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

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

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.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs