17 February 2013

Speculation About the Pope's Abdication Gains Mainstream Currency

The speculation about why the Pope is stepping down has hit Reuters:
Pope Benedict's decision to live in the Vatican after he resigns will provide him with security and privacy. It will also offer legal protection from any attempt to prosecute him in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world, Church sources and legal experts say.

"His continued presence in the Vatican is necessary, otherwise he might be defenseless. He wouldn't have his immunity, his prerogatives, his security, if he is anywhere else," said one Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"It is absolutely necessary" that he stays in the Vatican, said the source, adding that Benedict should have a "dignified existence" in his remaining years.

Vatican sources said officials had three main considerations in deciding that Benedict should live in a convent in the Vatican after he resigns on February 28.

Vatican police, who already know the pope and his habits, will be able to guarantee his privacy and security and not have to entrust it to a foreign police force, which would be necessary if he moved to another country.

"I see a big problem if he would go anywhere else. I'm thinking in terms of his personal security, his safety. We don't have a secret service that can devote huge resources (like they do) to ex-presidents," the official said.
It could be nothing, but my guess is that we are going to hear the drip, drip, drip of all of this for months.

I actually have a bit of sympathy for him.  Benedict was left with the mess that John Paul created.  (It's pretty clear that JPII gave then Cardinal Ratzinger instructions to cover up the allegations when he was head of the Inquisition Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.)


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