Pope Celebrates Rocky 5th Anniversary

Beleaguered Vatican isn't exactly popping champagne

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 19, 2010 1:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – 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.

Pope Benedict XVI, center, delivers a blessing prior to a luncheon with Cardinals to mark the fifth anniversary of his election, in the Ducale Hall, at the Vatican, April 19, 2010.
Pope Benedict XVI, center, delivers a blessing prior to a luncheon with Cardinals to mark the fifth anniversary of his election, in the Ducale Hall, at the Vatican, April 19, 2010.   (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
Pope Benedict XVI greets the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, in this April 19, 2005, file photo. Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, who chose the name Pope Benedict XVI, became the 265th pontiff.
Pope Benedict XVI greets the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, in this April 19, 2005, file photo. Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, who chose the name Pope Benedict XVI, became the 265th...   (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis, File)
Newly elected Pope Benedict XVI waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, in this April 19, 2005 file photo.
Newly elected Pope Benedict XVI waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, in this April 19, 2005 file photo.   (AP Photo/Domenico Stinelli)
Newly elected Pope Benedict XVI waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica in this April 19, 2005 file photo.
Newly elected Pope Benedict XVI waves to the crowd from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica in this April 19, 2005 file photo.   (AP Photo/Domenico Stinelli, files)
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