Euronews correspondent Manuela Scarpellini looks at the prospect for change in the Vatican following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.
“How will the resignation of the pope change the church and what will be the impact on the church of the future and the Catholic community as a whole? It is one thing to interpret events through contemporary eyes. For an historical perspective we are joined by Adriano Prosperi, Emeritus Professor at the University of Pisa.”
“The pope is an absolute monarch whose power is bestowed by God. If he decides to renounce those powers it is nothing to do with any earthly authority. Concerning the future, we are not prophets, but we can say that it is a gesture that can strengthen the role of the pope, rather than weaken it.”
“Some say his resignation suggests a crisis in the Vatican, which is seen as an anachronism dogged by scandals, an institution that wants to escape and renew itself?”
“The idea that his resignation is a result of recent scandals may be correct to certain extent. However, I don’t think that is why he resigned. I think we should look for the reason in the choices the church faces today. A choice between the proposals of the late progressive Cardinal Martini. He wanted a new council after the second Vatican Council of 1962. He wanted a church organised from the grassroots involving the faithful, as opposed to Ratzinger who is first and foremost a theologian and a leading figure in the Roman Curia, which advocates a greater role for the Vatican.”
“After his resignation, how will history view the pope?”
“The pope has continued on the path of conservatism, a cautious, careful path. He has restored a lot of power back to the papal office. His predecessor let the day to day management of the church to itself, which caused problems for Ratzinger when it was hit by problems and scandals. Pope Benedict failed to deal with the problems and they have eaten away at him.
The problem of pedophilia is a huge global problem well known to him. A series of improvised solutions have emerged that did nothing to help the situation.
As his energy waned he saw the core of church treading its own path and following recent financial scandals he decided to deliver a final, telling blow.”