The Future of the Papacy

On February 11, when Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation of the
Petrine Office, he had implied a few things relevant to the selection of
his predecessor. Moreover, some of those implications, as well as this
renunciation will have a solid impact of the future of the papacy. In such
a subtle way that a visionary theologian, although introvert, such as Pope
Benedict could accomplish.

p>Ratzinger witnessed his aging predecessor opting to hold on to his task
as Successor to Peter as a witness to human dignity. Pope Benedict has not
opted for a similar path. Cardinal Ratzinger has been very decisive in
finding ways around just canonical and Vatican protocol to have pedophiles
removed from the priesthood. With a storm of scandals in the Vatican, many
with no connection to clerical sexual abuse, Pope Benedict has had a
difficult time accomplishing a greater reform within the Curia.

Likewise, Pope Benedict has pushed for a New Evangelization, as well as
a clear engagement with the culture. Pope Benedict even created a Twitter
account, one that will be handed on to his successor. Although, himself
hardly a media or tech savant, Pope Benedict has taken measures to
modernize media usage within the Vatican.

The implications for the future of the Papacy, as a result of this, are
three things I want to highlight. These three things will be on the mind of
the Cardinal Electors, since they will not be under pressure to eulogize
the papacy of Pope Benedict. As Pope Benedict has already criticized his
own capacity at his age, the Cardinal Electors ought to as well.

The three areas of attention then, as implicated by Pope Benedict, will
be 1) the strength of mind and body necessary for governance thus implying
the need for a Cardinal with administrative competence, that 2) can
understand the rapidly changing modern age, and how faith can confront
that, implying the need for a media savvy Cardinal, as well as one that
might be younger, even under 75, and even under 70. Finally 3) it may be in
the mind that a younger Cardinal could indeed resign when he has been Pope
to a certain, and would not be out of the question to push the age
younger.

Pope Benedict has indeed started a subtle revolution, one that only
perhaps only a visionary theologian, as well as introvert, could do.

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