The Catholic Church Before and After Pope Benedict XVI

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Pope Benedict XVI declared today, "I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter." Speaking in Latin, the 85-year old Pope told a group of cardinals that "advanced age" will cause him to resign on the last day of this month. It's the first such action in 600 years, and the Vatican says that one billion Roman Catholics should have a new Pope before Easter. Even close aides reportedly were surprised by the end of an eight-year reign tainted by clerical sex abuse and divided between traditionalists and reformers. We hear more about the decision, the state of the church and the prospect of a new Pope from Africa or Latin America.


Rachel Donadio - reporter at The Atlantic covering politics and culture across Europe - @racheldonadio, Susan Abraham - Harvard Divinity School - @HDSNews, David Rosen - American Jewish Committee, Nihad Awad - Council on American-Islamic Relations - @NihadAwad, John Farina - Professor of Religious Studies, George Mason University

Warren Olney

Sonya Geis, Evan George, Frances Anderton, Anna Scott