• Germany's news in English
 
The Local's media roundup
'Benedict's resignation was his biggest reform'
Photo: DPA

'Benedict's resignation was his biggest reform'

Published: 12 Feb 2013 12:04 GMT+01:00

Benedict XVI stunned the world on Monday, when he announced he would step down as head of the Catholic Church at the end of February due to his advanced age.

But as the world paid tribute to the 85-year-old pope, German commentators had little praise for his eight years as pontiff. In fact, becoming the second pope in history ever to resign may have been Benedict XVI's biggest achievement, they said.

It was clear, many commentators agreed, that German Catholics who had hoped Benedict's appointment in April 2005 would re-energize the Church had been let down.

Click for a gallery of the Pope's highlights

Anyone who thought the German pope would bring the church badly needed modernization has been sorely disappointed in Benedict, wrote Bonn's General Anzeiger.

"Germans were hoping for benevolence and the clemency of old age from their countryman and that deeper insights would lead to change in the Catholic Church. The country was hoping for a reformation, that Rome would align itself closer with the realities of 21st Century life. But in fact the opposite occurred. Nowhere around the world was disappointment in Benedict greater than in 'We-are-the-Pope-land'."

But the nation was wrong to expect change from a conservative theologian, said the Schwarzwälder Bote regional paper. Benedict's biggest contribution to moving the Church forward was his resignation.

After all, since when can a pope step down - just like that - asked the paper. Is he not supposed to be "Christ's representative on earth, selected by God - not a king, president or CEO. Ecumenism or renewal was never to be expected from a dogmatist. Benedict's resignation was perhaps his biggest reform of all."

It was always clear Benedict was never going to be a maverick, wrote the centre-left Munich daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, he did not seem to subscribe to the idea that the Church always needs reforming.

"Only with his resignation has Benedict broken the chains of tradition, everywhere else he never touched these chains, here and there he even strengthened them. The Church was seldom so in need of reform as it is at the end of Benedict's papacy."

The left-wing Frankfurter Rundschau went one further, suggesting that if anything, Benedict's papacy had weakened the Church in its last remaining strongholds by focusing on missionary work elsewhere.

"The German pope had little idea of the concerns of believers in those countries where the Church still has strength, in which it is in a position to reach out to young people."

"He leaves behind a Church which is deeply unsettled and weakened, which could be accused of not budging a millimetre on sexual morals and social liberalization."

The Local/jlb

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

13:30 February 12, 2013 by Eric1
This is an editorial, not an unbiassed news article.
13:36 February 12, 2013 by Bigfoot76
"Christ's representative on earth, selected by God - not a king" But in his speech he made note of the fact that he was selected by the Cardinals rather than stating he was selected by God. This is actually another radical action on his part in addition to stepping down.
14:36 February 12, 2013 by GolfAlphaYankee
acording to the washingtonpost :

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/02/11/the-bizarre-stories-of-the-four-other-popes-to-have-resigned-in-the-last-1000-years/?hpid=z2

there are 4 other incidence of popes abdication in the last 1000 years. pope Benedict would be the first since almost 600 years to resign. I wonder if the Vatileaks scandal was a contributing factor .....
13:32 February 14, 2013 by Eric1
Typical left wing socialist babel..
00:52 February 15, 2013 by Pakistani
an individual wearing a costume (like mickey mouse or scooby doo comstumes at disney world) attracts so much attention in a society that considers religion as primitive.......................... what do westerners believe in ?............ pop culture........... aren't u like that rabbit whu thought the world is falling apart?..............
15:29 February 15, 2013 by Bigfoot76
^^ Can someone translate that for me, I do not speak that language.
19:14 February 15, 2013 by Firmino
"Pope Benedict, Joseph Ratzinger, has scheduled a meeting with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano (above) for Saturday, February 23 to discuss securing protection and immunity from prosecution [for child sex crimes] from the Italian government, according to Italian media sources."

http://www.broadsheet.ie/2013/02/15/pardon/

It seems to me he is stepping down just to make it easier to evade criminal charges.
21:39 February 18, 2013 by Pakistani
it's called : tequila sunrise language (do the math)...;)........ just wanted to say that all those abused little boys must have taken a sigh of relief --------
Today's headlines
'We have to take care of Isis victims': minister
A Yazidi woman at a Hannover demonstration against Isis in August.

'We have to take care of Isis victims': minister

The government plans to set up a trauma centre for victims of a mass rape campaign by the Islamic State (Isis) militant group, Overseas Development minister Gerd Müller said on Monday. READ  

Adidas sells three million World Cup shirts
World Cup-winning manager Joachim Löw accepts the award at a gala in Baden Baden on Sunday Photo. DPA

Adidas sells three million World Cup shirts

Football fans have snapped up a total of more than three million replica kits of their world-cup winning heroes, Adidas announced, with much of that boost coming in the run-up to Christmas. The team were also honoured as Germany's "Sportsmen of the Year" on Sunday. READ  

Good news for your Christmas overdraft
Photo: DPA

Good news for your Christmas overdraft

Shoppers who go into the red on their bank account over the Yuletide period have received some early festive good news, with a plan to clarify Germany's complex rules on overdrafts. READ  

Amazon pledge: Xmas pressies will arrive
Striking Amazon workers outside a distribution centre in Leipzig on December 8th. Photo: DPA

Amazon pledge: Xmas pressies will arrive

Online retailer Amazon said on Monday that walkouts at distribution centres across the country wouldn't affect Christmas orders as the strike spread across Europe. READ  

Armed heist at Berlin's top department store
The aftermath of the raid at Berlin's luxury department store Photo: DPA

Armed heist at Berlin's top department store

Stunned shoppers looked on in horror as masked robbers made a daylight raid at Germany's most exclusive department store on the busiest shopping day before Christmas. READ  

Security tests find holes at Frankfurt airport
Security checks at Frankfurt airport in July 2014. Photo: DPA

Security tests find holes at Frankfurt airport

Weapons and dangerous objects were successfully smuggled through security checks 50 percent of the time at Frankfurt airport, in a probe by European Commission inspectors, it emerged on Sunday. READ  

Breakfast stumble costs Berlin giraffe her life
Kibaya before her fatal fall Photo: DPA

Breakfast stumble costs Berlin giraffe her life

One of Berlin Zoo’s most popular attractions has had to be put down, after tearing a muscle in her leg. READ  

Xenophobia thrives in shadow of Berlin towers
A demo in Marzahn-Hellersdorf. File photo: DPA

Xenophobia thrives in shadow of Berlin towers

There's little to break the monotony of communist-era apartment blocks stretching across Marzahn-Hellersdorf, an east Berlin satellite district that has gained national notoriety for a spate of anti-foreigner protests. READ  

Ecuador returns German money in oil valley spat
Photo: DPA

Ecuador returns German money in oil valley spat

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said Saturday that Quito would be giving back about $8.5 million donated by Germany last year, in an environmental row. READ  

German bank sues Ecclestone for €345mn
Photo: DPA

German bank sues Ecclestone for €345mn

German bank BayernLB is seeking €345 million ($423 million) in a lawsuit against Formula One magnate Bernie Ecclestone over the 2006 sale of the sport's rights, according to a report. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Willy Brandt at his inauguration in 1972. Photo: DPA
National
Willy Brandt: the man, the chancellor... the airport?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles through December 19th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,128
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd