NEWS » Reaction in Italy to Pope Benedict XV1's resignation

Reaction in Italy to Pope Benedict XV1's resignation

Benedict XVI’s resignation has deeply shaken the public
opinion of the Italians, already excited by the political campaign.

Apparently, as it was reported by the main newspapers,
the Pope decided to resign months ago but it was announced only at the beginning
of February. After eight years of papacy Pope Benedict XVI announced he is to
resign on the evening of the 28th of February.

The news was a bolt from out of the blue, a Pope has not
resigned since 1415 and no one could imagine it was going to happen this year.

The decision of Pope Ratzinger was assessed in various
ways and with various adjectives: revolutionary, historical, exceptional in its
importance, but also in accordance with the religious dogma. Everyone was taken
by surprise. Politicians and religious leaders expressed their support from all
over the world.

The president of the republic Giorgio Napolitano defined
the Pope’s choice an act of great courage.

The prime Minister Mario Monti, commented that the choice
of Benedict XVI shows the Pope’s attention to the churches’ needs and his
attention to the good of the institution he leads. Above all, the humility of
the decision to step down has been appreciated.

According to Raniero La Valle - former director of “Il
popolo” and “Avvenire”, Senator of the independent left in the 70s, promoter in
2008 of a Manifesto for the Christian Left, expert of the history of the Church
and in particular the themes of the Second Vatican Council - With the
resignation, Pope Benedict XVI made an act against the mythicization of the figure
of the Pope seen as God on earth. In his view with this act Benedict XVI gets
closer to the Second Vatican Council, relocating the Pope within the Apostolic
College of Bishops. In fact as the Bishops can leave their role, the Pope can
do the same as the code of canon law foresees.

Some Italian newspapers expressed strong criticism
against Pope Benedict’s papacy regarding his lack of effective actions to stop
the sexual abuse of children by priests, or to acknowledge the problem. And so
his action is seen as the consequence of having failed to reverse a decline in the
church. 

In any case, according to the Vatican 50 thousand devoted
gathered together in piazza San Pietro for the second to last Angelus of the Pope.

The Pope, after his transfer to Castel Gandolfo in the
afternoon of February 28th, will remain in residence on the Alban Hills for
about two months. After that the Pope will move back to the Vatican and will
live in the former monastery of cloistered nuns, now being renovated, situated
in the Vatican gardens.  

Probably the successor will be elected by the end of the
month. Among the candidates are: Ghana’s Cardianal Peter Turkson, Nigeria’s
Cardinal Francis Arinze, Canada’s Cardinal Marc Ouellet, and Italy’s Angelo
Scola.

Giulia Lombardo

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