Arran's Alley

Watch what they do, not what they say.

Mick Arran

Mick Arran
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA
January 05
I've done everything from recycling to teaching in a pre-school. Most recently I was for 10 years an acting and theater teacher as well as a pallet builder. I read a lot and I'm an old man who remembers the distant past with somewhat more clarity than this morning's breakfast. I've been blogging for a decade and I don't do "light". If you're looking for recipes, self-promoting displays of items made for sale, titillating stories about how I was a pimp for an afternoon, or the beauties of toasters, you've come to the wrong place. Check the Front Page.


FEBRUARY 13, 2013 2:13PM

Benedict's Resignation A Ploy

Rate: 4 Flag

People aren't used to thinking of the Papacy as political but like most things people aren't used to thinking this is truer than whatever they do think. The Papacy has been political practically since its inception, and this is one of the most political pontiffs we've had in recent generations, which is why the total lack of speculation about the real reason for his "retirement" is just one more sign that even our "best" journalists have become incurious and thus singularly inept. Their acceptance of an excuse so weak they'd see through it in a school board election without the consideration of a single subtler possible agenda.

Let's face it, next to "I want to spend more time with my family" (which they might well have used if he had one), a resignation for "medical reasons" is one of the most popular political dodges of the decade. Could there be something more behind this move than "I'm getting to old to stand on balconies in the cold and wave?"

Yes, indeed there is and it's not all that hard to figure out you can purge your brain of the automatic acceptance of anything a religious leader says on the supposition that a "holy" man would never, you know, lie.

Benedict is and always has been the kind of hard-core conservative Catholic who thinks Mussolini was misunderstood and anyway those Jews got what they deserved. During WWII he was happy to ignore "rumors" about gas ovens and exterminations and such and preferred to believe that all the Jews were being rounded up so the Germans could give them macrame lessons so they could learn how to support themselves making pot holders and plant hangers. As Cardinal Ratzinger he was the ultraconservative Curia's enforcer. As Pope he has been relentless about punishing liberal clergy and even threatened to excommunicate whole countries. His weak-kneed praying for "the poor" never included any suggested actions that might actually have helped and never came close to so much as embarrassing those responsible for that poverty.

Beginning to see it? Ratzinger wants to make sure of his successor and the best way to do that is to resign and spent the intervening 3 weeks making sure the College of Cardinals know and will vote for his chosen successor. You want to know who the next Pope will be? He will be the most conservative cardinal in the bunch if Ratty has anything to say about it.
Which he wouldn't have if he hadn't decided to retire.

Ratty wants to try to control the succession to make sure no Pope is elected who might be considered liberal. Another John XXIII would be considered a disaster by Ratty and the wingnut Curia which might have to off him as they did John Paul I.

And so it goes.

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
Wanting to control the direction of the church from the grave is typical of Benedict's hubris.
Mick…this essay is a construction built on sand.

I am by no means a friend of the pope or of Catholicism…but the guy says he is retiring because the job was too demanding for a guy his age.


The fellow before him should have made this move…Ronald Reagan should have made the move in another setting.

I’ve never been a fan of Benedict, but this move is one only a brave, reasonable man of character could make.

Frankly, I think you are all wet on this…and I doubt you would have made this less acceptable you had mentioned “the grassy knoll” or “Area 51.”
I think you nailed it. Despite all the media hype and wailing, let's none of us forget: the Pope is never on our side.
I agree that this is political and that he wants to control the choice of the next pope; however as Gary indicated if the only agenda is to ensure that it is a conservative pope then he can do this by selecting cardinals that will make choices that he aproves of which is common practice. This is why the church remains conservative and reluctant to adress it's own biggest problems unless there is an enormous amount of pressure from below.

I suspect that is what is going on here as a result of the sex scandal and this may be the best way he can come up with to minimize the damage. Hopefully the pressure from below will forse them to choose between either real reform to some degree or diggin in their heals and becoming less relevant. they can't be expected to conduct more reform than they expect to get away with but if they don't they could lose a lot of members in some areas and those that don't leave may be less devout.

In the past they only responded to pressure from below or force, as far as I can tell. when they no longer had the ability to use inquisition tactics through their secular alies that partially took the blame they came up with the infalibity dotrine which tehy could no longer enforce by force so tehy were trying to adapt with more effective manipulation tactics for those that would fall for it.