Arguably essentially the most incendiary subject Benedict confronted upon changing into pope was the continued fallout from the sexual abuse of youngsters by Catholic monks, in addition to accusations of a cover-up effort on the a part of Church administration.
When Benedict grew to become pope in 2005, the Catholic Church was within the midst of a really public reckoning with its historical past of intercourse abuse — a disaster with which he was very well-informed. In 2001, John Paul II empowered the CDF to centralize all investigations into abuse allegations, eradicating that energy from native dioceses after it grew to become clear that they usually didn’t take motion in opposition to predator monks. As the pinnacle of the CDF, then-Cardinal Ratzinger labored to ascertain new procedures for reporting and punishing clergy accused of sexual abuse.
As pope, Benedict repeatedly spoke out in opposition to the Church’s legacy of kid intercourse abuse, apologized to victims, and defrocked tons of of monks who had been discovered responsible. Nonetheless, for a lot of, his actions fell brief, partly as a result of he didn’t make public the Vatican’s investigations into abuse accusations — an absence of transparency that enabled dioceses to maintain these accusations secret from parishioners and regulation enforcement authorities.
“Within the Church’s whole historical past, nobody knew extra however did much less to guard youngsters than Benedict,” the Survivors Community of these Abused by Monks (SNAP) mentioned in an announcement in 2013, in response to the pope emeritus’s public declare that he didn’t have interaction in a ‘cover-up’ of clerical abuse. “As head of CDF, hundreds of circumstances of predator monks crossed his desk. Did he select to warn households or name police about even a kind of harmful clerics? No. That, by definition, is a canopy up.”
Rumors of corruption and secret cabals within the Holy See additionally plagued Benedict’s tenure as pope, culminating within the “Vatileaks” scandal in 2012.
On Feb. 10. 2013, Benedict shocked the world by saying his resignation from the papacy. “After having repeatedly examined my conscience earlier than God, I’ve come to the understanding that my strengths, on account of a sophisticated age, are not suited to an satisfactory train of the Petrine ministry,” he mentioned in his official assertion.
His choice to retire was later dramatized within the 2019 movie The Two Popes, by which Benedict was portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, who was nominated for an Oscar for his efficiency.
As Pope Emeritus, Benedict made a acutely aware effort to remain out of the general public eye. He apparently disliked being recognized by such a lofty title following his resignation and requested others to name him merely “Father Benedict.” He did, nevertheless, make public appearances at occasions of theological significance, such because the Canonization Mass of Popes John XIII and John Paul II on April 27, 2014.
On Sept. 4, 2020, on the age of 93 years, 4 months, and 19 days, Benedict grew to become the longest residing pope in historical past.