“Now, however, with Benedict set to leave office eight years later in an unprecedented departure, many on the Catholic right are counting up the ways that Benedict failed them, and wondering how their favorite watchdog turned into a papal pussycat.”
All his initiatives remain incomplete,” Michael Brendan Dougherty, a Latin Mass enthusiast, lamented at Slate the day the pope made the shocking announcement that he would resign on Feb. 28….
Benedict did not sufficiently clean house in the clergy sex abuse scandal and did not appoint enough hard-liners to the hierarchy; he did not bring the old Latin Rite schismatics fully back in the fold, a mission that will likely end with his pontificate; he was too quick to mollify Muslims or pursue ecumenical gestures; and he charted, as Dougherty put it, “a precarious middle course” theologically.
Even his three encyclicals — the most authoritative documents a pope writes — focused on social justice issues and often embraced the kind of liberal policy prescriptions that sent conservatives into conniptions….
That vaunted German managerial instinct? It seemed to have no effect, as the Vatican under Benedict became a mismanaged palace of court intrigue and financial scandals, lurching from gaffe to disaster, and all exposed to public view when the pope’s own butler leaked reams of internal papal documents.
Benedict was “as bad as a pope has been for 200 years,” Joseph Bottum wrote in a withering verdict delivered in the latest edition of The Weekly Standard. “All in all,” he said, “a terrible executive of the Vatican.”