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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 17 February 2013

Following a momentous week for the Catholic Church, Roy Jenkins and guests assess the impact of the Pope's unexpected resignation.

  • The Pope’s Resignation

    The world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics will have a new Pope by Easter - what kind of person can they expect, and what legacy is Benedict XVI leaving the new man?

    It’s nearly six hundred years since a Pope has chosen to leave office. Benedict’s conclusion that after eight years he no longer had the strength of mind or body to do the job adequately has been widely praised as courageous and humble.

    He was in his late seventies when he became pontiff, a once-liberal intellectual, his sharp lines on many moral issues welcomed by traditionalists, but reckoned by critics to be centralising power, and taking the church further from the concerns of its ordinary members. He also had the unenviable task of dealing with a continuous stream of revelation of clerical child abuse by priests.

    So how will he be remembered?

    Joining Roy Jenkins to look at the legacy of Benedict and at some of the possible outcomes of one of the most surprising retirement announcements in history are Catholic commentator Paul Vallely, who’s assistant editor of The Independent newspaper; Dr. Anna Rowlands, lecturer in theology and ministry at King’s College, London and the Most Rev George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff.



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