currently against the teachings of the Catholic Church; to suggest that it might be acceptable (even in very limited cases) is a huge step, even if it's not far enough for non-Catholics.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:02 PM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Your Favourite band is implicated in covering up decades of child abuse while at the same time favouring regressive social policies and generally wanting to send the world back to the middle ages!

Given that My Favorite Band is lead by a Catholic who mostly sings about religion and sex they probably share a tiny bit of the blame.

The Pope stated: St. Louis had enslaved me.
I guess Santa ana saved me.
St. Peter had me on the queue.
The St. Paul Saints they waved me though.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:09 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many other institutions or people one could substitute in here and remain undeleted, much less barely commented on? Not many, I'd wager.

I'm pretty sure the answer is a lot. You could sub in pretty much any conservative/reactionary religious group, antivaxxers, Creationists, Libertarians, etc.
posted by kmz at 2:10 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I remember at one point during Sunday school someone asked "what if the pope killed someone?" and our teacher tried to come up with a coherent answer.
posted by hellojed at 2:10 PM on February 11, 2013


I remember that question! Although it wasn't in Sunday school, just regular school when we were learning about Martin Luther etc.
posted by sweetkid at 2:14 PM on February 11, 2013


From June 2012: Exhausted in the Vatican: The Final Battles of Pope Benedict XVI.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:16 PM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Depends if he killed him ex cathedra or not.
posted by Flunkie at 2:17 PM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Hare Club for Men needs to strike and restore Snowball, the one true descendant of Saint Peter, as the head of the Holy See.

Hippitus hoppitus reus Domine!
posted by Talez at 2:25 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, he's really quitting so he can get married?
posted by theora55 at 2:28 PM on February 11, 2013


If the next Pope is the Ghanaian Cardinal Turkson, I will be fascinated to see the reaction of elderly Boston Catholics, because -- well, let's just say I can see there being a lot of rumors that there was a secret marriage certificate from Kenya.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:32 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, there isn't a special hat for ex cathedra pronouncements. It's a performative utterance; when a Pope says he is speaking ex cathedra, then he is.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:48 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Um, dude. According to the Vatican, the pope is only speaking "with the voice of God himself" if he is making an Official Announcement On Church Doctrine.

I mean, I hear you, but please don't perpetuate that old stupid "lol the church thinks the Pope is infallible 24/7" misconception. The church teaching is that the Pope is "the voice of God" only in those instances, and the rest of the time could be a fuckup.


To be honest, the whole ex cathedra idea is just a way to split hairs and disclaim some really bad decisions by popes in the past. The basic point still stands that if you are someone who, when you choose to, could be Infallible, that's still a pretty serious claim regardless of if it's 24/7 or ex cathedra or only business hours or only on leap day. The ex cathedra argument is a great way to get the believers to think "Well, he's by definition right on Sundays, so he's probably pretty good the rest of the time", while simultaneously being able to say to detractors "Oh he made that bad decision on a Tuesday, it wasn't a Real Papal Infallible Action".
posted by kiltedtaco at 2:50 PM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Borowitz is on it.

So is Fark.
posted by fuse theorem at 2:55 PM on February 11, 2013


I'm pretty sure the answer is a lot. You could sub in pretty much any conservative/reactionary religious group, antivaxxers, Creationists, Libertarians, etc

See also scientology and homeopathy.

In a better world, we would convince* Jenny McCarthy to add homeopathy and either creationism or scientology** to her antivaxxery and, probably, some sort of confused and thoughtless libertarianism. Then we could use her to power the world as we glare at her so hard she implodes and starts fusing.

*We could use the Force. It has a strong influence on the weak of mind.
**Going for both seems... gaudy.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:57 PM on February 11, 2013


[Let's not go down the child rape joke path AT ALL, okay? You are always welcome to go to MetaTalk]
posted by jessamyn at 3:02 PM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Are any people from the various Eastern Catholic churches eligible to vote for the Pope, or is it limited to people from the Latin Church?

What about eligibility to be elected, rather than eligibility to vote?

And in any case, is it allowed/disallowed by the rules, or by other reasons - e.g. "there's nothing disallowing it, but right now all voters are Latin"? And if something like that, have there been times when non-Latins have voted, or even have been elected?
posted by Flunkie at 3:07 PM on February 11, 2013


Partially answering my own question: Looks like there are non-Latins on the College of Cardinals. I assume they're allowed to vote.
posted by Flunkie at 3:13 PM on February 11, 2013


Are any people from the various Eastern Catholic churches eligible to vote for the Pope, or is it limited to people from the Latin Church?

It's not a democracy. Individual Catholics don't get a ballot paper. From what I understand, the process is a bit like the US Electoral College, only limited to cardinals.
posted by acb at 3:15 PM on February 11, 2013


I'm aware that individual Catholics, generally speaking, don't get a vote. I'm asking about those who do get a vote.
posted by Flunkie at 3:16 PM on February 11, 2013


I'm asking about those who do get a vote


Watch this space.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:21 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm a strong atheist and think that the issue of Papal and Church infallibility is probably overstated. I don't buy the weaker version either, but the notion of strict infallibility strikes me as an inaccurate target.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:34 PM on February 11, 2013


Per the Wikipedia the patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic churches are cardinals, so presumably they would get a vote if they aren't too old.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 3:35 PM on February 11, 2013


The ex cathedra argument is a great way to get the believers to think "Well, he's by definition right on Sundays, so he's probably pretty good the rest of the time", while simultaneously being able to say to detractors "Oh he made that bad decision on a Tuesday, it wasn't a Real Papal Infallible Action".

It also could be proof of the fact that that when they DO make a bad decision, then that's just that one bad guy that's made that decision, as opposed to the one bad guy and the entire religion along with it. But I guess too many people prefer to believe the "if this one Pope is bad then we should chuck the whole religion along with it" for that to make any difference.

Look, I agree that Popes have, and do, say shitty things and enforce shitty practices. That's one of the reasons why I am no longer Catholic myself. I just believe that the things that they actually commit are bad enough without attributing additional sins to other people that they haven't committed, is all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:42 PM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Are any people from the various Eastern Catholic churches eligible to vote for the Pope, or is it limited to people from the Latin Church?

From the Catholic News Service, list of potential cardinal-electors. Whether the oldest one or two are still eligible depends on the date of the start of the conclave.

Among those listed are Antonios Naguib of the Coptic Catholic Church, Bechara Boutrous al-Rahi of the Maronite Church, George Alencherry of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, and Baselios Cleemis of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:44 PM on February 11, 2013


Real lack of understanding in this thread. He turned on a dime and took down Maciel (prior popes had protected that pederast). Good enough for me.
posted by learnsome at 3:45 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm a strong atheist and think that the issue of Papal and Church infallibility is probably overstated. I don't buy the weaker version either, but the notion of strict infallibility strikes me as an inaccurate target.

Well, even understanding that Papal infallibility is only when speaking ex cathedra, what gets me about the whole thing is that the Pope is infallible because the Pope says he is infallible. And, since he's infallible, he must be right!

I gotta say, that looks like Calvinball to me, not something that actual adults would believe.
posted by Malor at 3:45 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Real lack of understanding in this thread. He turned on a dime and took down Maciel (prior popes had protected that pederast). Good enough for me.

He also was vocal about interfaith community building. Not at all pure evil.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:53 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


ell, even understanding that Papal infallibility is only when speaking ex cathedra, what gets me about the whole thing is that the Pope is infallible because the Pope says he is infallible. And, since he's infallible, he must be right!

Not the Pope. This Franciscan scholar is supposed to have said it first.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:53 PM on February 11, 2013


At the risk of a derail: a circular argument, maybe. But nothing like Calvinball. The essence of Calvinball is "it's never played the same way twice." The doctrine of papal infallibility has been unchanged since it was codified by the First Vatican Council in 1870.

Also, if you don't think adults would believe in Calvinball, you need to find better adults to hang around with.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:55 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Plus, he's still Pope, people! Maybe we're in for a wild treat before his month is up.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:57 PM on February 11, 2013


Well, even understanding that Papal infallibility is only when speaking ex cathedra, what gets me about the whole thing is that the Pope is infallible because the Pope says he is infallible. And, since he's infallible, he must be right!

Well, by a similar degree, The U.S. Supreme Court defines what is constitutional because the U.S. Supreme Court defined itself as the highest court of appeal in Marbury vs. Madison using its own interpretation of the Constitution and legal tradition.

But, Pope is infalible (when speaking ex cathedra) on matters of what makes a Catholic a Catholic because the Pope is the spiritual heir of Peter and supposedly guided by the Holy Spirit when doing so. Granted, I think this claim is incoherent with their ontological claims, but I don't think it should be oversimplified to mere Calvinball.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:00 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Devil's Advocate's Der Speigel article is very interesting dishy reading.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:03 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


He also was vocal about interfaith community building. Not at all pure evil.

Didn't he do that only to repair the damage made by his comments (where he was quoting someone else) about Mohammad's teachings being evil and inhuman? And even then, wasn't the thrust if his inter-faith efforts to defend Christianity in places where it's under threat? Was there any legitimate inter-faith dialog happening? I don't know.
posted by cell divide at 4:04 PM on February 11, 2013


Not that his successor will be any better on the issues, but the nazi thing for this pontiff was a particular slap in the face to Jews, gypsies and gay people.

Good riddance, he won't be missed.
posted by mikehipp at 4:12 PM on February 11, 2013


The claim to "speak with the voice of god" is sheer hubris.
posted by theora55 at 4:14 PM on February 11, 2013


1) What do we call the former Pope Benedict XVI?

P-Benny.
posted by Splunge at 4:51 PM on February 11, 2013


Biden has announced he's not running.

Not the Onion
posted by Flunkie at 4:54 PM on February 11, 2013


Real lack of understanding in this thread. He turned on a dime and took down Maciel (prior popes had protected that pederast).

I suggest watching the currently playing HBO documentary (mentioned above): director Alex Gibney’s Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God. It profiles Maciel's crimes.
The film also highlights the case against a Mexican priest, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, who founded the controversial Legionnaires of Christ and who was highly influential in the Vatican hierarchy because of his group’s impressive financial contributions. Maciel, who died in 2008, was a known pedophile who was accused of sexually abusing up to 20 seminarians. He was also a documented philanderer who fathered several children with various women. He was protected for years by the Vatican’s former secretary of state, Angelo Sodano, who was able to keep Maciel shielded from criminal prosecution as long as the money kept rolling in. (Sodano has disavowed any cover-up; in 2010, he dismissed such allegations as “petty gossip.”) *
Alex Gibney:
As for Rome, starting in 2001, all cases of clerical sex abuse in the church were forwarded to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. So he may be the most knowledgeable man in the world about clerical sex abuse. Yet even though he saw the parade of horrors of child abuse, did Ratzinger as cardinal, or later as Pope Benedict, mandate reporting to civil authorities? No. When he had a chance, as Pope, to defrock Marcial Maciel, one of the world’s most brutally abusive clerics, did he do it? No. He and the curia around him are unwilling to confront the issue in a serious way. In that sense, it’s a systematic global cover-up of crimes.

... The case of Maciel (told in the film) is instructive. By all accounts, Cardinal Ratzinger wanted to bring Maciel to justice but was unwilling to challenge his protectors, Vatican secretary of state Angelo Sodano and Pope John Paul II. When John Paul was dying, Ratzinger commenced an investigation into Maciel’s monstrous behavior, but when he became Pope, he willingly abandoned the canonical trial to defrock Maciel. What kind of message does that send? And what kind of message did it send that the announcement of the trial’s end came from Sodano? *
posted by ericb at 4:55 PM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


I gotta say, that looks like Calvinball to me, not something that actual adults would believe.


Not sure how that's any more unbelievable than any other religious dogma.
posted by spaltavian at 5:04 PM on February 11, 2013


The stuff I would do as lame duck Pope.

Unhappily, to become Pope you have to be devoid of imagination and postmodern thinking.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:09 PM on February 11, 2013


ABC News | April 2010: What Pope Benedict Knew About Father Maciel
No Pope has resigned his position since the 15th century. But if some critics had their way, that's exactly what Pope Benedic would do. Holy Week for him has been one of defending the Vatican — and himself — against allegations that he knew about, and failed to act on, sexual abuse by priests years ago. In one major scandal, his role may have been far more complicated than that.
He didn't do anything for six years!

Video excerpt.
posted by ericb at 5:11 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pope Benedict Sex Abuse Cover-Up? Papal Resignation Prompts Speculation.
posted by ericb at 5:12 PM on February 11, 2013


Video excerpt URL was made from a mobile device. Here's one that launches directly into a browser window.
posted by ericb at 5:19 PM on February 11, 2013


I bet in quite a number of conspiracy sites the boards are overheating about how this is just a way for the ex-Pope to become the Anti-Pope to his successor, or something along those lines. Didn't Nostradamus have something about two Popes fighting it out during the End of Days?
posted by Iosephus at 5:24 PM on February 11, 2013


Obligatory Louis
posted by flabdablet at 5:25 PM on February 11, 2013


Like a lion eats an antelope
Like a hammer hits a cantaloupe

I AM ZE ANTIPOPE
posted by dunkadunc at 5:28 PM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Having lived through the Maciel saga, I do not deny that Benedict initially did not act well (at CDF, probably due to fear), but after JPII's death, he acted quickly. Now, I personally would have defrocked Maciel, but knowing the strength of LC/RC, I can understand why he did the next best thing. LC/RC is under very tight scrutiny right now and this is a VERY good thing.
posted by learnsome at 5:30 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not sure how that's any more unbelievable than any other religious dogma.

Yeah, Catholicism seems no more wacky to me than any other religion (and far less so than some, like Mormonism) but at least it has some gravitas and history. If you're going to believe weird supernatural things why not do so with a lot of cool music, architecture, and artwork? Better than babbling to yourself while being chomped on by poisonous snakes.
posted by Justinian at 5:37 PM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


You know, growing up I thought the Catholic Church was a nice organization that was really into charity and biscuits and crucifixes and liking the Pope.

It was only when I got into college and had friends whose families threatened to disown them if they moved in with their boyfriends or did anything that was against Catholic teachings that I realized just how totally crazy and intolerant the Church is. My SO grew up in a Catholic household and the controlling behavior and emotional abuse lines up with all my college friends' experiences. My MiL is full of crypto-racist comments, homophobic slurs and jabs at birth control users as "sluts". It's incredibly sad.

The Church is on the wrong side of almost all the important issues. As the Onion said, "Resigning Pope No Longer Has Strength To Lead Church Backward".
posted by dunkadunc at 6:07 PM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


As the Onion said, "Resigning Pope No Longer Has Strength To Lead Church Backward".
Someone on BBC World News yesterday said that he hoped that the cardinals would elect someone "who could drag the church into the Twentieth Century".
posted by Flunkie at 6:34 PM on February 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


Hey, at least he gave his two weeks notice.
posted by raider at 7:09 PM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


Anytime anything comes up about the Pope I think about my upbringing as a fundamentalist SDA. We were taught that the Catholics were the beast of Revelations and the Pope was the anti-christ. This was proven by the "fact" of the Vicarius Filii Dei 666 myth.

Years and years later I was flipping through the channels of local TV, before digital, and on the Spanish language channel was a man with a whiteboard and on the whiteboard was the name Ellen G White. Now I don't speak Spanish but I know that name because she was considered our prophet and I was curious to what was being said about her so I tried to understand.

The man speaking Spanish was using some bizarre translation of the letters of her name into letters and there were arrows and Roman Numerals and at the bottom they added up to 666.

It dawned on me that this must be a Catholic man, the crucifixes everywhere didn't sink in right away, and he was trying to point out that the church of my childhood was the beast of Revelations by saying that Ellen G White's name spelled out 666 just like I had been taught his Pope's hat spelled out 666.

Suffice it to say this realization that everyone involved was completely nuts was a first step towards leaving the whole organized church thing behind me.
posted by M Edward at 7:24 PM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh, thank you internet: Seventh Day Adventists and 666
posted by M Edward at 7:29 PM on February 11, 2013


My thought would have been that he was saying "Look, this is stupid, you can get her name to add up to 666 too", not a coincidentally reciprocal "She is the Antichrist".
posted by Flunkie at 8:08 PM on February 11, 2013


Malor: "Well, even understanding that Papal infallibility is only when speaking ex cathedra, what gets me about the whole thing is that the Pope is infallible because the Pope says he is infallible. And, since he's infallible, he must be right!"

I've pointed to the Wiki article on papal infallibility before, but it's worth pointing out again. The situation is complex, but ex cathedra papal statements asserting infallibility are extremely rare, as in fewer than a dozen ever.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:12 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


1) What do we call the former Pope Benedict XVI?

Ratzy from the block?
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 9:51 PM on February 11, 2013


Lightning strikes St. Peter's Basilica the day the Pope resigned.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 10:17 PM on February 11, 2013


Can't talk. Papin'.
posted by klangklangston at 10:33 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Guardian liveblog linked in the FPP says there's speculation he always intended to resign when he got too frail, and that seems plausible to me. He was part of JPII's staff (not sure what the right term is? not personal staff, obviously) during the long years when JPII was increasingly frail and unable to fulfill many of his duties. It's not a stretch to guess that was a difficult time not just for Ratzinger but all the staff. And as people have already pointed out here, medical and general health advances mean that people live a lot longer now but not necessarily in a condition to provide leadership to a worldwide organisation.

He's lived through a lot of crap so far; he's got an iron will and there's no suggestion of mental ill health; and he's got more than enough power to appoint a scapegoat if he gets in too much trouble. So I doubt he's fleeing any scandals.

I think that just like recent monarchs, he's willingly setting a precedent that can be used to push out future popes who don't want to quit when they get ill. Maybe it's his idea of doing the church one last favour.
posted by harriet vane at 11:37 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh and after the 28th he'll be referred to as Cardinal Ratzinger again.
posted by harriet vane at 11:38 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


What do we call the former Pope Benedict XVI?

#Expontifex, according to Twitter.
posted by aqsakal at 12:08 AM on February 12, 2013


Does anyone have a link to someone with some idea of how often lightning strikes St Peter's Basilica? I mean it is in on a hill and presumably has a lightning rod, is this actually a rare event?
posted by Blasdelb at 12:30 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I kind of wish Cardinal Schönborn's odds were a little better. Even where I briefly thought he was a proponent of intelligent design, on further reading it became apparent that he's not likely to take indefensible positions (scroll down to "Christoph Cardinal Schönborn replies:")
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:24 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's not really on a noticeable hill, but no building in Rome can be built higher than the dome of St. Peter's, at least in the historical downtown area. Not so sure about outside the center. Yes the dome has a lightning rod, as do all of the historically significant sites and monuments. Thunder and lightning storms aren't a very frequent occurrence (at least compared to what I was used to in Texas), so I'd go with more of an infrequent occurrence rather than "rare".
posted by romakimmy at 1:54 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I kind of wish Cardinal Schönborn's odds were a little better. Even where I briefly thought he was a proponent of intelligent design, on further reading it became apparent that he's not likely to take indefensible positions (scroll down to "Christoph Cardinal Schönborn replies:")"

I'm totally with you here, this is a lot of what seems to have reduced his chances, at least in the eyes of the various vatican observers.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:05 AM on February 12, 2013


For another, almost entirely unfair, example of Cardinal Schönborn's perceived lack of liturgical orthodoxy see the ‘Wild Western’ Mass. In his defense, this was an 'Open Air Gospel Mass' which was celebrated within a three-day country music festival in Vienna. The costumes, Confederate Battle Flag (which in those parts is generally seen as an otherwise sterile symbol of American country music, that beef is with tasteless ignorant Austrians and Euro country music fans in general rather than Schönborn or Catholics), and BBQ were part of the event surrounding the mass rather than the mass itself. The video is also clearly edited pretty aggressively to make it look as unorthodox as possible.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:36 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think those are just symptoms of the fact that he's essentially too liberal for the conservative and ultraconservative majority. Yes the two incidents were exaggerated, but even without them he's probably considered unelectable.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:01 AM on February 12, 2013


It dawned on me that this must be a Catholic man, the crucifixes everywhere didn't sink in right away, and he was trying to point out that the church of my childhood was the beast of Revelations by saying that Ellen G White's name spelled out 666 just like I had been taught his Pope's hat spelled out 666.

M Edward, that kind of perspective is not officially Catholic. The phrase "we believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins" is right in the Catholic creed, and what that means is that if you got baptized by any Christian denomination, then that counts as you being Christian and that's that. That kind of "this is a false Christian doctrine" is NOT taught by the Vatican.

You do have wing-nut factions who claim to be Catholic and may say things like this about one other denomination or another, but I'm talking the same far-right wing-nuts like the guys who haven't acknowledged a pope since 1963 and who set up their own churches in their back yards and hold mass for themselves in Latin. The Vatican does not teach this.

I give you my word on this, as both a former Catholic and as a descendant of William Miller.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:19 AM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pope's brother: Pontiff was troubled by butler's revelations
Pope Benedict XVI was troubled by "some great challenges" during his time in office -- including allegations of corruption within the church that were illegally exposed by his former butler and his relationship with a controversial Catholic brotherhood -- the pontiff’s brother said Tuesday.
posted by ericb at 7:55 AM on February 12, 2013


Pope Had Secret Heart Surgery.
posted by ericb at 8:30 AM on February 12, 2013


A few notes on Popes:

There's already been an African pope (and he might have been black).

It will be awkward that he's still alive, when it comes to the part where they have to burn his heart and see if the smoke is black or white.

They don't burn the pope's heart, they burn straw or ballots. What they do with pope hearts is arguably weirder (self-linky but relevant).

I would love a tell-all book followed by a documentary that interviews everyone concerned with his elevation and and his resignation.

You'll probably get your wish (or at least pretty close to it) when this book is inevitably translated into English.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 9:37 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


They don't burn the pope's heart, they burn straw or ballots.

I think that was a failed attempt at humor on Sticky Carpet's part, there....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:39 AM on February 12, 2013


ericb : The Holy See 'Ya Later!

Alternatively: Holy-See-me, Now-you-don't!
posted by quin at 9:43 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks, Empress. It's hard read sarcasm when the truth is just as strange. "Oh no, we would never burn a pope's heart! We preserve collections of them in golden urns in Rome, silly!"
posted by Thin Lizzy at 9:45 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


'Femen' activists go topless to hail pope's resignation
posted by homunculus at 10:03 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pope Had Secret Heart Surgery

Blessed are the pacemakers...
posted by rocket88 at 10:07 AM on February 12, 2013 [12 favorites]


Pope Had Secret Heart Surgery.

Maybe it is the Catholic frame of mind, but I read that as Pope Had Sacred Heart Surgery.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:36 AM on February 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Catholics really don't have terms for subtle hearts like the sufis do, or else it would be easier to riff on the surgery.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:39 AM on February 12, 2013


Eligio Lenar Hoyt.
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 10:52 AM on February 12, 2013


Only a day after announcing his resignation, today the outgoing Pontiff launched a new Kickstarter campaign to produce a line of Popemobile-inspired, bulletproof glass iPhone cases. "They're infallible!™"
posted by oulipian at 11:53 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos: "like the guys who haven't acknowledged a pope since 1963 and who set up their own churches in their back yards and hold mass for themselves in Latin. "

I have got to know more about this.
posted by scrump at 12:54 PM on February 12, 2013


On topics Biblical: The Autocorrected Bible. From Cotex.

Mezentian, I know you meant Cortex up there, but I read that as Kotex, and it really threw me for a minute.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:56 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have got to know more about this.

Behold the Tridentinists, the sedevacantists and the conclavists. I've been a little glib in my description, but not by all that much.

(Fun fact: Mel Gibson's father is a sedevacantist, and he and Mel pooled money to take over a church in Pittsburgh and set it up as a Tridentine sedevacantist parish. Then there's also the guy in Kansas who appointed himself Pope in 1990 because he didn't buy JP II's authority; at last count he claims to have thirty "solid" followers.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:04 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Scrump, you're in luck.
posted by lineofsight at 1:06 PM on February 12, 2013


Wait...resigned???? The bestest job-for-life and he resigned????

Isn't that the same surprise expressed in the thread about the OBL "Shooter" not serving out his last three years in the Navy? Is there no TRICARE in the Holy See to hang in for?
posted by wenestvedt at 1:06 PM on February 12, 2013


Vatican history of 'cover-ups and disarray' will challenge new pope.
posted by ericb at 7:12 AM on February 13, 2013


Did The Pope Resign To Avoid Facing A Major About-To-Break Scandal?
... Benedict’s stated reason is his waning strength, but that hasn’t stopped the rumors. As Cardinal, Ratzinger was John Paul II’s enforcement officer — he rode herd on the many sex scandals and their “containment.” Was he involved in crimes of concealment? Almost certainly, but there’s little direct public evidence. Is there new explosive documentation that could lay the dead cat of scandal at his personal door? Nothing has been revealed so far that’s worse than what we’ve seen (search for “Munich”), and Ratzinger has weathered those storms.

Still, why so sudden? Is there something about the timing?

At that point in our discussion [WNHN talk show host] Arnie [Arnesen] pointed me to a couple of links I hadn’t seen involving a Rhode Island court case against the so-called “Legion of Christ,” a Catholic group with very close ties both to John Paul II and Ratzinger, and its notorious (and sexually prolific) founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel. I bring up Arnie Arnesen because she personally knows one of the principals in the lawsuit and has additional information. I’ll add her contribution below the news pieces.

So what’s the news regarding Maciel? This isn’t complicated, but it has a couple of pieces.

Those are:
■ Who is Marcial Maciel and why is he notorious?

■ What are his ties to John Paul II and to Ratzinger (both before and after his election as Benedict XVI)?

■ What is alleged in the lawsuit against Maciel?

■ What’s going to happen on February 15? (Yep, a deadline, and just around the corner.)
I’ll deal with each piece in order so you can put them together easily. As I say, it’s not complicated, I promise. [continues...]
posted by ericb at 8:53 AM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


This increases the number of popecoins, which is inflationary.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:40 PM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


John Cassidy | The New Yorker: The Disastrous Influence of Pope Benedict XVI.
posted by ericb at 5:18 PM on February 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pope Benedict 'complicit in child sex abuse scandals', say victims' groups -- "Pope Benedict XVI 'knew more about clergy sex crimes than anyone else in church yet did little to protect children', say critics."
posted by ericb at 5:21 PM on February 13, 2013


A pope hasn't stepped down from office for 600 years. What was the "media frenzy" like in 1415?
posted by Chrysostom at 7:14 AM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


NYT: Pope Says He Will Be ‘Hidden to the World’ in Retirement
posted by Chrysostom at 12:30 PM on February 14, 2013


Vatican Secrets: After Pope Benedict Resignation Bombshell, Talk Of Head Injury, Retirement Residence, Pacemaker.
posted by ericb at 1:38 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


SUPPLY POPE HASN'T EVEN READ THE BIBLE
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:28 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]



SUPPLY POPE HASN'T EVEN READ THE BIBLE


Wait, Micheal Caine isn't a saint yet? Why the fuck not? How is he not a knight?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:35 PM on February 14, 2013


Map of Non-European Popes
posted by unliteral at 7:30 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Adrian IV was born in Hertfordshire, England.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:00 PM on February 14, 2013


Pope Benedict XVI’s leaked documents show fractured Vatican full of rivalries.
posted by ericb at 6:50 AM on February 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


So when will his trial begin?

Pope Benedict's decision to live in the Vatican after he resigns will provide him with security and privacy. It will also offer legal protection from any attempt to prosecute him in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world, Church sources and legal experts say.
posted by homunculus at 2:50 PM on February 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ratzinger Hounded then De-Frocked Matthew Fox-- For Practicing Liberation Theology-- Now Fox Comments on the Departing Pope and the Catholic Church
posted by homunculus at 2:53 PM on February 17, 2013


The "International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State" claims the Pope resigned to avoid arrest and the seizure of church property... is this a hoax? Who are these guys?
posted by molecicco at 2:14 AM on February 18, 2013


If you go to this page you will see a list of member.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:43 AM on February 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


For a moment, I thought that was a typo, but yes, it is just one member. Kevin Annett, a Canadian who has an Italian Wikipedia entry but not an English one.
posted by molecicco at 2:58 AM on February 18, 2013


Ah darn, I came to post a link to an interesting article about the inside of the Vatican, but ericb beat me to it already.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 5:40 PM on February 18, 2013


Boston's sandal-wearing Cardinal O'Malley getting papal buzz.
posted by ericb at 12:51 PM on February 20, 2013


Pope's decision 'partly prompted' by claims over influence of gay lobby.
posted by ericb at 8:27 AM on February 21, 2013


Papal resignation linked to inquiry into 'Vatican gay officials', says paper.
Pope's staff decline to confirm or deny La Repubblica claims linking 'Vatileaks' affair and discovery of 'blackmailed gay clergy'.
WAPO : - Pope Benedict XVI’s leaked documents show fractured Vatican full of rivalries.
posted by adamvasco at 4:46 AM on February 22, 2013


Vatican blasts Italian media for ‘false and damaging’ reports.
posted by ericb at 8:50 AM on February 23, 2013


In fairness, most of what the media, and the Italian media especially, reports about the church is damaging and much of that is in some way false.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:28 AM on February 23, 2013


"CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield covered the [gay lobby] story Saturday, inviting Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman to share details of the report with the American audience." [w/ video].
posted by ericb at 1:22 PM on February 23, 2013


Conclave 2.0: Top 10 reasons why this version is different.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:45 PM on February 23, 2013


Bruce Schneier: How hard would it be to hack the papal election?
posted by Chrysostom at 8:12 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pope says Vatileaks probe will stay secret, adding intrigue to final days.
posted by ericb at 9:12 AM on February 25, 2013


Fun conversation last night with my friend the Erstwhile Seminarian (tm). He actually applauded Ratzinger's resignation because it made more sense logistically; he pointed to the lengths the church was going to to try (and fail) to hide JPII's obvious growing enfeeblement. He also just plain didn't like Ratzinger (he's been boycotting mass and calling Ratzinger "the Papist Rapist" for at least 3 years now, and remarked last night that "hey, maybe they'll pick someone that will make me actually want to be Catholic again").

But he also expressed a hope that when the conclave starts, that they first ask for "okay, guys, let's have all of you who've got any chance of a scandal biting you in the ass, speak up now so we can just disqualify you out of the gate."

I also asked what he thought the odds were of anyone from the US being named Pope and he laughed a very long time. So, not so much.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:26 PM on February 26, 2013


Michelangelo Signorile on the Vatican's gay fear:
"The swiftness with which the pope accepted [U.K.'s Cardinal Keith] O'Brien's resignation, before the cardinals had even met to elect a new pope, reveals how much the Vatican is deathly afraid of how the gay issue will play out. If the allegations against O'Brien are true, the story would expose to the world the hypocrisy and self-loathing of powerful men who condemn homosexuality -- and blame the ills of the world on it -- while they may be secretly gay themselves."
posted by ericb at 1:11 PM on February 26, 2013


I only just now learned about this:

Dutch Roman Catholic Church 'castrated at least 10 boys'
At least 10 teenage boys or young men under the age of 21 were surgically castrated "to get rid of homosexuality" while in the care of the Dutch Roman Catholic Church in the 1950s.
...
The NRC Handelsblad newspaper identified Henk Heithuis who was castrated in 1956, while a minor, after reporting priests to the police for abusing him in a Catholic boarding home.
...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/netherlands/9153676/Dutch-Roman-Catholic-Church-castrated-at-least-10-boys.html

posted by sebastienbailard at 3:03 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Andrew Sullivan Alleges: The Pope May Be In A Gay Relationship With One Of His Secretaries.
posted by ericb at 12:51 PM on February 27, 2013


Pics of the secretary
posted by empath at 7:20 PM on February 27, 2013


I refuse to believe the Pope is in a gay relationship because ew.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:41 PM on February 27, 2013


If there's one thing that's become clear about the modern Vatican, it's that ew is no longer a major barrier.
posted by jaduncan at 1:52 AM on February 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Re: old people having sex, I'm not sure what the problem is. I agree with Cortex's take on it. I mean, I don't tank about it constantly, but I hope to still behaving sex when I'm old and wrinkled.

Also, Andrew Sullivan is a crazy person, God love him, and I think you should take anything he says with a bag of salt.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:16 AM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have no problem with old people having sex, but Benedict has less sex appeal than Return of the Jedi Palpatine.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:58 AM on February 28, 2013


People without sex appeal deserve lovin' too.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:16 AM on February 28, 2013


old people having sex, I'm not sure what the problem is.

It's not about 'old people', it's about 'the pope', who's job it is to be the world's foremost celibate homophobe.
posted by empath at 3:22 AM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Others have wavered on that "celibate" bit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:05 AM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's not about 'old people', it's about 'the pope', who's job it is to be the world's foremost celibate homophobe.

In fairness, that secretary is quite hot as elderly priests go. I'm just trying to decide if twink is an absolute or relative title.
posted by jaduncan at 6:21 AM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Andrew Sullivan Alleges: The Pope May Be In A Gay Relationship With One Of His Secretaries.

I hear that they plan to adopt Trig and move to WeHo.

But to be fair, Sullivan's clear that there's no evidence to suggest that the Pope has violated his vows. By "gay," he means, well, non-consummatedly gay, that Ganswein and Benedict appear to have a great deal of pretty intimate affection for one another even extending to continuing to live with Benedict in the Vatican monastery after his resignation while working a day job as secretary to the next Pope. Of course, there's no reason any of this should matter, except for, you know, that whole Church thing.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:52 AM on February 28, 2013


Empress, the most recent pope on that list died in 1555.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:11 AM on February 28, 2013


the most recent pope on that list died in 1555.

So? People still make Lolcatholic jokes about indulgences time to time, which are similarly old, so I'm not sure what your point is.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:29 AM on February 28, 2013


I guess my point is that comparisons to something that happened almost half a millennium ago aren't likely to be relevant. Indulgences included.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:41 AM on February 28, 2013


Sorry if that came off cranky, EC.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:51 AM on February 28, 2013


I guess my point is that comparisons to something that happened almost half a millennium ago aren't likely to be relevant. Indulgences included.

Sadly, from what I've seen there are plenty of people who would disagree with you on that, but that's another story so let's set that aside.

For the record, my own point was that while people do indeed have expectations for the Pope, it is still nevertheless a fact that not everyone has been 100% perfect in meeting those expectations. Some have failed in small ways; some in big ways. So the fact that there's a possibility that the pope may not have been celibate during his tenure is not novel; Popes, just like every human, are human. They fuck up. It's unusual that this particular kind of fuckup hasn't been part of the rumormill for 500 years, but there have been other kinds of Papal fuckups during that time period. (It's also possible that there have been more recent sexually-based fuckups that we didn't know about.)

And that's actually why I'm not understanding why "something that happened almost a millennia ago isn't relevant" when we're talking about human fallibility. Humans have not changed all that much in 500 years, after all. I've actually always been....I don't know if "amused" is the right word, but I always note that whenever any kind of scandal like this comes out, or even just the rumor of such a scandal, there is always a lot of shock and implication that "mercy, this has never happened before" - but, it has always happened before. Hell, when everyone was getting the vapors over Clinton and Monica Lewinsky and saying that there had never been such a scandal in Washington before, I was over in the corner thinking, "wait, what about the Congressional Pages in 1983 or JFK or Warren Harding knocking up a girl in the Oval Office coat closet or...."

Sorry if that came off cranky, EC.

Nah, you're cool.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:57 AM on February 28, 2013


Business Insider:
Sullivan isn't exactly alone in his suspicions. He points towards a book by Angelo Quattrocchi (playfully titled "The Pope is Not Gay") that he felt reached similar conclusions. In addition, former Benedictine monk-priest and author Richard Sipe claims to have spoken to a number of Roman clerics and members of the Roman press corps who were "convinced" that Benedict XVI was gay.

Of course, it doesn't help the rumors that Ganswein has become something of a star in his own right. He's been dubbed the "The George Clooney of the Vatican,” and appeared on the cover of the Italian Vanity Fair under the headline “It’s no sin to be good looking.” Donatella Versace has even dedicated a menswear collection to him.
posted by ericb at 10:13 AM on February 28, 2013


"I guess my point is that comparisons to something that happened almost half a millennium ago aren't likely to be relevant. Indulgences included."

When did the last pope resign?
posted by klangklangston at 10:15 AM on February 28, 2013


Ha, yes, 1415. But I think you're talking apples and oranges. Humans are always fallible, as EC pointed out above, but the nature of the papacy has changed radically, and thus, what we can expect the failures of the pontiff to be.

Whatever the secret reason (if any) turned out to have forced out Benedict XVI, it's not going to be because he held another Banquet of Chestnuts, or that he sold the papacy to the highest bidder, or that he'd been invoking pagan gods while playing dice. The fact that those things were done by an occupant of the same office is interesting, but not really relevant to an analysis of the current situation.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:51 AM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


he drank a toast to the Devil, and while playing at dice invoked the name of Jupiter, Venus and other pagan gods.

Holy shit, that Pope rules.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:05 AM on February 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Humans are always fallible, as EC pointed out above, but the nature of the papacy has changed radically, and thus, what we can expect the failures of the pontiff to be.

Huh. I'm inclined to disagree, but could I get you to elaborate on this?

(Am inclined to disagree because the role of the pope is to lead the church - and that hasn't changed all that much. The world which the church is in has changed radically, and the kind of leadership best suited for the task may have changed, but since the pope's purpose is to lead the church, and since that hasn't changed, I'm not sure that it's a fair claim to make that "the nature has changed radically." But I'm curious what you mean and have a feeling we may be talking about the same thing in different ways after all.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:35 AM on February 28, 2013


Well, in that the modern day role of the church is basically spiritual, whereas in the medieval period it was-at least de facto-also a powerful temporal body. It directly ruled a good chunk of central Italy and crowned the Holy Roman Emperor. It owned vast estates across Europe and was exempt from taxation and above most laws.

So, in my view, the temptations facing a medieval pope were rather different than those facing one today. Maybe a better to express it would be that, given the different status of the church today, the same eternal temptations (Seven Deadly Sins, etc.) express themselves in different ways. No doubt the church houses those who lust for power, but I don't think you'll see a modern pope issue a bull like Unam Sanctam.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:52 AM on February 28, 2013


Oh, yeah, good point.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:54 AM on February 28, 2013


"Ha, yes, 1415. But I think you're talking apples and oranges. Humans are always fallible, as EC pointed out above, but the nature of the papacy has changed radically, and thus, what we can expect the failures of the pontiff to be. "

I think that's fair. However, given that one of the prime justifications for the church on nearly anything is its historical continuity and tradition, it's still worth considering that in evaluating the current church. And more to the point, that there's a fair amount of evidence that prior popes have responded to celibate with "Buy a bit," is germane as a refutation of the presumption of celibacy — it's more likely that other popes have bent the rules and simply not been caught than the idea that for 500 years they've managed to stamp it all out, especially given that there've been a raft of allegations against Cardinals, etc.

So, ultimately, I think that the construction that the same temptations animate mortal actions though they'll be expressed in a contemporary style is pretty accurate, and that doesn't preclude Benny from having his mitre polished. (Though, frankly, I gotta say that not every homosocial intimate friendship between guys is homosexual, and I get kinda annoyed at the innuendo without documentation.)
posted by klangklangston at 12:27 PM on February 28, 2013


(I haven't read the entire thread, so apologies if the following has been said here before...)

The pope quitting is a bigger thing than most people realize.
You don't get "elected" pope. It's not an election or anything like that.
According to the Catholic church, it's God's will, which manifests itself through the actions of the cardinals.

So, by quitting, Ratzinger is actually making God's will something that can be weighed against earthly considerations, such as one's own health. This has profound implications with regard to any number of issues that the Catholic church used to be very conservative on.

Sure, it may have been God's will that you're pregnant, but you are now allowed to weigh that against your personal health.
Sure, a marriage may be a bond forged by God, but if the Pope is allowed to quit his papacy, surely people are also allowed to quit failed marriages.
Sure, God may be against gay marriage, but everything is negotiable these days, isn't it?

This is all the more remarkable, as Ratzinger himself used to be a very strong voice against this relativism. In fact, maybe one of the last true conservatives. And you could hate him for that, but at least you had to respect him for standing by his beliefs.

Until he quit, that is...
posted by sour cream at 1:23 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


sour cream: "So, by quitting, Ratzinger is actually making God's will something that can be weighed against earthly considerations, such as one's own health."

Benedict XVI was not the first pope to resign-at minimum, he was preceded by Celestine V and Gregory XII, and likely several others. Further, the 1983 revision of Canon Law provides (Canon 332.2) for the resignation of the pope.

Benedict is not forging any new territory here, historically, legally, or theologically.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:39 PM on February 28, 2013


I hope stuff like this is enough to keep Dolan out of consideration
In 2006, the archdiocese agreed to pay $17 million to settle a California lawsuit with 10 victims of two Milwaukee priests who were relocated there after Milwaukee church officials learned of their sexual misconduct with minors. Of the $17 million, insurance companies paid $8.75 million of the tab and the archdiocese announced it would sell the Cousins Center to pay a large part of the debt.

Later, as part of the bankruptcy in Milwaukee, the archdiocese claimed it had never owned the property. Instead, it has been listed on financial statements since 2004 as being owned by the De Sales Preparatory Seminary Inc., the separate entity that had operated a now-defunct high school at that location. The archdiocese told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that it pays about $650,000 a year in upkeep but does not pay rent on the property.

Around the same time, then-Archbishop Dolan transferred $55 million to a trust fund to oversee the care of eight cemeteries the archdiocese owns. Another $74 million was moved into a restricted fund for parishes. While Kelley said "arguably there was something 'fishy' about the transfer" of the parish funds, the claimants could not sue to recover the money.
posted by drezdn at 5:23 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


he drank a toast to the Devil, and while playing at dice invoked the name of Jupiter, Venus and other pagan gods.

Greg Nog: “Holy shit, that Pope rules.”

But he was found to have been wearing armour! Such hideous sacrilege must not be allowed to stand in the august office of the Pope.
posted by koeselitz at 6:25 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seriously, if you're gonna roll up a cleric, you gotta play cleric. That guy should have gone paladin maybe.
posted by cortex at 6:52 PM on February 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Andrew Sullivan WTF:
It seems pretty obvious to me – as it does to Angelo Quattrochi, whose book is reviewed by Toibin – that the current Pope is a gay man [...] At times, it seems to me, his gayness is almost wince-inducing. The prissy fastidiousness, the effeminate voice, the fixation on liturgy and ritual, and the over-the-top clothing accessories [...] I would like to return to the world where this kind of speculation was disgraceful, unnecessary and blasphemous. But when this Pope has already enabled the rape of children, has covered up the crimes of many priests, when he has responded by blaming gay men for the moral failings of his own church, when he has publicly demanded that gay Catholics remain in the closet, i.e. lie about themselves as a sacred duty … then such deference becomes much more difficult.
So, he wouldn't normally accuse someone of being gay, even when their "prissy fastidiousness" and "effeminate voice" are "almost wince-inducing", but in this case he'll make an exception. Because of the children.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:54 PM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Seriously, if you're gonna roll up a cleric, you gotta play cleric. That guy should have gone paladin maybe."

Clerics can wear heavy armor, and there's no voluntary conduct for going without.
posted by klangklangston at 7:15 PM on February 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Maybe the big secret is that someone caught Benedict using an edged weapon.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:32 PM on February 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Sorry, I was discussing a vintage GURPS variant from Tacoma. It's pretty obscure, you probably haven't heard of it.
posted by cortex at 7:34 PM on February 28, 2013


I thought you'd be using the CORTEX system.

Anyway, Benedict was obviously blackmailed by another Godwalker of whatever Avatar he's following.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:39 PM on February 28, 2013


IN THE YEAR 2198: Excommunication is a harsh sentence. Can you stand up to the Pope’s attack fleets?
posted by Chrysostom at 7:51 PM on February 28, 2013


"Sorry, I was discussing a vintage GURPS variant from Tacoma. It's pretty obscure, you probably haven't heard of it."

So, I was talking to our legislative associate up at the SF awards, and he mentions wishing that the legislature had a Dungeon Master's Guide, and his wife giggles a little and says she has a sparkly d20, and then I'm like, "Actually if you wanted you could use GURPS to create an RPG all about civil servants and parliamentary procedure it wouldn't be that hard" and mimed pushing glasses up my nose.

And then there was that awkward moment where I realized that I had totally overnerded the conversation and spent a couple minutes giving a stammering explanation of what GURPS was and how d100 games were different and um er ugh.
posted by klangklangston at 8:10 PM on February 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


So, he wouldn't normally accuse someone of being gay, even when their "prissy fastidiousness" and "effeminate voice" are "almost wince-inducing", but in this case he'll make an exception. Because of the children.

He calls out closeted gay homophobes all the time (Lindsey Graham, for example).
posted by empath at 8:23 PM on February 28, 2013


Yeah, but it's that note of revulsion and the stereotyped way he describes him. I mean, I don't think much of Henry Kissinger, but I wouldn't go on about his hooked nose, his muddy complexion, his guttural Yiddish accent, the Talmudic focus on legal justification rather than Christian mercy ...
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:53 PM on February 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I would never deny that Andrew Sullivan has issues.
posted by empath at 10:25 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Truly a Vatican sin: comic sans.
posted by jaduncan at 1:43 AM on March 1, 2013


There is a long Christian, and specifically Catholic, tradition of super close male friendships that in the modern understanding of how human relationships work would indeed look awful gay, but aren't necessarily - or are at least orthogonal to our modern understanding of what it is to be gay. Indeed, using the model that the higher ups in the Catholic Church use for understanding homosexuality and sexuality in general, which is pretty non-intuitive, having a pope who could be physiologically described as being high on the Kinsey scale would be perfectly consistent theologically. It would be thought of as a reflection of his inherent sin, but in much the same way an attraction to women would be.

Indeed, if the pope loves his secretary, or even if he has a special love for his secretary, that at least should be entirely uncontroversial setting aside homophobia that is not specifically Catholic. What would be a problem would be if the pope harbored lust for his secretary, and those soft blue eyes of his, which would also be pretty much as bad as boning him.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:18 AM on March 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Apparently the election of the new Pope is so exciting that everybody wants a piece of the action.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:30 AM on March 5, 2013


From wolfdreams' article linked above, reprinted without comment (emphasis mine):
Alert Swiss Guards rumbled him because his vestments were wrong and because they noticed his purple sash was really a scarf and he was also wearing an odd looking fedora hat...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:48 AM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not only that: the guy next to him is wearing a yarmulke.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:01 PM on March 5, 2013


'Jesus Christ with an MBA'? Cardinals' differing hopes for next pope.
posted by ericb at 1:32 PM on March 5, 2013


It's a zucchetto, which is just the best word.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:36 PM on March 5, 2013


A case of parallel fashion evolution.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:39 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Um, I think Joe was actually making a joke. : )
posted by ericb at 1:44 PM on March 5, 2013


I chuckled.
posted by ericb at 1:44 PM on March 5, 2013


:-)

There was a famous photo of, I think, John Paul II and the Prime Minister of Israel. The caption read "His Holiness the Pope with the Prime Minister of Israel. The Pope is the one wearing the yarmulke."
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:20 PM on March 5, 2013


I know he was, it's just that you don't get to use the word zucchetto that often.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:52 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's also a word for zucchini blossoms dipped in chickpea batter and deep fried.

No, not really, but if enough people claim that this then the magic of the Internet will cause it to be true.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:20 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Make your own zucchetto [PDF].
posted by unliteral at 8:02 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hope that Barbarin gets the papacy. He looks very cool on a bike sporting a french beret.
posted by francesca too at 7:17 PM on March 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is a song about love
posted by flabdablet at 6:54 AM on March 9, 2013


Exposing Vatican secrets a 'dangerous' mission, says Vatileaks journalist.
posted by ericb at 9:43 AM on March 9, 2013


With reference to unSane's comment and Sullivan's musings Two Popes One Secretary.
Benedict's trusted secretary Monsignor Georg Gaänswein will be serving both pontiffs – living with Benedict at the monastery inside the Vatican and keeping his day job as prefect of the new pope's household.
posted by adamvasco at 12:03 PM on March 9, 2013


Vatican report hidden from the cardinals electing the next pope
Before the conclave, Benedict XVI ordered an inquiry into Vatican leaks. Now the men who will choose his successor demand its full disclosure.
posted by adamvasco at 9:57 AM on March 10, 2013


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