News / Europe

Scandal Clouds Benedict's Last Days As Pontiff

Pope Benedict waves as he leads his last Sunday prayers at the Vatican on February 24, 2013.
Pope Benedict waves as he leads his last Sunday prayers at the Vatican on February 24, 2013.
VOA News
Scandal threatens to overshadow Benedict's final days as pope, as well as the preparations to choose his successor.

In one of his last acts as pontiff, Benedict Monday changed the Vatican's constitution, eliminating the 15-day waiting period before cardinals can meet to elect a new pope.

The change comes on the same day the pontiff accepted the resignation of Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric.  

Cardinal Keith O'Brien resigned following allegations from four current and former priests that O'Brien approached them inappropriately in the 1980s.

Cardinal O'Brien was due to retire next month, when he turns 75. He said Monday he will contest the allegations, but won't take part in the upcoming conclave to choose a new pope.
Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien speaking to the media in Edinburgh, Scotland, Sept. 16, 2010.Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien speaking to the media in Edinburgh, Scotland, Sept. 16, 2010.
Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien speaking to the media in Edinburgh, Scotland, Sept. 16, 2010.
Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien speaking to the media in Edinburgh, Scotland, Sept. 16, 2010.

Other cardinals are also under heavy criticism. On Saturday, Catholic activists petitioned Cardinal Roger Mahony of the United States to recuse himself from the papal election so as not to insult survivors of sexual abuse committed by priests while he was archbishop of Los Angeles.

Pope biographer and Vatican analyst Marco Politi doesn't expect the furor to subside in the near future.

"Pope Ratzinger [Benedict] has began a revolution, asking [for] absolute cleanness about sex abuse," Politi says. "Although with many contradictions, this movement is going on and now it is knocking at the door of the conclave."

However, the cardinals who meet to elect Benedict's successor won't have access to the contents of a special investigation began after leaks of Vatican documents in 2012.
How the Pope is Elected

-Chosen by College of Cardinals
-Only cardinals under age 80 are allowed to vote
-They meet in Sistine Chapel for Conclave
-Voting cardinals remain in Vatican without outside contact until they select a pope
-A two-thirds-plus-one vote is required to select a pope
-Paper ballots are counted, pierced with a needle and placed on a single string
-Ballots are then burned, letting outside world know if a pope has been chosen
-Black smoke means no one has been chosen, white smoke means a pope has been selected
-Shortly after white smoke is seen, name of new pope is announced from balcony of St. Peter's Basilica
The report, conducted by three cardinals who are too old to participate in the conclave, is thought to have uncovered problems within the Vatican, possibly tied to the priest-child sex abuse scandal.

A Vatican statement said the report will only be shared with the next pope.

Benedict was elected in 2005 to replace the late John Paul II. He will become the first pontiff to step down in nearly 600 years when he leaves office February 28.

Even with the change in Vatican laws, it's not clear exactly how soon the Roman Catholic Church will begin selecting Benedict's replacement.

Many cardinals have begun informal consultations by phone.  

Some church officials hope a new pope is selected by the middle of March,  in time to preside over Holy Week services leading to Easter.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: NVO from: USA
February 25, 2013 5:27 PM
The next pope? Well lets see what the RC church has to say about that..................BUT....................................BUT..........they dont want you to know! Father Connor, you probably know him, said that the catholic church under the heading of
"sacred tradition" teaches that the final pope will defect from the faith! Now here is what Bishop Sheen said. "The false prophet will have a religion without a cross, a religion without a world to come, a religion to destroy religions.

There will be a counter church, Christs church will be one, and the false prophet will create the other. The false church will be worldly, ecumenical, and global. It will be a loose federation of churches and religions forming some type of global association. A world parliament of churches, it will be emptied of all divine content and will be the mystical body of the anti-Christ. The mystical body on earth today will have its Judas Iscariot, and he will be the false prophet. Satan will recruit him from among OUR Bishops! The false prophet will be a bishop, and like Judas, he will sell the mystical body to the anti-Christ".-

Archbishop Fulton Sheen (1950)

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs