The Resignation of Benedict XVI

Ongoing News, Analysis & Opinion

Pope Benedict XVI is resigning on February 28, and Commonweal will continue to cover the story as it develops. This special page features links to our blog posts, columns, and extensive archive of articles on Benedict XVI, as well as links to stories around the web and to texts of encyclicals, apostolic letters, and other materials. Come back to this page for regular and ongoing updates.

 

 

NEWEST STORIES

Zero Hour at the Vatican (Spiegel Online International)
A bitter struggle for the soul of the Catholic Church?  

Benedict's Act of Humility
There is potentially great significance in Benedict’s resignation, writes Joseph A. Komonchak. But a paradox is visible in the events now unfolding: The very act that humanizes the papacy also produces the hullabaloo over the upcoming conclave. 

Benedict XVI, Not Conservative Enough
David Gibson on conservatives disappointment with the pope's record.

Buzz in Rome for Boston's O'Malley (National Catholic Reporter)
An American pope is a possibility, and it's this Capuchin cardinal who's suddenly getting the attention. 

Looking Back
In our 2005 series of articles titled “What’s Next?” Commonweal asked five writers to look at the challenges the then newly elected Benedict XVI was likely to face. Following Benedict’s announcement that he would retire as of February 28, we checked back in with those writers to get their thoughts on whether the hopes they laid out eight years ago have been realized. 

Hope for the Next Pope? Nope
Eduardo Peñalver is on the same page as Garry Wills, and unexcited about a selection process that is “utterly bereft of the characteristics of participation and transparency that virtually all of us would demand as criteria of legitimacy in any other context.”

AROUND THE WEB  

Rowan Williams: Resignation 'Not a Surprise' 
The Tablet

Benedict's Greatest Encyclical 
Andrew Sullivan, The Dish 

The Unprecedented Resignation of Benedict
Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter 

A New York Pope? Why I'm Betting on Dolan
Freddy Gray, The Spectator 

An Opportunity for the Catholic Church
Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast 

Can a Pope Resign?
Thomas Reese, National Catholic Reporter


FROM THE DotCOMMONWEAL BLOG

Resigned to Confusion
Mollie Wilson O'Reilly 

What Should Americans Look for in the Next Pope?
Mollie Wilson O'Reilly 

Terra Incognita: What Are the Known Unknowns?
Michael Peppard 

Benedict XVI Resigns
Paul Moses

Video: 'The Pope took us by surprise'
Dominic Preziosi 

First thoughts on the stunning news
Joseph Komonchak

Quick pontifex emeritus facts
Grant Gallicho


COMMONWEAL
EDITORIALS ON BENEDICT XVI

The Human Dimension (December 17, 2010)
The Pope on condoms. 

Benedict in the Dock (March 30, 2010)
Much of Pope Benedict's good work in addressing the sexual-abuse crisis is now likely to be brushed aside as the history of his own negligence in handling an abusive priest when he was archbishop of Munich thirty years ago comes to light.

In Defense of Politics (August 14, 2009)
Solidarity and subsidiarity in Benedict XVI’s Caritas in veritate.

Benedict in America (May 9, 2008) 
Nearly every observer and commentator judged Benedict XVI’s six-day visit last month to Washington, D.C., and New York City a great success. In his first extended introduction to American society as pope, Benedict showed himself to be a man of genuine warmth, charm, and pastoral sensitivity, as well as a shrewd manipulator of the media. 

Benedict at Auschwitz (June 16, 2006)
The pope’s perplexing statement on the Holocaust left much to be desired. 

Pope Benedict (May 6, 2005)
No one knows exactly where Pope Benedict XVI will lead the church. One should be cautious in making assumptions about what sort of pope he will be by looking at his record at the CDF. The pastoral dimension of the papacy alone will demand a different set of talents and skills.

 

STORIES FROM FROM COMMONWEAL

Exit Signs 
Massimo Faggioli examines the historical context of the papacy Benedict XVI will resign: one that became more monarchical in the nineteenth century (as a reaction against the democratization of modern political systems), and that is now more centralized than ever before—despite Vatican II. 

From the Archive: A Review of Angelo Cardinal Scola's 'The Nuptial Mystery'
Angelo Cardinal Scola of Milan is said to be a leading contender to succeed Benedict XVI. In the July 14, 2006, issue of Commonweal, Luke Timothy Johnson reviewed Scola's collection of writings on marriage. 

The Paradoxes of Pope Benedict
E. J. Dionne Jr. writes that the Pope's resignation should not have surprised us as much as it did. 

Who Is Benedict XVI?
A selection of key stories from the Commonweal archive.

Angelo Cardinal Scola 

Commonweal Topic Page: Benedict XVI
Our complete listing of stories on Pope Benedict XVI.

 

OTHER RESOURCES

Benedict XVI's papal encyclicals in many languages

Benedict XVI's apostolic letters in many languages

Benedict XVI's biography

Chronological catalogue of works by and about Benedict XVI

Benedict XVI's clerical career

New York Times topic page

The Times on Benedict XVI's 2010 visit to Britain

The Vatican's response to sexual-abuse cases under Benedict XVI's tenure

 

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Comments

Commenting Guidelines

Better than perhaps anyone else, Benedict understands the dangers posed by an invalid Pope.  For the last five years of JPII's pontificate, if not longer, Cdl. Ratzinger was the one who was really in charge.  I'm sure that he sees the growing Curial infighting around him and has come to the conclusion that the Church does not need another "regency"; twice in twenty years would be too much.  Better to have a new, younger Pontiff who can control the Curia instead of vice-versa.

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