Pope Benedict XVI

In a surprise announcement Monday, Pope Benedict XVI said he would resign this month after less than eight years in office. He’s the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, when Pope Gregory XII stepped down, and the first to have done so voluntarily since Celestine V in 1294. We’ll get news from Rome, and check in with Bay Area Catholics about who might be a successor and about the future of the Catholic Church in the U.S. and worldwide.

Sylvia Poggioli, senior European correspondent for NPR's foreign desk
Sister Marianne Farina, associate professor of philosophy and theology and department chair of theology at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
George Wesolek, director of the Department of Communications and Public Policy at the Archdiocese of San Francisco
Sally Vance-Trembath, lecturer in religious studies at Santa Clara University

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    Thought Pope Benedict XVI was a very poor choice, if for no other reason than his repugnant silence for years and years when the child sexual abuse issue was raised by concerned American Catholics to him directly. With not only proof of the evil deeds priests had done, but he was shown proof of the financial pay outs to victims to keep them quiet.

    I so hope and pray that the new Pope will be younger, more aware of the real world, more compassionate and more honest.

  • Chris OConnell

    My understanding is that the Priest celibacy thing is not taken so literally in Africa and Latin America. I’ve read about priests openly living with spouses. And, for instance, it came out that the President of Paraguay, Ferdinand Lugo, had at least one child and he was a Bishop!

  • JimmyOo

    Michael, I am not an expert but imho infallibility has been invoked, and therefore applies, only a very few times, and not regarding when human personhood begins (conception? quickening?), lgbt, contraception, et al. Also, the doctrine was defined in the 19th century, and I also understand that Cardinal Gibbons of the U.S. commented privately after Vatican 1, where infallibility was defined, that he didn’t think the pope was infallible. That said, recent popes have been very clear that the Church teaches certain things on the issues I mentioned, but they have not claimed infallibility for the teachings. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_infallibility#Conditions_for_teachings_being_declared_infallible

    • Demographer

      In other words, a lot of people, including apparently Krasny, wrongly think that every statement by a pope must be considered “infallible,” but in fact the infallibility characterization only applies to statements intentionally meant that way (“ex cathdra”).

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