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The under-reported Catholic story of the past year

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jan 03, 2014

In his list of list of the most under-covered Catholic stories of 2013, John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter puts an interesting one in the top position:

1. Benedict the revolutionary

He’s right: right that Pope Benedict was in some respects a revolutionary, and even righter that the media have missed that story. It was Pope Benedict who began the overdue reforms of Vatican finances, who tightened the stands for sex-abuse reporting, who held bishops accountable and forced several prelates to resign. On all these issues, Pope Francis has been winning applause for continuing what Benedict began.

One more thing. As Allen points out, there wouldn’t even be a Pope Francis, if not for the extraordinary, radical step that Pope Benedict took when he determined that someone else could do a better job as leader of the universal Church. Pope Francis is credited with great humility, but his predecessor has shown that virtue in spades. The media generally see Benedict XVI as a conventional Pontiff. He was anything but.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: abc - Jan. 03, 2014 6:42 PM ET USA

    The good thing is that, being humble, he cannot care less about the obviously unfair treatment he got and still gets from the MSM (and even from many Catholics). He is probably very happy at Francis' popularity. It is only us who gnash our teeth at this monstruous injustice.