The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle with the Modern World

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From that point forward, he and his staff seemed driven by a convert's zeal to clean up the mess". According to Charles J.

Living the Mission

Scicluna, a former prosecutor handling sexual abuse cases, "Cardinal Ratzinger displayed great wisdom and firmness in handling those cases, also demonstrating great courage in facing some of the most difficult and thorny cases, sine acceptione personarum without exceptions ". One of the cases Ratzinger pursued involved Father Marcial Maciel Degollado , a Mexican priest and founder of the Legion of Christ, who had been accused repeatedly of sexual abuse. This was not always met with approval in the Vatican". In March , the Pope sent a Pastoral Letter to the Catholic Church in Ireland addressing cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests to minors, expressing sorrow, and promising changes in the way accusations of abuse are dealt with.

In April, the Vatican issued guidelines on how existing Church law should be implemented. The guideline dictates that "Civil law concerning reporting of crimes Pope Benedict XVI re-introduced several papal garments which had fallen into disuse.

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Pope Benedict XVI resumed the use of the traditional red papal shoes , which had been used since Roman times by popes but which had fallen into disuse during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II. Contrary to the initial speculation of the press that the shoes had been made by the Italian fashion house Prada , the Vatican announced that the shoes were provided by the Pope's personal shoemaker. On only one occasion, 21 December , the Pope wore the camauro , the traditional red papal hat usually worn in the winter. On 6 September , the Pope began wearing the red cappello romano also called a saturno , a wide-brimmed hat for outdoor use.

Rarely used by John Paul II, it was more widely worn by his predecessors. The journalist Charlotte Allen describes Benedict as "the pope of aesthetics": "He has reminded a world that looks increasingly ugly and debased that there is such a thing as the beautiful—whether it's embodied in a sonata or an altarpiece or an embroidered cope or the cut of a cassock—and that earthly beauty ultimately communicates a beauty that is beyond earthly things. Prior to his election as pope in , Ratzinger had hoped to retire—on account of age-related health problems, a long-held desire to have free time to write, and the retirement age for bishops 75 —and submitted his resignation as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith three times, but continued at his post in obedience to the wishes of Pope John Paul II.

In September , Ratzinger suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, which slightly impaired his eyesight temporarily but he recovered completely. Following his election in April there were several rumors about the Pope's health, but none of them were confirmed. Early in his pontificate Benedict XVI predicted a short reign, which led to concerns about his health. French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin said that since the first stroke Ratzinger had been suffering from an age-related heart condition, for which he was on medication.

In late November Vatican insiders told the international press that the Pope had had a routine examination of the heart. On 17 July , Benedict was hospitalized after falling and breaking his right wrist while on vacation in the Alps; his injuries were reported to be minor.

Full text of Benedict XVI: ‘The Church and the scandal of sexual abuse’

Following the announcement of his resignation, the Vatican revealed that Pope Benedict had been fitted with a pacemaker while he was still a cardinal, before his election as pope in The battery in the pacemaker had been replaced three months earlier, a routine procedure, but that did not influence his decision. Currently, Benedict has multiple health problems including high blood pressure and reportedly has fallen out of bed more than once, but the Vatican denies any specific illnesses. On 11 February , the Vatican confirmed that Benedict XVI would resign the papacy on 28 February , as a result of his advanced age, [] becoming the first pope to resign since Gregory XII in The move was unexpected.

Benedict was the first pope to resign without external pressure since Celestine V in He also declared that he would continue to serve the church "through a life dedicated to prayer". According to a statement from the Vatican, the timing of the resignation was not caused by any specific illness but was to "avoid that exhausting rush of Easter engagements". On the eve of the first anniversary of Benedict's resignation he wrote to La Stampa to deny speculation he had been forced to step down.

Speculation about its invalidity is simply absurd," he wrote. On the morning of 28 February , Pope Benedict met with the full College of Cardinals and in the early afternoon flew by helicopter to the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. He stayed there until refurbishment was completed on his retirement home, the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican Gardens near St Peter's, formerly home to 12 nuns, where he moved on 2 May It has a garden of more than 2, square meters that overlooks the monastery and is adjacent to the current "Pope's garden".

A few tens of meters away is the building of Vatican Radio. After his resignation, Benedict XVI retained his papal name rather than reverting to his birth name. He ceased wearing red papal shoes. The inscription on the statue, according to Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo , has the coat of arms of the two popes to symbolize the fact that statue was commissioned by Benedict XVI, and consecrated by Francis.


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Benedict XVI made his first public appearance after his resignation at St. Peter's Basilica on 22 February to attend the first papal consistory of his successor Pope Francis. Benedict XVI, who entered the basilica through a discreet entrance, was seated in a row with several other cardinals. He doffed his zucchetto when Pope Francis came down the nave of St.

Peter's Basilica to greet him. In August , Benedict XVI celebrated Mass at the Vatican and met with his former doctoral students, an annual tradition he has kept since the s. Benedict XVI attended the consistory for new cardinals in February , greeting Pope Francis at the beginning of the celebration. Lombardi told journalists on 15 June. Benedict XVI remained there for two weeks. It includes books by or about him and his studies, many donated by Benedict XVI himself. In March , he gave an interview expressing his views on mercy and endorsing Pope Francis's stress on mercy in his pastoral practice.

The pope emeritus was honoured by the Roman Curia and Pope Francis in at a special audience, honouring the 65th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Benedict XVI, later that year in November, did not attend the consistory for new cardinals, though he did meet with them and Pope Francis at his residence after the consistory had taken place.

On 28 June , the Pope Emeritus received the newly created cardinals in his chapel and "spoke with all of them in their native tongue" while also remarking that they were "from the four continents, the whole church". He further said that "The Lord wins in the end" and "thank you all", he said, before giving them his blessing.

In his message, the Pope Emeritus referred to Meisner as a "passionate shepherd and pastor" who found it "difficult to leave his post". The former pope also said that he had spoken on the telephone with Meisner the day before the latter died and related that Meisner was grateful to be on vacation after having been present for the beatification of Teofilius Matulionis in Vilnius.

The former pope suffered the hematoma earlier after having slipped. The best-known title, that of "Pope", does not appear in the official list of titles, but is commonly used in the titles of documents, and appears, in abbreviated form, in their signatures as "PP. Before 1 March , the list of titles also used to contain that of a " Patriarch of the West ", which traditionally appeared in that list of titles before "Primate of Italy".

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Benedict of Nursia

The title of "Patriarch of the West" was first introduced into the papal court in at the time of the First Vatican Council in the publication Annuario Pontificio and was removed in the edition. Pope Benedict chose to remove the title at a time when discussions with the Orthodox churches have centered on the issue of papal primacy.


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In , the pope listed several ways to combat the spread of HIV, including chastity, fidelity in marriage and anti-poverty efforts; he also rejected the use of condoms. I would say that this problem of AIDS cannot be overcome merely with money, necessary though it is. If there is no human dimension, if Africans do not help, the problem cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics: on the contrary, they increase it.

Cardinal Ratzinger On Europe's Crisis of Culture

The solution must have two elements: firstly, bringing out the human dimension of sexuality, that is to say a spiritual and human renewal that would bring with it a new way of behaving towards others, and secondly, true friendship offered above all to those who are suffering, a willingness to make sacrifices and to practise self-denial, to be alongside the suffering.

In November , in a book-length interview, the pope, using the example of male prostitutes, stated that the use of condoms, with the intention of reducing the risk of HIV infection, may be an indication that the prostitute is intending to reduce the evil connected with his immoral activity.

Further, in December , the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith explained that the pope's statement did not constitute a legitimization of either contraception or prostitution, which remains gravely immoral. The letter condemned a liberal interpretation of the earlier CDF document Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics , which had led to a "benign" attitude "to the homosexual condition itself". On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons clarified that the Church's position on homosexuality was that "although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.

Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. In , he again approved CDF documents declaring that homosexual "inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder" and extended this principle to civil law. On 22 December , the pope gave an end-of-year message to the Roman Curia in which he talked about gender and the important distinction between men and women.

The pope said that the Church viewed the distinction as central to human nature, and "asks that this order of creation be respected".

The Church, he said, must "protect man from self-destruction. He attacked gender theories which he described as "man's attempt at self-emancipation from creation and the Creator. Father Federico Lombardi , a Vatican spokesman, claimed the pope had not wished specifically to attack people with homosexual inclinations, and had not mentioned gays or lesbians in his text. Father Lombardi insisted that there had been an overreaction to the pope's remarks: "He was speaking more generally about gender theories which overlook the fundamental difference in creation between men and women and focus instead on cultural conditioning.

During a Christmas speech, [] the pope made remarks about the present-day interpretation of the notion of " gender ". He stated that "sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves", and "The words of the creation account: "male and female he created them" Gen no longer apply".

Although he didn't mention the topic, his words were interpreted by news media as denunciations of same-sex marriage , [] with some sources adding that Benedict would have called it a threat to world peace similar to abortion and euthanasia. In a message released 14 November , during a Vatican press conference for the annual observance of World Day for Migrants and Refugees , the Pope urged the ratification of international conventions and policies that defend all migrants, including refugees, exiles , evacuees and internally displaced persons.

Pope Benedict also promoted various UN events, such as World Refugee Day , on which he offered up special prayers for refugees and called for the international community to do more to secure refugees' human rights. He also called on Catholic communities and organizations to offer them concrete help. In , it was reported that Benedict was "praying for migrants and refugees" from Syria. In , Benedict sent a letter at Easter to Catholics in China that could have wide-ranging implications for the church's relationship with China's leadership.