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Watching the Watchdog: The Separation of Church and Journalism

Posted: 02/13/2013 5:53 pm

Tim Knight writes the regular media column, Watching the Watchdog, for HuffPost Canada.

Name me a job where it's normal, even expected, for bosses and employees to disagree in public -- sometimes fundamentally -- while everyone agrees that doing so is a laudable example of professional integrity.

Certainly it doesn't apply to lawyers, bankers, bricklayers, chefs, politicians, police, prostitutes, priests etc. etc. etc. Woe betide any of those folk who don't do what the boss tells them! But it is what journalists are expected to do.

It's a grand old tradition of the craft. In fact, it's the very basis of what we do. Because, by long tradition, our first loyalty is and must be to the people we serve. Not our bosses, not our unions, not whatever causes we believe in.

The people.

I'm reminded of this by coverage of the resignation of Benedict XVl, the 266th Pope of Rome.

There on the front page of the Globe and Mail ("Canada's National Newspaper") is a five-column, full-colour photograph of Benedict, far in the distance, announcing his exit to some 40 of his cardinals. It's a pretty picture; all those identical ancient men resplendent in scarlet choir dress gowns, birettas and lacy white aprons sitting under a vaguely erotic painting of some half-naked (male) saint.

Makes one wonder why so many of the church's princes -- one of whom is almost certain to be elevated to Benedict's job -- happen to be hanging around the Vatican on this particular day. Shouldn't they be out working? Or did God tip them off that good news was imminent?

But I digress.

Right under the Globe's big picture is a small portrait of Benedict with the caption:

"The Legacy. On sexually abusive priests, Benedict leaves behind a criticized yet complex history."

Turn to page eight and its five-column headline:

"Benedict's Legacy. A papacy stained by the spectre of abuse."

Underneath, the story by the Globe's distinguished urban affairs reporter, Michael Valpy. He pulls no punches:

"Benedict' XVl's eight-year reign as Pope was a losing battle against perception -- most tellingly the perception that, as absolute ruler of the Roman Catholic Church, he did far less than enough to rid it of the cancer of sexually abusive priests and may be been complicit in its spread."

A little further down, Valpy refers to Benedict's record "of handling the church's horrific calumny of sex abuse."

On page 10, Paul Waldie reports under the heading "Sex Abuse Claims."

"The church faces lawsuits, not to mention seething anger, from thousands of people in North American and Europe who were victims of abuse by priests ... Many saw Pope Benedict as a major obstacle in the issue."

Then on page 14, Eric Reguly's report from Rome:

"He will be forever associated with, and somewhat tainted by, the sexual abuse scandals which handed the church its greatest crisis since the Second World War ... His clean-up effort, while more extensive than any previous pope's, was widely considered less aggressive than it should have been."

All in all, some five pages of Benedictine coverage. With every story not devoted to some specifically peripheral issue mentioning the thousands of documented examples of churchly sex abuse (although none dared call it by its correct term -- child rape.)

Then, in blatant contrast, comes the Globe's Editorial page. The page that reflects the philosophy of the folk who own the newspaper. The anonymous lead editorial headline is nothing less than a tribute from one powerful prince to another:

"Benedict XVl. Intellect and independence."

Whoever wrote it praises Benedict's modesty, his "undoubted articulateness and lucidity" and his being "a good CEO." It goes on:

"In short, Benedict has successfully fulfilled the teaching function of his office, however mixed his record as an administrator may be."

Sex abuse? Child rape by Benedict's priests? Here's the only reference:

"He established reasonably solid reforms to prevent any recurrence of priests' sexual abuse of children ... but he has been less effective in holding individuals accountable for past wrongdoing."

Which is a bit like saying that slippery Senators Brazeau, Duffy and Harb have done one fine job by highlighting the Canadian senate's tendency to sloppy morality.

All of which brings me to the Globe's op-ed page. The page opposite the editorials. There, in all its glory, is a large Anthony Jenkins-drawn caricature of Benedict looking like a battle-hardened Mafia boss waving ecclesiastically as he bids farewell.

Obsequious headline: "Pope Benedict offers us another great teaching." Subhead: "The 'simple and humble' man of the church demonstrates the frailty and weakness of mankind."

Any mention of the child rapes that happened under the reign and authority of this simple and humble man? Not a word. Nada. Instead, fawning praise for Benedict as:

"One of the greatest teachers of the faith that the church has ever known."

The article ends with the immortal words:

"It is a time ... to give thanks for this brilliant pastor and a time to learn eternal lessons from a great teacher."

Unlike that other fawning commentary on the editorial page opposite however, this column is signed. By one Thomas Rosica, described as "CEO of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation." It isn't mentioned, but Rosica also happens to be the Vatican's media attaché. Its public relations flack.

Right after the Pope's resignation announcement, Rosica was hawked around as many newspaper, TV and radio newsrooms as could be fitted into his day and would listen to his sophistry. His job, which he did very well, was to deliver bromide after bromide, banality after banality, platitude after platitude.

And if a lie can be the absence of truth -- lie after lie after lie.

I suggest that much more appropriate words for the Globe's anonymous editorial writer and Rosica -- and for Benedict himself -- would have been these lines from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer:

"We have left undone those things which we ought to have done;

"And we have done those things which we ought not to have done;

"And there is no health in us."

So what's my point?

It's simply that good journalists, almost uniquely in our workplace culture, are independent operators and thinkers who don't write stories to fit in with the philosophies of their bosses.

It's a right we've fought for over the centuries.

It's one of the glories of our craft.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Master of ceremonies Bishop Guido Marini passes the Pastoral staff to Pope Benedict XVI during the celebration of Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI arrives in St. Peter's Basilica on the occasion of the celebration of Ash Wednesday mass at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI arrives in St. Peter's Basilica on the occasion of the celebration of Ash Wednesday mass at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI holds the pastoral staff during the celebration of Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI arrive to leads Ash Wednesday mass at the Vatican

    Pope Benedict XVI arrives in St. Peter's Basilica on the occasion of the celebration of Ash Wednesday mass at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Pool)

  • Cardinal Angelo Comastri puts ash on Pope Benedict XVI's head during the celebration of Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI blesses the ashes as he celebrates the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI puts the ashes on Cardinal Angelo Comastri's head during the celebration of Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Bishop Guido Marini holds Pope Benedict XVI's skull cap during the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI is helped by master of ceremonies to walk on the altar as he celebrates the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • An unidentified prelate holds Pope Benedict XVI's miter during the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI blesses the ashes as he celebrates the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI holds the pastoral staff during the celebration of Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • An unidentified prelate holds Pope Benedict XVI's miter during the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Cardinal Angelo Comastri puts ash on Pope Benedict XVI's head during the celebration of Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI holds up the host as he celebrates the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI gives the communion to a nun as he celebrates the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a solemn period of 40 days of prayer and self-denial leading up to Easter. Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was resigning for "the good of the church", an extraordinary scene of a pope explaining himself to his flock that unfolded in his first appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

  • Pope Benedict XVI

    Pope Benedict XVI drinks during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday he was stepping down as pope for "the good of the church," explaining his decision to thousands of faithful in his first public appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement of his resignation. Looking tired but serene, Benedict received more than a minute-long standing ovation when he entered the packed audience hall for his traditional Wednesday general audience. He was interrupted by applause by the thousands of people, many of whom had tears in their eyes. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Pope Benedict XVI

    Pope Benedict XVI drinks during his weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013. Looking tired but serene, Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was stepping down for "the good of the church," speaking in his first public appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement of his resignation. The 85-year-old Benedict basked in more than a minute-long standing ovation when he entered the packed audience hall for his traditional Wednesday general audience. He was interrupted by applause by the thousands of people, many of whom had tears in their eyes. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Pope Benedict XVI is flanked by his private secretary Archbishop Georg Ganswein as he arrives for his weekly general audience at the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013. Thousands of people flooded the Vatican's main audience hall Wednesday for Pope Benedict XVI's first public appearance since his bombshell resignation announcement, taking advantage of his second-to-last public audience before retiring at the end of the month. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Pope Benedict XVI is flanked by his private secretary Archbishop Georg Ganswein as he arrives for his weekly general audience at the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI is telling the faithful in his first public appearance since announcing his resignation that he stepping down for "the good of the church." Benedict received a lengthy standing ovation when he entered the packed audience hall Wednesday. He was interrupted by applause by the throngs of people, many of whom had tears in their eyes. At the start of his audience, he repeated in Italian what he had told cardinals Monday in Latin: that he simply didn't have the strength to continue. He said "I did this in full liberty for the good of the church." (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Pope Benedict XVI arrives for his weekly general audience at the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI is telling the faithful in his first public appearance since announcing his resignation that he stepping down for "the good of the church." Benedict received a lengthy standing ovation when he entered the packed audience hall Wednesday. He was interrupted by applause by the throngs of people, many of whom had tears in their eyes. At the start of his audience, he repeated in Italian what he had told cardinals Monday in Latin: that he simply didn't have the strength to continue. He said "I did this in full liberty for the good of the church." (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Pope Benedict XVI

    Pope Benedict XVI arrives for his weekly general audience at the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI is telling the faithful in his first public appearance since announcing his resignation that he stepping down for "the good of the church." Benedict received a lengthy standing ovation when he entered the packed audience hall Wednesday. He was interrupted by applause by the throngs of people, many of whom had tears in their eyes. At the start of his audience, he repeated in Italian what he had told cardinals Monday in Latin: that he simply didn't have the strength to continue. He said "I did this in full liberty for the good of the church." (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Pope Benedict XVI

    Pope Benedict XVI sits beside his private secretary Archbishop Georg Ganswein, top left, during his weekly general audience at the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013. Pope Benedict XVI is telling the faithful in his first public appearance since announcing his resignation that he stepping down for "the good of the church." Benedict received a lengthy standing ovation when he entered the packed audience hall Wednesday. He was interrupted by applause by the throngs of people, many of whom had tears in their eyes. At the start of his audience, he repeated in Italian what he had told cardinals Monday in Latin: that he simply didn't have the strength to continue. He said "I did this in full liberty for the good of the church." (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Pope Benedict XVI arrives for his weekly general audience at the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013. Thousands of people flooded the Vatican's main audience hall Wednesday for Pope Benedict XVI's first public appearance since his bombshell resignation announcement, taking advantage of his second-to-last public audience before retiring at the end of the month. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

    Pope Benedict XVI arrives for his weekly general audience on February 13, 2013 at the Paul VI hall at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI made his first public appearance Wednesday since the shock announcement of his resignation, sticking with his schedule by presiding over his weekly general audience. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE,FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

    Pope Benedict XVI takes place for his weekly general audience on February 13, 2013 at the Paul VI hall at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI made his first public appearance Wednesday since the shock announcement of his resignation, sticking with his schedule by presiding over his weekly general audience. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE,FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

    Pope Benedict XVI arrives for his weekly general audience on February 13, 2013 at the Paul VI hall at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI made his first public appearance Wednesday since the shock announcement of his resignation, sticking with his schedule by presiding over his weekly general audience. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE ADDITIONAL CROP VERSION (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE,FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

    Pope Benedict XVI arrives for his weekly general audience on February 13, 2013 at the Paul VI hall at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI made his first public appearance Wednesday since the shock announcement of his resignation, sticking with his schedule by presiding over his weekly general audience. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE,FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

    Pope Benedict XVI takes place for his weekly general audience on February 13, 2013 at the Paul VI hall at the Vatican. With the benefit of hindsight, a series of clues leading up to Pope Benedict XVI's momentous resignation announcement this week suggest he had in fact been preparing the move for some time. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE,FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Pope Benedict XVI arrives for his weekly general audience at the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013. Thousands of people flooded the Vatican's main audience hall Wednesday for Pope Benedict XVI's first public appearance since his bombshell resignation announcement, taking advantage of his second-to-last public audience before retiring at the end of the month. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Pope Benedict XVI arrives for his weekly general audience at the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013.Pope Benedict XVI is telling the faithful in his first public appearance since announcing his resignation that he stepping down for "the good of the church." Benedict received a lengthy standing ovation when he entered the packed audience hall Wednesday. He was interrupted by applause by the throngs of people, many of whom had tears in their eyes. At the start of his audience, he repeated in Italian what he had told cardinals Monday in Latin: that he simply didn't have the strength to continue. He said "I did this in full liberty for the good of the church." (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Pope Benedict XVI arrives for his weekly general audience at the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013. Thousands of people flooded the Vatican's main audience hall Wednesday for Pope Benedict XVI's first public appearance since his bombshell resignation announcement, taking advantage of his second-to-last public audience before retiring at the end of the month. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

    Pope Benedict XVI takes place for his weekly general audience on February 13, 2013 at the Paul VI hall at the Vatican. With the benefit of hindsight, a series of clues leading up to Pope Benedict XVI's momentous resignation announcement this week suggest he had in fact been preparing the move for some time. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE,FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

    Pope Benedict XVI waves as he takes place for his weekly general audience on February 13, 2013 at the Paul VI hall at the Vatican. With the benefit of hindsight, a series of clues leading up to Pope Benedict XVI's momentous resignation announcement this week suggest he had in fact been preparing the move for some time. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE,FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE-SWISS GUARD

    A Swiss guard (back) waits for the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI for his weekly general audience on February 13, 2013 at the Paul VI hall at the Vatican. With the benefit of hindsight, a series of clues leading up to Pope Benedict XVI's momentous resignation announcement this week suggest he had in fact been preparing the move for some time. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE,FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE-SWISS GUARD

    A Swiss guard waits for the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI for his weekly general audience on February 13, 2013 at the Paul VI hall at the Vatican. With the benefit of hindsight, a series of clues leading up to Pope Benedict XVI's momentous resignation announcement this week suggest he had in fact been preparing the move for some time. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE,FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

    Faithful take place prior the pontif's weekly general audience on February 13, 2013 at the Paul VI hall at the Vatican. With the benefit of hindsight, a series of clues leading up to Pope Benedict XVI's momentous resignation announcement this week suggest he had in fact been preparing the move for some time. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE,FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

    Nuns attend the pontif's weekly general audience on February 13, 2013 at the Paul VI hall at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI made his first public appearance Wednesday since the shock announcement of his resignation, sticking with his schedule by presiding over his weekly general audience. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE,FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

    Faithful hold a banner reading 'Thank you holiness' during the pontif's weekly general audience on February 13, 2013 at the Paul VI hall at the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI made his first public appearance Wednesday since the shock announcement of his resignation, sticking with his schedule by presiding over his weekly general audience. AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE,FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Pope Benedict XVI

    Nuns cheer during Pope Benedict XVI's weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013. Looking tired but serene, Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was stepping down for "the good of the church," speaking in his first public appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement of his resignation. The 85-year-old Benedict basked in more than a minute-long standing ovation when he entered the packed audience hall for his traditional Wednesday general audience. He was interrupted by applause by the thousands of people, many of whom had tears in their eyes. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Pope Benedict XVI

    Faithful hold a banner reading in Italian "Grazie Santita' " (Thank you Your Holiness) during Pope Benedict XVI's weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Wednesday Feb. 13, 2013. Looking tired but serene, Pope Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful Wednesday that he was stepping down for "the good of the church," speaking in his first public appearance since dropping the bombshell announcement of his resignation. The 85-year-old Benedict basked in more than a minute-long standing ovation when he entered the packed audience hall for his traditional Wednesday general audience. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

 

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