Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch can't say the word penguin. (SLGrahamNorton)
What’s it like for the first living ex-pope in 600 years to watch from up close as the successor he enabled dismantles his legacy?
After a right-wing coup crushed the reforms of Vatican II, one scholar says the last two popes are illegitimate. It comes near the end of a thousand-year history of the Vatican’s global rise to power, ambiguous flourishing and rapid decline. It also comes after 40 years of internal counterrevolution under the previous two popes, during which a group of hardcore right-wing cardinals have consolidated power in the Curia and stamped out nearly all traces of the 1960s liberal reform agenda of Pope John XXIII and Vatican II. A handful of intellectuals, both inside and outside the church, quietly believe that means Pope Francis isn’t a legitimate pope at all.
After the rumoured murder of John Paul I and the attempts on the life of John Paul II, and following an old, old tradition, an Italian daily has now published a restricted document purporting to warn Benedict XVI of a plot to kill him before the end of this year.
Pope Benedict XVI has announced the establishment of a new Vatican department dedicated to tackling what he called 'a grave crisis in the sense of the Christian faith and the role of the Church." The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of New Evangelisation will (per Archbishop Vincent Nichols,) focus on countries "in which, even though the Christian Gospel has shaped an entire culture," secularism now reigns, in what the Pope termed an "eclipse of a sense of God." [more inside]
As ongoing investigations into the sexual abuse of children, cover-ups and avoidance of justice climb the hierarchy of the Catholic church to implicate Pope Benedict himself, the head of the Vatican's tribunal has taken the unprecedented step of publicly reinforcing the Pope's status not as father of the church but as a head of state - and thus immune from prosecution. [more inside]
Caritas in Veritate (summary here), Benedict XVI's third encyclical, hit the presses last week and made it into Obama's hands on Friday. Part of a large body of Catholic social thinking, Benedict called for a United Nations "with teeth" (maybe it could happen) and a focus on authentic human development, grounded on a focus on the whole person and an economics governed by love. [more inside]
Illustrator Rob Nance presents: The Do-It-Yourself Posable Paper David Hasselhoff and Pope Benedict.
An entire realm chained and locked shut. Who shall inherit all the lost souls? (Especially since it apparently contains everyone who died before the coming of Christ.)
Pope Benedict XVI wants to bring back the latin mass. This could be the start of a return to the old Catholic traditionalism and the undoing of Vatican II.