Vatican expert: ‘Vatileaks scandal left Benedict powerless’

Pope Benedict XVI sits on a garden bench during his annual holiday in Bressanone, northern Italy July 31, 2008.  Credit: Reuters
Pope Benedict XVI sits on a garden bench during his annual holiday in Bressanone, northern Italy July 31, 2008.
Credit: Reuters

The Vatileaks scandal, which saw Pope Benedict’s former butler leak confidential documents, left the pontiff  “isolated and may have been a factor in his resignation”, a Vatican observer tells Metro.

Q&A with Elena Curti, deputy editor of Catholic international weekly “The Tablet.”

Metro: Has Pope Benedict’s resignation come as a shock to Catholics?

Curti: The timing has been a surprise. While Benedict did indicate in the past that he would step aside if he felt he was unable to continue, the Catholic world has been astonished by this news.

As the years went by, the Pope did grow weaker both physically and mentally. But the Vatileaks scandal, which saw Benedict’s ex-butler Paolo Gabriele steal thousands of Vatican documents, some of which alleged corruption within the church, might have been a factor in his resignation. Knowing that one of his closest aides had betrayed him must have left him very isolated and powerless. The Pope must have felt that power was slipping away from him, his power to govern.

Who can replace him?

The field is wide open. However, in normal circumstances, the Pope dies and the church has more time to reflect, organize the papal conclave and start the debate for a successor. Now, there is much less time for that. It will be very difficult to predict who will be the next leader. After the Pope resigns on February 28, the Dean of the College of Cardinals Angelo Sodano will be in charge to organize the election of the next pontiff.

Do you think Benedict is aware of the cataclysmic effect his resignation has left?

I think his move was quite characteristic of Benedict. He has always been bold in his decision-making.  He brought back the old Latin mass and set up the Ordinariate, a place within the Catholic Church for former Anglicans worldwide.

The Church faces many challenges ahead, following a number of sex abuse scandals and congregation numbers dropping. What direction will it now take?

The Church can either work towards a smaller yet purer church or continue its policy of evangelization, spreading the gospel. I believe the new pope will do both. There is much talk of the falling numbers of churchgoers in the Western world, but elsewhere in the world, particularly in Africa, the numbers are growing very, very rapidly. This could be a shift away from a European-centric church.

Do you reckon Benedict was just a “caretaker pope” following the 26 years+ reign of John Paul II?

There are elements of that, certainly: he was elected pope at age 78, already the oldest pope elected in nearly 300 years, so he never had a lot of time to lead. Admittedly, he was not a very good administrator and failed to get grip of the Roman Curia, the church’s central administration. But nevertheless, he never shied away from a ground-breaking decision.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…