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2D: The Pope’s resignation

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 post was filed under: 2D.

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Comments and responses

Comment from Julie

    00.34, 14/03/2013

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)

    08.44, 15/03/2013

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

    20.03, 15/03/2013

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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