My Take: Benedict a pope aware of his flaws
February 26th, 2013
11:21 AM ET

My Take: Benedict a pope aware of his flaws

Editor's note: Sister Mary Ann Walsh is director of media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a member of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Northeast Regional Community. She is a former foreign correspondent at Catholic News Service (CNS) in Rome and the editor of "John Paul II: A Light for the World," "Benedict XVI: Essays and Reflections on his Papacy," and "From Pope John Paul II to Benedict XVI."

By Mary Ann Walsh, Special to CNN

(CNN) - One of the Bible's paradoxical statements comes from St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians: "Power is made perfect in infirmity."

The poetic statement proclaims that when we are weak, we are strong. Pope Benedict XVI's stepping down from what many consider one of the most powerful positions in the world proves it. In a position associated with infallibility - though that refers to formal proclamations on faith and morals - the pope declares his weakness.

His acceptance of frailty speaks realistically about humanity: We grow old, weaken, and eventually die. A job, even one guided by the Holy Spirit, as we Roman Catholics believe, can become too much for us.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Opinion • Pope • Pope Benedict XVI • Vatican

soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. M.A.D

    Yes Benedict, now a poope, is aware of his online gambling addictions, if you call it a flow!!

    February 26, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
  2. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    February 26, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!,

      February 26, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      actions cause change; prayer wastes valuable time.

      February 26, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
  3. Sara Howells


    February 26, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
  4. Bootyfunk

    being aware of one's flaws and taking RESPONSIBILITY for them are two different things.

    if the pope were a good/ethical person, he would not go quietly - he would stand up for all the children that have been abused under his watch, under the watch of the church for centuries. he would say, the church will no longer protect the molester at the expense of the victim. he would make public the long list of pedophiles around the world that the church knows about and protects. he would cleanse his organization of all child molesters by helping the authorities in every way to put these monsters behind bars where they can’t abuse more children.

    but they think it would be bad for business to admit they have harbored abusers - and they're wrong. people might actually start having faith in the church again as a force for good. it's abhorrent behavior like this that makes me wonder how christianity is considered such a force for "good" in this world. i give credit where it's due. church communities feed a lot of people and are the underlying backbone for helping the homeless in the U.S. (though often the price for that bowl of soup is a sermon). but atheist/non-believers also give to or run charities. in fact, the two biggest donators to charity in world history are bill gates and warren buffet - both non-believers. the stereotype of the uncaring non-believer is simply not true. still, the church does amazing things in caring for the homeless/poor. but what about the bad things the church does?

    they wear a bullet proof vest that protects them from all but the most grievous acc.usations. society celebrates christianity as this amazing force for good, but is it? what about the fact that anti-g.ay legislation in the U.S. is always back by christian groups? they openly promote h.omophobia and it's okay because they have a 2K year old book saying it is, so we give them a pass on their bigotry and prejudice. the bible tells its followers to kill g.ays (leviticus 20:13). just awful.

    the bible regards women at about the same level as a barn yard animal. see any females at the vatican wearing a funny red hat? no, because misogyny is alive and well in the church. women are to be silent and subservient, or so says the bible. In fact, if a man finds that his bride was not a virgin when he married her, she is to be taken to her father’s doorstep and stoned to death. awful.

    and where was the church in the Obamacare debate? why weren't they front and center sticking up for the homeless/poor getting adequate health care? you'd think that'd be their big fight, but nope, they rand and hid. churches knew, especially in the south, if they promoted Obamacare, they would have empty churches as most of their members were republican. you would think christians would follow many of jesus' examples of caring for the poor and be happy to give a little extra to the poor/needy.

    how about gun control? would jesus really say “let's all carry guns”? no, he was big on peace, i hear. so where are the churches telling their members to turn in their guns? less guns = less violence. would jesus advocate for AK47s? why are christians so un-christ-like?

    how about the spread of HIV/AIDs? the catholic church has helped to spread the horrible disease world-wide by telling people over and over that wearing a condom is a sin, akin to a man spilling his seed on the ground, a terrible offense to god. sure, the church also says not to have s.ex outside marriage - a ridiculous, unhealthy and unnatural command that few people follow. but a man will gladly tell his woman, "hey, we're gonna have s.ex - but we don't have to commit more sin by wearing a condom." the spread of HIV/AIDs in africa, latin america and asia has been greatly increased by telling people they are sinning by using condoms - a view the devout take very seriously. using condoms would give women a choice to have children or not, and the church can't have that. women with power is a no-no. see above.

    the list goes on…

    but the real good news is, the internet and education are doing away with all religious cults, including christianity. the church teaches bad information, as does the bible. the church fights science constantly – retarding stem cell research in the U.S. for almost a decade because of christians. check science websites (www.sciencedaily.com) and see how many advances are made with stem cells. that research could have taken place and started saving lives years ago if the church didn’t block it. but the church and it’s archaic ideas and worldviews are going away. guilt, fear and ignorance are the pillars of christianity, and they’re crumbling. people can fact check now, do research on the most obscure subject from their own home. it’s harder to pull the wool over youth’s eyes. questioning religion is not so taboo nowadays. people are breaking the mental shackles and thinking for themselves. who knows? perhaps someday when christianity joins the ranks of the other mythologies, churches will become community meeting places where ideas and goodwill are exchanged without the hocus-pocus aspect of religion. then maybe people will not mind going to church…

    February 26, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • saggyroy

      Aren't nuns "married to Jesus"? If so why would anyone listen to them (except for the threat of getting your knuckles rapped with a ruler). If someone tells you they are married to the Great Pumpkin they have just as much credibility.

      February 27, 2013 at 5:56 am |
  5. Righteo

    In denial of his flaws is more accurate.

    February 26, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  6. The Demon Deacon

    Aware of his flaws, of course the vicar of christ on earth lying to the sheep, such a bad example.

    February 26, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
  7. EX catholic

    Sure, sure! At that age and with the alleged health issues he's hardly aware of much. What he needs to be aware of is that Idolaters will NOT enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

    February 26, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Nor will anyone else.
      You also won't get to neverland by following the third star to the right either. They are both fictional

      February 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Akira

      Well, if Catholics worshiped idols, you may have a point. They don't, so you don't.

      February 26, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • sam stone

      why are you so sure that there IS a heaven?

      February 27, 2013 at 5:49 am |
    • EX catholic


      You're like the Proverbial Ostrich hiding his head in the sand. Your attempts to denied something that almost the entire World knows is beyond comprehension. Either you're blinded by your Idolatrous Fanaticism or your Ignorance is appaling.

      February 27, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
  8. Akira

    Again with the photo of the stautue with things stuck in its head?

    February 26, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Zingo

      The Vatican is making it clear that abortion is wrong, but that after the child is born, it's okay to stick three of four knives into its head.

      February 26, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Akira

      Yeah, Zingo, that's often the case, but a diagram for knife placement is just...wrong.

      February 26, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • Zingo

      Nice symmetry to the baby head-stabbing thing, though. You have to admire a baby head-stabber with such a sense of balance, proportion and artistry.

      February 26, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  9. Bootyfunk

    the bible has unicorns in it. and satyrs and dragons and c.cokatrice and talking donkeys and talking snakes and all kinds of other silliness. hard to believe anyone takes that book seriously.

    February 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  10. .

    “Do not pity the dead Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.”

    February 26, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
  11. .

    "After all to the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure."

    February 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  12. .

    I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present.
    ~ Gandhi

    February 26, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
  13. Correctlycenter

    Then Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and nights He ate nothing and became very hungry. Then the devil came and said to Him, " If You are the Son of God, change these stones into bread." But Jesus told him, " NO! THE SCRIPTURES SAY, PEOPLE NEED MORE THAN BREAD FOR THEIR LIFE; THEY MUST FEED ON EVERY WORD OF GOD." Matthew 4:1-4...

    February 26, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Bible verses

      And de lord saying , i haven't taken a crap yet, you all don't wanna start feeding till I finish crappin, ya all here. Man, why did create these stupid fvcking sheep, just to be adored, aint been worth it. Gospel of the BS 2:3

      February 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Jesus freaks
      out in the streets
      handing tickets out for god

      Elton 19:71

      February 26, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      jesus is a fairytale, like all the other fictional characters in that dreadful book.

      February 26, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
  14. .

    ALL HAIL MITHRA! The original son of God, the one and only true path to salvation!


    February 26, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yep, the myth of jesus was stolen from several other faiths, as were most of the myths in the bible. mitra, dionysus, osirus, etc. want to read about the garden of eden before the bible was written - look up the epic of gilgamesh. the whole book is plagiarized.

      February 26, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  15. Correctlycenter

    " Let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God's presence. Let them be filled with joy. Sing praises to God and His name. Sing loud praises to Him Who rides the clouds. His name is the LORD– rejoice in His presence!" Psalm 68:3-4...

    February 26, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Is there a point to this or are you going to post the whole of the bible line by line?

      February 26, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Bible verses

      How fvcking quaint!!!

      February 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Which God?

      Correctlycenter, you center is where your head is. Kindly take it out, and smell the roses instead.

      February 26, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • sam stone

      wow, a quote! pretty impressive, Corruptlycenter

      February 26, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  16. Kevin

    No mention of Ratzi's direct role in the pedophilia scandal, just some of his other blow-its.

    Creampuff article from the Borg.

    February 26, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
  17. Universe

    Islamic scripture (Quran says)

    “The life of this world is no more than illusion and vanity, while the abode of the Hereafter is far better for the righteous. Do you not understand?! [6:32]

    “They do not value God as He should be valued. God is the Most Powerful, the Almighty.”[22:74]

    “If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of God. They follow only conjecture; they only guess.” [Quran 6:116]

    “They say , "We live only this life; we will not be resurrected. If you could only see them when they stand before their Lord! He would say, "Is this not the truth?" They would say, "Yes, by our Lord." He would say, "You have incurred the retribution by your disbelief." [6:30]

    “Losers indeed are those who disbelieve in meeting God, until the Hour comes to them suddenly, then say, "We deeply regret wasting our lives in this world." They will carry loads of their sins on their backs; what a miserable load! [6:31]

    “Recall that your Lord said to the angels, "I am placing a representative on Earth." They said, "Will You place therein one who will spread evil therein and shed blood, while we sing Your praises, glorify You, and uphold Your absolute authority?" He said, "I know what you do not know." [2:30]

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is. [19:35]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to visit whyIslam org website.

    February 26, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Which God?

      Universe. Your Quran is just as mythological as the xtian babble.. Allah is a phony, as is the xtian God. Your Allah is puny,or he woyldn't need Islamist to jihad or kill so-called infidels. Book is utter rubbish.

      February 26, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Correctlycenter

      Jesus told him, " I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Me." John 14: 6

      Faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to get to heaven...

      February 26, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • Reality

      Some other passages from the terror-driven koran:

      http://www.muslimaccess.com/quraan/arabic/005.asp et al
      o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)
      "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

      "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)

      "...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

      "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)

      "It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)

      "If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

      "Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

      "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

      "Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)

      "'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

      "Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)

      "Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)

      "Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

      "Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of your Lord..." (Surah 55:52-66-)

      February 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Reality

      Hmmm, "I am the Truth........" i.e. John 14:6. This passage was not said by the historical Jesus but was wishful thinking and an embellishment by John to make Jesus more like the ancient and local gods of first century Palestine. Said passage is a single attestation found no where else in the NT making it historically unreliable. e.g. http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?ti-tle=210_Place_of_Life

      See also Professor Gerd Ludemann conclusions in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 535-540.

      Some added comments about John's gospel:

      With respect to John's Gospel and John' epistles, from Professor/Father Raymond Brown in his book, An Introduction to the New Testament, (The book has both a Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur from the Catholic Church),
      John's Gospel, Date- 80-110 CE, Traditional Attribution, (2nd Century), St. John, one of the Twelve,
      Author Detectable from the Contents, One who regards himself in the tradition of the disciple.

      First Epistle of John, Authenticity- Certainly by a writer in the Johannine tradition, probably NOT by the one responsible for most of the Gospel.

      From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

      "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......

      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

      "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

      "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

      And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

      "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

      February 26, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  18. The Demon Deacon

    Hey Billy
    Old Ratzinger was head of the SCDF for 25 years and all the RCC docu*ments passed through his office. In fact in 2001 he ordered that any files on pedophile priests go to his office. Kind of strange he (benny the 16th) would state in a speech "I must say these revelations were a shock for me. They are a great sadness and it is hard to understand how this perversion of the priestly ministry was possible." Some shock, he knew all about it, but lying to the sheep is very common, is it not Bill.

    February 26, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      If you really cared about children you would study the issue and absorb the reality of it. But you don't. You only care about scandalizing the Church. The truth is that the incidence of abuse by Catholic clergy is less than that of Protestant, which is lower than that among Jewwish, all of which is dwarfed by the United States public school system. With the witch hunt mentality of the media and others it is, though no less wrong, certainly understandable that a siege mentality might take root among administrators.

      The issue of child molestation is deserving of serious scholarship. Too often, presumptions have been made that this problem is worse in the Catholic clergy than in other sectors of society. Indeed, family members are the most likely to molest a child.

      The statistics are there but you won't investigate them, because you don't really care who is really hurting the most children. You just want to hate on Catholics. It saddens me because while a group of men who should be trusted, as a whole, have been violated by the actions of a few criminals and while atrocities have been committed by men in frocks, as long as the Church is being pilloried, millions more children will be victimized in schools, sports teams, scouting troops and other organizations. But hey, look, we crucified another Christian, aren't we great.

      February 26, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Tommy

      Bill does the public school system just send the abuser off to teach at another school without telling anyone that they are sending a child rapist their way, or do they call the police and have the abuser arrested?

      February 26, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Dill Beacon
      You defend the catholics most fervently, but there is no denting, they are corrupt. They have allowed monsters within their ranks to destroy the confidence that should be, and through their actions of not only allowing it, but then hiding it from their own people, shows the corruption and dare I say it, evil of the inst!tution.
      Your defence of this obviously criminal organization is sad at the very least.
      I am not saying that all catholics are bad, they are not, but it only takes the tinyest percentage at the top to show the culture of corruption within the church.
      I am not attackinig you Bill, but your church needs to be disbanded and the criminals charged with the crimes they have perpetrated.

      February 26, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon
      Others are worse than we are, so are sins are not as bad, that is the defence of a child, all the other kids are doing it. The media are played like a Stradavarious by the Vatican PR department when the pope goes on one of his overseas visits, all the press helps to build up attendance and PROFIT. When the press rightly accuses the criminal activity of the vatican, the likes of you say it is a witch hunt and I always thought the hunting down of heretics was an expertise of the RCC. You have obviously bought into the "noble cause corruption" were the good can justify the evil. Start turning in the criminals and docu-ments without the need of subpoenas, do what is right, not what protects the wealth and power of the church.

      February 26, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Akira

      "The truth is that the incidence of abuse by Catholic clergy is less than that of Protestant, which is lower than that among Jewwish, all of which is dwarfed by the United States public school system."

      Citations for all of these assertions, Bill Deacon. I have seen you state this before, but I should like to know where you are getting this information from.
      Thank you.

      February 26, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon
      You did not address why Benny would lie in his speech? Ratzinger was well aware of the pedophile abuse, so how can he be shocked by the revelations? So please explain why the Rat found it neccesary to lie to the faithful? The vicar of christ on earth maintaining the cover up and you approve by your silence.

      February 26, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      I fear that Bill Deacon is a coward unwilling or unable to face the truth of what has happened in his faith. That a member of the hierarchy of the RCC will come out and say that up to 50% of the clergy are probably gay (not pedophiles), but Bill can not acknowledge this, he has to maintain his delusion.

      February 26, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
  19. Reality

    Benedict's flaws are the same as the flaws in the RCC. He nor the next pope or any other future pope will not be able to correct said flaws as these errors are inherent in Christianity.

    An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.


    For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Too many pedophiliac priests, an all-male, aging, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    February 26, 2013 at 11:35 am |
  20. Bill Deacon

    Nice article.

    February 26, 2013 at 11:35 am |
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