First, I will re-post the story from Reuters...Then I will offer some commentary.

Pope's Sudden Resignation sends Shockwaves through Church

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY | Reuters Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:02pm EST

(Reuters) - Pope Benedict stunned the Roman Catholic Church on Monday when he announced he would stand down, the first pope to do so in 700 years, saying he no longer had the mental and physical strength to carry on.

Church officials tried to relay a climate of calm confidence in the running of a 2,000-year-old institution, but the decision could lead to uncertainty in a Church already besieged by scandal for covering up sexual abuse of children by priests.

The soft-spoken German, who always maintained that he never wanted to be pope, was an uncompromising conservative on social and theological issues, fighting what he regarded as the increasing secularization of society.

It remains to be seen whether his successor will continue such battles or do more to bend with the times.

Despite his firm opposition to tolerance of homosexual acts, his eight year reign saw gay marriage accepted in many countries. He has staunchly resisted allowing women to be ordained as priests, and opposed embryonic stem cell research, although he retreated slightly from the position that condoms could never be used to fight AIDS.

He repeatedly apologized for the Church's failure to root out child abuse by priests, but critics said he did too little and the efforts failed to stop a rapid decline in Church attendance in the West, especially in his native Europe.

In addition to child sexual abuse crises, his papacy saw the Church rocked by Muslim anger after he compared Islam to violence. Jews were upset over rehabilitation of a Holocaust denier. During a scandal over the Church's business dealings, his butler was accused of leaking his private papers.

In an announcement read to cardinals in Latin, the universal language of the Church, the 85-year-old said: "Well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of St Peter ...

"As from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours (1900 GMT) the See of Rome, the See of St. Peter will be vacant and a conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is."

Read the rest:


I would favor a South American or perhaps an African cardinal, as the European Church is too filled with 'old boys', and cardinals with dubious theological views...The fastest growing branches of the Church are in these two areas...On the other hand, I would really support a simple Irish parish priest, who was close to his flock, unassuming, and wasn't adverse to drinking some whiskey or stout...We need a Pope for the 'common man'.

As far as Benedict, or Ratzinger, he has actually wielded consider power in the Church for decades, as he was in effect, John Paul's 'think tank; when it came to doctrinal issues.

I feel that Benedict was a target for the Jewish Sanhedrin since the beginning of his term, some due to his German background, some due to his membership in the 'Hitler Youth'. He has always caved in to the Jews on political matters, and has never taken a strong stand vis-a-vis them when they have butted their rather big noses into Church affairs, especially doctrinal issues (the father Williamson affair).

The Church is highly politicized in the wrong direction, and Benedict was negligent in his support of the Palestinians (there are thousands of Christian Palestinians in Gaza), yet visited Israel, went on the obligatory 'pilgrimage' to their 'wailng wall' and hob-nobbed with their corrupt cabal in the aftermath of the 'Cast Lead' mass murder. He has made some attempts to reach out to youth, especially in Europe, due to the declining interest in the Christian faith there given the rise of rampant 'consumerism' and 'globalism', which John Paul warned about.

The Roman Catholic Church has morphed into a 'neo-corporate entity' in many ways, and, in doing so, goes against Scripture and certainly the words of Jesus Christ. There is no place for corporatism in the Body of Christ, and neither is there room for political correctness in the Church, only a place for true compassion and understanding, through the grace of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps a bishop from one of the more populous and poorer regions of the globe will start a process of repentance. Hopefully, the coming conclave to elect the new Pope will be informed by the true Holy Spirit of God and not some 'other' spirit which will only lead to desolation.

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Maurice Pinay

I originally wrote this piece circa 2007, naming it 'Hebron (Veil of Tears)', because of my concern over the brutal treatment of the native Palestinians in Hebron by Israeli settlers, many of whom were imported from America...I completed it with the input of my compatriots in 'Audio Emotif' (French for 'sound emotion' or 'sound reaction') violinist Kenneth Parker and percussionist Phillip Grim.

A year or so after I put the music together,  attended a photo exhibition by a former member of the Israeli IDF at a gallery in Philadelphia...The former soldier seemed rather troubled by his former duties in Occupied Palestine, and had collated some photographic documentation of his time on duty for this show.

We talked for awhile, and I mentioned to him that I had written a piece of music entitled 'Hebron'...He insisted that I change the title to include 'al Khalil', which, as the Hebrew 'Hebron', means 'friend' in Arabic...So the music became 'Hebron/al Khalil'.

This video is not a big studio production, but the music is performed well, and I feel it is evocative.

I hope you enjoy it.

Violinist Parker and yours truly are currently recording what will be a two volume set of basically acoustic music, violin and acoustic guitar...'Acoustic Emotif'.

The music will range from Beatles music to Swing Jazz to Middle Eastern, Indian and Asian sounds,with the possible inclusion of some traditional Irish music and a few other things....
I would like to take a moment to apologize to my readers (If I have any left!) for my absence from KULTURE/AMERICA fro the past 18 months.

I have been caring for an elderly and ill family member, and my life has been filled with social workers, quack doctors, bureaucrats, and various functionaries from the Medical-Industrial-Insurance Complex.
War on our Parents

The experience has been an exhausting one, as the relative of whom I speak, my mother, was in no way prepared for what should have been her golden years, but instead became a kind of nightmare. Taking care of her business, I have had to deal with family betrayal and apathy, predatory banks, the spiritual bankruptcy of our system of care for the elderly, and continuous stress. At most turns, attempts at improving my mother's physical condition have been met with bureaucratic stonewalling and medical irresponsibility. It can be likened to being dropped into a train wreck and being asked to clean it up.

But, in the process, I have learned invaluable lessons concerning embracing love and rejecting selfishness, and have tried to care for all my mother's needs the best I can. Through it all my faith in God has only increased, and whatever the future brings, I will stand and deal with it like a man. Please never forget your own parents, who, with our Lord, gave you the gift of life.

I now have a bit of time for my own work, which includes the recording of a new double album of music, and a return to journalism and essaying...I have much work to do, so I am setting to it.

Thanks & love to everyone.

And keep in mind that you come into this world as a helpless babe and you will most likely leave here in the same manner. Give your burden unto God, and he will ease your way on those last miles, and bring you home.

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."    Matthew 11: 28