Interesting to see Benedict XVI resign. Didn't think he'd have it in him. He's obviously setting precedent. Word is that he didn't like JP2 hanging around so long when he was obviously incapacitated.
I have mixed feelings about Ratzinger as Pope. I always felt he bore a striking resemblence to my paternal grandfather. He also never quibbled on what he believed.
However, Ratzinger was also directly complicit in covering up child rape as a bishop. As a bishop he transferred known child rapists to other parishes to cover their misdeeds. As Pope he forbade Church officials from cooperating with law enforcement in cases of sexual abuse. He strongly enforced a code of silence on the matter. No other church, without the protection of national sovereignty the Vatican provides, would get away with such obstructionist behavior.
I also believe that papal succession also highlights a glaring problem within the Catholic church: the subjugation of women. Women have no authority within the Catholic Church. No woman can ever serve as priest. No woman will ever be considered for the papacy. It's the 21st century and the Catholic Church should be embarassed by such misogynist ideology.
I often wonder what will happen first: women allowed to preach in Baptist churches or women allowed into the priesthood in the Catholic Church. Most likely the Baptists will bend first. The Catholic Church is almost 2,000 years old and is pretty entrenched. Rome doesn't like change. Ironically that rigidness may have helped them survive for so long. They are also extremely hiarchical. Systemically the Southern Baptist Convention is more democratic.
But I wouldn't expect change from either church. There are fundamentalists deep in the woods of America who have more in common with Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan than they care to admit.
And don't bother sending me your Biblical proof-texts about the role of women in church. Does your church require women to have their heads covered in church? Does your church forbade women from speaking in church? Then don't use those same texts to tell me women don't have the right to preach or lead congregations.