By Richard Allen Greene, CNN
Rome (CNN) – Thirty-five years before a German intellectual named Joseph Ratzinger ascended the throne of St. Peter and took the name Benedict XVI, a very different intellectual named Laurence Peter coined a rule which he named after himself: the Peter Principle.
Put simply, the Peter Principle says that people who are good at their jobs get promoted, and if they're good at their new jobs, they keep getting promoted - until they get to a job they're not good at, where they stay.
As the troubled papacy of Benedict XVI limps to a close, it appears very possible that the rule describes Ratzinger's eight years at the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
Call it the Throne of Peter Principle.
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By Ben Brumfield, CNN
(CNN) – With Pope Benedict XVI leaving the papal office after resigning two weeks ago, the Catholic Church will have to rush to pick his replacement before Easter.
Normally, the College of Cardinals is not allowed to select a new pontiff until 15 to 20 days after the office becomes vacant - usually when the previous pope has died.
Benedict's resignation is a rare exception. The last man to quit the head of the Catholic Church did so 600 years ago.
The situation calls for some rule bending, and having the current pope involved is proving advantageous.
He has slightly amended the 500-year-old policy on pope selection to get a successor into place more rapidly.
The cardinals may to be able to pull it off before March 15, according to Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi.
By Laura Smith-Spark and Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN
Rome (CNN) - In front of rapt crowds, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of moments of joy and struggle Wednesday during his final public address from a stage set up in St. Peter's Square.
Dressed all in white and looking serene, the pope used his last general audience to call for a renewal of faith and speak of his own spiritual journey through eight years as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
As he finished, cheers erupted from the tens of thousands gathered in the square - acknowledged by Benedict with an open-armed embrace.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.