CNHI News Service


February 15, 2013

Pope steps down without deserved fanfare



— Editor's Note: If you're not a weekly subscriber to Taylor Armerding's column, you can publish this one if you notify him at


Never mind about Islamists who call America “The Great Satan” and seek to obliterate our nation and way of life. Never mind about Sharia law’s treatment of women, and the punishments meted out to those who challenge it by doing things like calling for girls to be educated.

No, the real threat to civilization and the American dream is Pope Benedict XVI, leader of the Catholic Church for the past eight years, who announced his resignation this past week because he believes he can no longer carry out the duties of the office.

It offered another opportunity for the haters of Joseph Ratzinger, who they call “Ratzi the Nazi” or “God’s Rottweiler” to rail about how radically conservative he is, how inflexible, how out of touch with the modern world, how his mission in life is to control everybody’s sex life and how he wouldn’t even control or punish priests who abused children.

On the last point, they have part of a point. The abuse scandal, besides inflicting horrific wounds on young innocents, is a self-inflicted wound on the church. Those who took vows to set an example of purity and godliness did the opposite.

I don’t pretend to know how well Pope Benedict confronted it – he did more than his predecessor, Pope John Paul II – but it clearly was not enough.

But those who try to use that human failure to undermine every inconvenient (to them) principal the Pope stands for are troubled souls who probably need the church much more than they realize.

First, and most important, is that nobody has to be a Catholic. Yes, some of us are brought up in a certain faith by our parents, but once we are of age, there is no law that says we have to continue. There is no state church. Those who remain Catholic do so by choice. If they cannot abide the Pope or the teachings of the church, they are free to leave.

Text Only
  • taylor.armerding.jpg Warren's populist pitch on student loans is off key

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren's populist rhetoric pumps up students about their loan burdens, but she conveniently neglects to mention the real problem - the exorbitant cost of college - much less how she's benefitted from those high prices.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama's equal pay exaggeration leads us all into danger

    The president's claims of national shame over gender-based pay inequity spring from distorted calculations, as well as some convenient political math.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Voters beware of oligarchs and bogeymen

    Scaring voters to distract them from issues is a tired - and bipartisan - ploy sure to be in heavy rotation this campaign season.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Put teens to work by laying off minimum wage rhetoric

    Idle teen workers may be a national problem, but frugal private employers aren't the reason for it. Minimum wage hikes - like the one championed by President Obama - squeeze these marginal jobs out of the economy.

    March 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Legal marijuana can be government's new cash crop

    Officials holding out against legalized marijuana may "evolve" their thinking because of one number: Colorado says it gathered $2 million in taxes from pot shops in January, as business was just getting started.

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Banning a 'B-word' teaches girls the wrong lesson

    Striking the word "bossy" from the language doesn't help young girls learn to speak up or become leaders. It teaches them how to be, well, bossy.

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Giving businesses choice is not legalizing discrimination

    The owner of a California gay bar should be allowed to refuse service to legislators he considers "crazy, ignorant or stupid." The problem is the popular double-standard that supports his version of "discrimination" while raging against anyone who disagrees with him but wants the same freedom.

    March 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama twists Constitution to cut U.S. military

    President Obama's plan to slash the military to pre-World War II levels endangers the country, especially when our enemies don't know the war is over.

    February 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Benefits of hiking minimum wage are an illusion

    The president's latest economic fantasy says raising the minimum wage will incentivize work, lower unemployment, juice the economy and may even lower taxes. All while businesses swallow billions of dollars more in labor costs.

    February 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Coastal residents should pay true cost of flood insurance

    The environmental champions in Congress took a big break from their moral scolding this past month with a gigantic “Never mind!” after their constituents discovered the law requiring them to start paying the true cost of living in flood-prone areas.

    February 14, 2014 1 Photo