Pope Benedict XVI shocked observers last Monday when he announced that he would resign, stating that his advanced age and increasing infirmities would prevent him from continuing his task as head pedophile protector of the Catholic Church.
Benedict, who as Pope was in charge of administering the Church’s worldwide molestation defense operations, expressed a measure of satisfaction with his brief tenure, despite having faced significant challenges in the US, Germany, and Ireland to his papal bull on the matter.
“It’s true that we were taken aback by the vehemence of the opposition to our priests’ activities”, remarked Benedict, “but in the end I strongly believe I did what was proper in defending the sanctity of the church, and I’m sure the populace will be able to overcome these petty concerns.”
His departure comes at a time of tendentious struggle between competing visions of the Church, pitting hardline conservatives like Benedict and his likely successor Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York against moderates like Cardinal Jorge Luis de la Arena of Argentina on issues such as the collapse of the Church in developed nations, abstinence policies, HIV, and molester defense. Cardinal de la Arena in particular has been at the forefront of attempting to improve relations with outsiders, and has publicly called for appointing ambassadors to the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.
“Our standing in Europe has completely evaporated because of our positions”, commented de la Arena, “and it’s critical that we avoid a repeat of such a catastrophe in the few areas that actually still respect us for whatever reason.”
Dolan, meanwhile, has been prominent on a call of returning to tradition.
“By not keeping our views exactly as they were in the Middle Ages, we have only been emboldening those who despise us. Just look at America: Catholicism should be thriving, but we’re treated worse than the gays! There are even agnostics there. We must turn the clock back several centuries if we are to recover what we’ve lost. “He added, “And frankly, are we sure that the Earth moves around the sun? I have my doubts.”