Many were taken by surprise with the resignation of Pope Benedict.
Popes generally die in office in spite of frailty and illness. The fact this pope unexpectedly stepped down has generated much speculation. Did he willingly resign or was he pushed?
So many scandals have swirled around the Catholic Church in recent years, even reaching into the upper echelons of the Vatican itself, that this unusual resignation prompts the
question that there may be more alarming disclosures about to come to light, perhaps involving the Pope himself.
If that is the case, it would be very convenient for the Vatican to have him safely cloistered away where it would be near impossible to get to him.
In the recent past, there have been attempts to have him arrested for his complicity in covering up for pedophile priests when he was cardinal in charge of the congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. And if, indeed, other charges are looming, there could well be more vigorous efforts to have him arrested if he travels outside the Vatican. Best to keep him safely tucked away, "resting and praying."
More of a genteel house arrest.
The other question is, who will be the next pope?
Whomever is selected is guaranteed to be another extreme conservative. Benedict has surrounded himself with cardinals whose philosophy is trapped in a mind set more appropriate for centuries past than it is for the 21st. We are unlikely to see any concessions to progressive thinking.
The new pope will inherit, not just the archaic mantle of the Bishop of Rome, but the whole tawdry mess that is now the disintegrating, scandal ridden church. It may prove to be a far less comfortable position than it has been in the past.
New revelations should make for interesting times. Stay tuned.