Pope Benedict XVI

Ex-Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, claims he had an enduring “mystical experience” in which God told him to quit the top job in the Catholic Church. Hmmmm. From the Guardian:…

Well we all knew there was a secret scandal behind the resignation of Pope Benedict, right? From 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…

Pope BenedictWait a second — does this make Paul Ryan and Newt Gingrich a couple o’ them “Cafeteria Catholics”? From Francis X. Rocca at the Huffington Post:

VATICAN CITY (RNS)— Noting a “rising sense of frustration” at the worldwide economic recession, Pope Benedict XVI said that a more just and peaceful world requires “adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth.”

The pope’s words appeared in his message for the World Day of Peace 2012, released on Friday (Dec. 16) at the Vatican.

The message laments that “some currents of modern culture, built upon rationalist and individualist economic principles, have cut off the concept of justice from its transcendent roots, detaching it from charity and solidarity.”

Authentic education, Benedict writes, teaches the proper use of freedom with “respect for oneself and others, including those whose way of being and living differs greatly from one’s own.”

Priest in CuffsGeoffrey Robertson writes in the Guardian:

Well may the pope defy “the petty gossip of dominant opinion”. But the Holy See can no longer ignore international law, which now counts the widespread or systematic sexual abuse of children as a crime against humanity. The anomalous claim of the Vatican to be a state — and of the pope to be a head of state and hence immune from legal action — cannot stand up to scrutiny.

The truly shocking finding of Judge Murphy’s commission in Ireland was not merely that sexual abuse was “endemic” in boys’ institutions but that the church hierarchy protected the perpetrators and, despite knowledge of their propensity to reoffend, allowed them to take up new positions teaching other children after their victims had been sworn to secrecy.

Christopher HitchensHere’s Christopher Hitchens discussing the “petty gossip” as the Pope puts it on Real Time With Bill Maher.

A longtime critic of how the Catholic Church has handled abuse allegations, Hitchens believes the current Pope was actually involved in the cover-up before he took the top job.

Hitchens also contends that the Pope is subject to criminal prosecution due to his involvement in the latest sex scandal.