Arguably probably the most incendiary challenge Benedict confronted upon changing into pope was the continuing fallout from the sexual abuse of youngsters by Catholic clergymen, 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 very public reckoning with its historical past of intercourse abuse — a disaster about which he was very nicely knowledgeable. 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 typically did not take motion in opposition to predator clergymen. As the top of the CDF, then-cardinal Ratzinger worked to establish 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 hundreds of clergymen who had been discovered responsible. Nevertheless, for a lot of, his actions fell quick, partially as a result of he did not make public the Vatican’s investigations into abuse accusations — a lack of transparency that enabled dioceses to maintain these accusations secret from parishioners and regulation enforcement authorities.
“Within the Church’s total historical past, nobody knew extra however did much less to guard children than Benedict,” the Survivors Community of These Abused by Monks (SNAP) mentioned in a statement in 2013, in response to the pope emeritus’s public claim that he didn’t interact in a ‘cover-up’ of clerical abuse. “As head of CDF, 1000’s of circumstances of predator clergymen crossed his desk. Did he select to warn households or name police about even a type 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, because of a sophisticated age, are now not suited to an satisfactory train of the Petrine ministry,” he mentioned in his official assertion.
His resolution to retire was later dramatized within the 2019 movie The Two Popes, wherein 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, nonetheless, make public appearances at occasions of theological significance, such because the Canonization Mass of Pope John XIII and Pope 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-living pope in historical past.