The Changing Papacy



English: Pope Benedict XVI during general audition
English: Pope Benedict XVI during general audition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In the past century people have slowly come to underestimate the power of the Roman Catholic Church. The Church, which at one time almost literally and exclusively ruled the Western World, has seen something of a decline of piety in the most biblical sense. Regardless of this, the Church is not an organization to be undervalued or underestimated in either its influence or its might. The Pope may not have the ultimate sway of all the kings in Europe any longer, but rest assured that the papacy itself is still a world leader—of a small country in The Vatican, but also in the hearts and souls of hundreds of millions of faithful.


When the news broke that the current Pope, Benedict XVI, was resigning the world took notice. Catholics, Christians, and non-Christians alike all stopped to wonder—not only what might lead the man who has a direct line to the Holy Ghost to step down, but also who might take the mantle next. Pope Benedict XVI had a tough act to follow in Pope John Paul II, who was generally beloved across the world by those of the faith he led and otherwise—and to be honest, how couldn’t you. He looked like a kindly old man who never held a grudge in his life. He was single handedly responsible for many reformations and movements that made attempts to modernize the ancient and traditionally exclusionary religion. In addition to this Pope Benedict XVI had a rough past to live up to as a former Hitler Youth member he had this tinge of something—though admittedly not necessarily his own doing—sinister. For Americans, the fact that his name was Benedict was also hearkening to something afoul in our own history…reminiscent of betrayal and treason: Benedict Arnold.

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