Strangely, on Sunday before Pope Benedict announced his resignation as leader of the Catholic Church, he tweeted an interesting message that, “We must trust in the mighty power of God’s mercy. We are all sinners, but His grace transforms us and makes us new”. Then today, shortly after he his stunning announcement of his resignation was announced on Monday, he Tweeted that, “Dear brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all defects”. Two messages that strongly suggest that scandal at the Vatican and within the church were at the heart of the pontiff’s unusual decision to resign his office at this time, rather than some health issue.
Although, officially the pope was said to have resigned due to health reasons, he has no known health issues other than normal advanced age that would have forced a sudden resignation. What is known is that the Vatican bank is being investigated for noncompliance with European banking regulations in regards money laundering rules, and the head of the Vatican bank was forced to resign. Also that the sexual abuse scandals within the church are an ongoing crisis and draining millions of dollars in legal bills and payoffs to victims. A European gangster has claimed that a sex scandal with some Vatican staff persons that involved a sex party led to the eventual murder of a young teenage girl who disappeared. Another murder scandal involving the Swiss guard, was thought to be part of Gay love triangle by others. The pope’s own butler stole documents that he forwarded to journalists that seemed to detail damning financial mismanagement at the Vatican. Even THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER on May 27, 2012 reported that, “To say that the Vatican seems to be in turmoil would be putting things mildly…”
The fact of the matter is that if the type of problems that plague the Vatican were present in a large corporation, the CEO would certainly be forced to resign as a minimum and may even be arrested at worst if any shortcomings may have included obstruction of justice charges if a chief officer knew about wrongdoings of others, but failed to act.
Likely this pontiff himself did not knowingly commit any crimes for his own part, but there were way too many people in the Vatican or at least in his organization that did. Constant new revelations of all of the scandals involved in his organization drained so much of the energy from an 85 year old man who only wanted to be the spiritual leader of a church, not involved with constant legal headaches that he needed a break. Now, the church will have an opportunity to create a fresh start.
It is not known whether this pope’s resignation carries any conditions. But, if some clause implies immunity from prosecution as a condition or term of stepping down, then more went on behind the scenes than this pope was public about.