News / Europe

Analysts: Benedict Departure Will Leave Little Room for Change

Analysts: Benedict Departure Will Leave Little Room for Changei
X
February 13, 2013 1:31 AM
The announcement by Pope Benedict XVI that he will resign on Feb. 28 shocked Catholics and non-Catholics alike. But after the conservatism of his papacy and that of his predecessor John Paul II, analysts say Benedict’s successor is unlikely to bring major change to a church shaken by scandal and declining faith. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Analysts: Benedict Departure Will Leave Little Room for Change

The announcement by Pope Benedict XVI that he will resign on Feb. 28 shocked Catholics and non-Catholics alike. But after the conservatism of his papacy and that of his predecessor John Paul II, analysts say Benedict’s successor is unlikely to bring major change to a church shaken by scandal and declining faith.

In the crypt of the Washington Basilica, America's largest Roman Catholic church, Monsignor Vito Buonanno echoed the shock many Catholics felt over the first papal resignation in six centuries.

"We ask the Lord to steady us at this time of uncertainty," he said.

But Buonanno says he understands why Benedict XVI decided he no longer should be the leader of the world's one billion Roman Catholics.

"This must have been a very difficult decision. And that I respect very much because I know this was something that was seriously thought over and prayed over," Buonanno said.

The pope did leave hints, says spokesman Don Clemmer of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"In April 2009, he visited the tomb of Pope Celestine V who resigned in the year 1294, one of the only popes ever to do so. Small symbolic things, but maybe hints, that this was on his mind," Clemmer said.

But the resignation comes as Evangelical Protestant churches are on the rise in the developing world and the Church is dealing with a corruption scandal involving the Pope's butler.

Benedict did take uprecedented steps against pedophile priests, says Clemmer.

"And as pope he’s met with victims in various countries around the world and also had sexual abuse of a child classified as one of the gravest crimes against the church," he said.

Some European commentators are suggesting that Benedict was pushed out because of those efforts.

Chester Gillis is a theology professor and dean of Georgetown College in Washington. He dismisses that theory.

"I do not think that he would have succumbed to some international or external pressure to resign. There’s been lots of pressure on every pope historically, and they’ve stayed around. So I think this was a deliberate choice on his part," Gillis said.

He says the legacy left by Benedict and John Paul II is an arch-conservative church out of step with many Roman Catholics.

"And if they get another really hardline conservative they may say, 'Okay, enough, I’m out.' And some conservatives would say, 'That’s fine we don’t need them,'" Gillis said.

Benedict himself does not officially have a vote over who will be his successor. But more than half the cardinals who do, were appointed by him.

Ron Johnson says there are some qualities he would welcome in the next pontiff.

"I hope the next pope is a lot like John Paul II - someone who is outgoing, who is energetic, who is bilingual. A person of color perhaps even," Johnson said.

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid