In a way, I liked Benedict XVI (whom Martine persists in calling Ratzo after his last name, Ratzinger); but I think the job was beyond the abilities of a conservative theologian. What with the Catholic Church being against gays in theory and, in effect, for same-sex molestation of the under-aged, there is too much of a disconnect. The world does not want theology at this juncture. In fact, many Catholics are fleeing the church because they feel it is either devious or too unemotional. Their destination? The various evangelical sects, which can be even more devious and certainly insincere in their emotionalism.
I shouldn’t be surprised if Benedict’s departure will open the doors to new revelations about perfidy by members of the clergy. What is that thing about the Pope’s butler? Shades of Godfather III! And now Britain’s only Cardinal has resigned for molesting priests!? (What I want to know is, why don’t the poor nuns ever get molested? Even Martin Luther did it.)
Catholicism is a religion which its adherents must cherry-pick if they wish to remain sane. You can like the great traditions, the Latin Mass, the saints, the miracles—while, at the same time, abhorring the stance on contraception, abortion, and the punishment of wayward pederast priests. For me, the things I love about the Church are the works of Thomas Merton and G. K. Chesterton (both converts) and the great saints, stretching back to Augustine and Thomas Aquinas.
I hope that Benedict is not too torn up by the Augean Stables that the Church has become. He was basically a good man in an impossible position.