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Benedict's resignation made reforms of Pope Francis possible: John Allen

February 11, 2014

Although Pope Francis is generally seen as an agent of change at the Vatican, “the single most revolutionary act committed by any pope in at least the last 600 years” was the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, writes John Allen in the Boston Globe.

Writing on the anniversary of that resignation, Allen—the longtime Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter who has now become a Globe columnist—argues that Pope Benedict’s decision to step down “was arguably the zenith of papal humility.” And although Pope Francis is credited with bringing change to the Holy See, it was his predecessor’s decision to step down that allowed the Argentine prelate to emerge as the new Pontiff, Allen says.

Among other things, the Globe columnist writes that because the papal conclave of February 2013 was not held during a period of mourning for a deceased Pontiff, the cardinals were free to concentrate on the immediate needs of the Church. Allen reasons: “Resignation allowed the cardinals to take a more critical view, which helps explain why the 2013 conclave was the most anti-establishment papal election of the last 100 years.”


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