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Bye Bye Joe

Pope Resigns – Is Anybody Surprised?

By James Donahue

Can anybody be surprised at the announcement by Pope Benedict XVI that he intends to step down from office on Feb. 28? This man has been riddled with controversy surrounding the pedophilia scandals within the church almost since the day he was named to succeed the late Pope Paul II in 2005.

The resignation of a Pope is almost unheard of in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII, who quit in 1415 in an agreement to end a battle among competing papal claimants remembered as the Great Western Schism.

Pope Benedict, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 85, is claiming ill health as his reason for leaving his exalted post. But the resignation comes on the heels of the latest major church scandal involving the defrocking of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahoney after it was learned he covered up for priests involved in sexual acts with hundreds of children over past decades.

The Mahoney case came to light in litigation filed in California that claimed Mahoney and Bishop Norberto Rivera of Mexico conspired together to protect a sexually abusive priest and help him avoid authorities in both the United States and Mexico.

Research into the Mahoney story revealed that Ratzinger, while still serving the church as Cardinal, had been appointed by Pope Paul II to research the extent of pedophilia in the church.

Ratzinger came under fire in 2001 after sending a letter to all bishops advising them that all cases of sexual abuse of minors must be forwarded to his office and that the cases were to be subject to pontifical secret.

It must be assumed then that this Pope has had a complete file of every complaint against every priest in all of the churches locked in a vault in his office since taking the high office.

The documents uncovered in the Los Angeles scandal involved hundreds of complaints that were carefully hidden from public view. This issue is not just limited to the United States. Priest assaults against children appear to be coming to light all over the world. And this means that Pope Benedict had knowledge of what was going on and he was as guilty in this cover-up as Mahoney.