When I heard the Pope was resigning, my first thought was, “I didn’t know they could do that.” Apparently they can, it just hasn’t happened in 600 years. People are wondering what this could mean, but personally I suspect that all it means is that the Church figured out the “Pope until you die” thing was a bad idea.
There are also people cheering this, but I expect the next Pope to be roughly as bad as Ratzinger. He could even be worse. I saw one report via Twitter suggesting Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, who has defended the criminalization of homosexuality, could be Pope next. I was initially skeptical of this, but apparently Turkson leads in the odds being given by a couple of British betting houses (~40%). Make of that what you will–personally, my money’s on the cardinals realizing it would be a bad idea to pick someone quite that extreme.
I spite of that, I do have this to say about the outgoing Pope: