Today marks the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict's ascension to the papacy, but they aren't exactly popping champagne at the beleaguered Vatican. At the moment Benedict is embroiled in a massive pedophilia scandal that could define his papal legacy, and it's not like he's had a charmed papacy until now, Sylvia Poggioli reports in a rather scathing piece for NPR. Benedict's a lousy communicator, and he's attracted a host of critics.
“This is a papacy of permanent crisis,” says one veteran Vatican correspondent, citing incidents like his comments about condoms and AIDs, or his various kerfuffles with Muslims and Jews. One Swiss theologian and longtime colleague of Benedict's has actually advised bishops to actively disobey him when he eschews necessary reforms. And the head of the Association of Young German Catholics says Benedict has utterly failed to reach kids. “There's no such thing as a generation Benedict,” he says.