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2D: The Pope’s resignation


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 5 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. Not everything that is old is bad. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured.

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might very well have changed in the 5 years since I wrote this post. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find pretty embarrassing today.
  • This post might use language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate or offensive.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken; embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

I’ve read two very interesting articles on the Pope’s resignation recently. The first, by Stephen Crittenden of The Global Mail, casts the resignation as an act that almost heralds the end of Catholicism. He gives a strong argument to suggest that the Vatican is in total crisis. It’s certainly a dramatic take on the situation, and is well worth a read.

From a totally different perspective, Xuyang Jingjing writes in the (similarly named but very different) Global Times about the particular challenges the Pope’s resignation poses for Chinese Catholics. The fact that I was previously unaware of the difficult relationship between China and the Vatican probably reveals more about my own ignorance than anything else, but it made the article far more intriguing for me.

2D posts appear on alternate Wednesdays. For 2D, I pick two interesting articles that look at an issue from two different – though not necessarily opposing – perspectives. I hope you enjoy them!

This 1,998th post was filed under: 2D.

More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 3rd December 2018)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 3rd November 2018)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th October 2018)

iPad App Review: The Times (published 11th April 2011)

Another letter to my local rag (published 19th April 2012)

Crap: A Guide to Politics by Terry Arthur (published 17th October 2007)

Photo-a-day 104: Milkshake (published 13th April 2012)

Comments and responses

Comment from Julie

by Julie

Comment posted at 00:34 on 14th March 2013.

Here’s a third interesting article you should read and I think Cornwell may be right on this;


I think Benedict has been planning this for a while. Back in 2009 he visited the tome of Celestine, the last pope to resign and left his palium there. He is in effect sacking the Curia and clearing the way for the new man.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

by sjhoward

Comment posted at 08:44 on 15th March 2013.

Thanks for that, Julie.

John Cornwell has, of course, written extensively about several popes, and is very well respected in his field. Cornwell might be right here; however, the accusations – both implied and stated – in his article are serious, and he fails to give any clearly stated firm foundation for them. As a result, that article reads to me like a vitriolic attack on a number of people based on little more than gossip and speculation.

On top of that, I am utterly disgusted by his bizarre use of language: He refers to people he accuses of acts which can only be described as some of the most harrowing forms of child abuse as having, merely, “a weakness”. And the way in which he appears to conflate homosexuality and paedophilia turns my stomach.

As is well documented, I’m no fan of the Catholic church, in whose name (and under whose protection) despicable crimes have been committed time and again. But making the extraordinary claims seen in this article on the basis of gossip and speculation alone is simply not on, however unpleasant the accused.

Comment from Julie

by Julie

Comment posted at 20:03 on 15th March 2013.

Hi SJ,

Just to be clear, I’m a Catholic and I’m no fan of Cornwell. I don’t agree with everything that he’s written in this article, but I think he’s correct that the Pope has resigned to clear out the Curia in one go. There has been something akin to a civil war going on in the Vatican over the past decade and Benedict himself ran into it, when he tried to have a particularly nasty abuser called Maciel sacked. He was headed off at the pass by Sodano, the then Vatican Secretary of State and Maciel stayed in place. When Benedict became Pope, he replaced Sodano, sacked Maciel and made a number of other reforms, but I think that whatever is in the locked safe at the Vatican has dictated that he sweep the lot away. Anyway, the next few months and years will tell, I suppose.

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