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Eight years later

Web exclusive: Looking Back. In our 2005 series of articles titled Whats Next?, Commonweal asked five writers to look at the challenges the then newly elected Benedict XVI was likely to face. Were checking back with those writers to get their thoughts on whether the hopes they laid out eight years ago have been realized, and well be posting their reflections over the coming days.Featured now is Richard R. Gaillardetz, whose piece, Looking Ahead: My Hope for the Next Pope, appeared in the April 22, 2005, issue of Commonweal. Where does he stand eight years later?

[O]ne can justly say that this theologian-pope has made the Word of God, incarnate in Jesus Christ, central to his papacy. His encyclicals and addresses offered rich meditations on the transformative power of that Word in the church, and through the ministry and mission of the church in the world. Regrettably, this pontificate has done nothing to expand our awareness that the whole church plays a role in the discernment of God's Word.

Theres more, and you can read all of it here.  

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Telling to note the different takes. How about the Onion: "It is with sadness, but steadfast conviction, that I announce I am no longer capable of impeding social progress with the energy and endurance that is required of the highest ministry in the Roman Catholic Church, Benedict reportedly said in Latin to the Vaticans highest cardinals. While Im proud of the strides the Church has made over the past eight years, from thwarting AIDS-prevention efforts in Africa to failing to punish or even admit to decades of sexual abuse of children at the hands of clergy, it has become evident to me that, in this rapidly evolving world, I now lack the capacity to continue guiding this faith back centuries.http://www.theonion.com/articles/resigning-pope-no-longer-has-strength-t...

It's interesting that the media and the catholic world are doing far more looking back than looking forward -- as if the future just induces in all of us a sense of paralysis.

FLASH -- looking forward:According to La Stampa, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, former head of the Church in England said in an interview that the new pope should stop talking about contraception! Speaking in Vaticanese, he all but endorsed it. Is this the first crack in the hierarchy's wall of silence before the enclave? (Cardinal O'Connor is too old to vote in it.)http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/world-news/detail/articolo/regno-un...