Pope Benedict XVI's sudden announcement that he would resign by the end of the month took the church and the world by surprise, in large part because it was a move without precedent in the modern world.
But what comes next is as old and familiar as the papacy itself: Speculating about who will succeed to the Throne of St. Peter.
VATICAN CITY (RNS) In a move that took the world by surprise, Pope Benedict XVI announced on Monday (Feb. 11) that he will become the first pope in 600 years to resign, with plans to step down on Feb. 28.
In 2001, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger urged Pope John Paul II to create a central system to further the Vatican's investigations of sexual abuse under priests. He shifted control of the disposition of the cases from the Congregation for the Clergy, where little action had been taken, to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Ratzinger then headed.
VATICAN CITY (RNS) A top Vatican official blamed the media for "derailing" his recent remarks on possible legal protections for unmarried couples, while reaffirming his support for British and French bishops who have been vocal opponents of same-sex marriage.
The decision by the Boy Scouts of America to postpone any change in policy about gay membership was fueled by an “outpouring of feedback.” Much of that reaction came from a sector with strength in numbers: the religious groups that compose the majority of the Scouts’ chartered organizations.
Religious affiliation may be on the wane in America, a recent Pew study asserts, but you wouldn’t know it from walking into the storefront near the corner of West 63rd Street and South Fairfield Avenue in Chicago.
WASHINGTON (RNS) Longtime White House aide Joshua DuBois, who heads the White House office focused on the intersection of religion and public policy, will step down on Friday (Feb. 8), President Obama announced Thursday.
LONDON (RNS) Justin Welby was confirmed Monday (Feb. 4) as the new archbishop of Canterbury at a centuries-old service at St. Paul's Cathedral, six weeks before his formal enthronement inside Canterbury Cathedral on March 21.
Welby, 57, was a banker and oil executive before his ordination as a priest in 1992, and has served as a bishop for less than a year.
Retired Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony has been stripped of his official duties in an unusual public rebuke by his successor that followed the release of thousands of pages of internal church documents showing how Mahony and aides for years conspired to cover up the sexual abuse of children by clergy.