Always expect the unexpected. Abdication is not a tag which we ever used much on MercatorNet. Now, in two weeks, two heads of state have announced that they are stepping down – Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Benedict XVI, of the Holy See.
The Pope’s resignation came out of the blue even for the most obsessive Vaticanologist. After all, no Pope had resigned for almost 600 years – and then only under duress. Benedict XVI was the first to retire of his own free will, without external pressure of any kind. Since this was the lead story in nearly every paper in the world, we have also splashed on the news.
Fr Robert Gahl Jr, an American theologian, reports straight from Rome. Alex Perrottet, a New Zealand journalist who met the Pope during World Youth Day in Sydney, adds his reminiscences. And I have written an analysis of Benedict’s legacy to the Church he led for eight years.
That’s not all, of course. Raffaele Chiarulli reviews The Last Stand, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to the big screen. And from France Mary O'Neill Le Rumeur describes the impact of a stirring speech against same-sex marriage.