It's Hard Out Here for a Pope
"I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry," the pontiff wrote in his statement to Vatican officials.
"However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to steer the ship of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me," the letter continued.
At 78, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was one of the oldest popes ever to be elected. He also took office during one of the worst moral blights to have tainted the Catholic Church since the Crusades -- the scandal of child sex abuse by priests.
"We had serious doubts about Cardinal Ratzinger assuming control of the Church during this turbulent time," said Father Linus Preternature, a Vatican watcher and practicing priest in San Narciso County, California. "The idea that men of the cloth were engaging so recklessly in this kind of degenerate behavior killed his predecessor. But we were ultimately won over by Ratzinger's past experience."
Preternature was referring to Ratzinger joining the Hitler Youth in 1941.
"The Nazi Party was, first and foremost, a very catholic organization, in every sense of the word," Preternature explained. "Hitler advocated positive Christianity -- a militant, non-denominational form of Christianity that emphasized Christ as an active preacher, organizer and fighter who opposed institutionalized Judaism. With Ratzinger so closely allied to this movement in his formative years -- covering up the wholesale slaughter of millions of blasphemous children in the name of Christ -- he seemed the perfect candidate to brush the uncontrollable sex abuse scandals under the Vatican rug, as it were."
But the new pope found the task too daunting.
"Some of Pope Benedict's advisors intimated to me that as he grew older he started to believe seriously in the existence of God -- specifically in Christ as Lord -- and that based on the things Jesus taught, He might be inclined to condemn the pope's soul. In all honesty, it would be difficult for most men to sit on a gilded throne and moralize about other people's sexual behavior while the widespread molestation of children was going on under their noses. But then again, the pope is not supposed to be like most men. I support his decision to step aside for a more worthy defender of the Church."
The Vatican is Ready for Some Football
The next pope typically would be chosen by a 117-member nominating conclave held in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. However, officials there announced plans to replace seven of those positions with discharged faculty from Penn State University (PSU), who successfully obscured a horrifying child sex abuse scandal for 15 years.
PSU administrators allowed Jerry Sandusky, Coach Joe Paterno's assistant, to fellate and sodomize young boys on campus between 1994 and 2009, turning a blind eye to Athletics Department officials who hindered investigations into the case. These Board members then rolled the dice on a brilliant but bold strategy of subterfuge, representing the legendary coach as the face of the scandal.
One trustee, under condition of anonymity, clarified the Board’s position: "Sure, Jerry Sandusky carried out the actual raping and groping and diddling of these little kids. Yes, Tim Curley (director of the Athletics program) and Gary Schultz (senior vice president) covered it all up and lied to the authorities. Yes, Joe Paterno probably never knew what was going on with Jerry; and yes, he reported complaints to Curley and Schultz directly in 2002. But the fact remains, Joe is not the victim. The real victim is Penn State...followed, of course, by the people accusing one of our staffers of violating their anuses and mouths when they were small. You know, when they were kids, is what I meant."
The Board dismissed Sandusky's eight counts of child abuse as the byproduct of a sickness. Curley and Schultz had been trying to protect the school, the trustees reasoned. But Paterno, they said -- who had never witnessed any of the events personally, and brought the eyewitness accounts of other students and faculty straight to department heads -- "could have done more."
"It's not about the terrible things these other people did, it's about what Joe Paterno didn't do," the trustee told reporters at the time. "He's a jinx. He's like a magnet for bad people. Maybe he doesn't even realize it, but we can't afford to have his presence luring more of these unsavory types to our school."
Father Preternature said the Vatican needs strategic thinkers like these PSU executives to see the Catholic Church through the still emerging details of the massive cover up by officials worldwide.
In 2010, for example, Archbishop José H. Gomez stripped prominent Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony of his administrative and public duties. Gomez also forced the resignation of Bishop Thomas Curry, who assisted Mahony with burying thousands of pages of evidence that showed their pivotal roles in covering up sexual abuse in the church, and withholding evidence from prosecutors.
Mahoney publicly apologized earlier this month after these confidential church files were released.
"Mahoney and Curry epitomize the problems with the Church today: weak, poor planning, easy-to-break clergy," Preternature said. "These people don't have the training or backbone to get this kind of job done. They crack under pressure. And their lack of guile and criminal cunning hinders their efforts to effectively evade the law. But we're confident the ruthless business minds from Penn State will prove instrumental in putting a strong leader back at the helm of the Vatican."
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