Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world, and many within the Roman Catholic Church, by announcing Monday, Feb. 11, that he would resign at the end of the month. His decision marks the first time in nearly six centuries that a pontiff has stepped down.
When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected to the Chair of St. Peter in April 2005, he was 78 years old and said that he did not expect to have a long papacy. His predecessor, John Paul II, was elected at the age of 58 and reigned for 26 years.
Benedict is 85 now and has been pope for more than seven years, and he has continued to chart new directions for the church in ways that will affect Catholicism in the U.S. and around the world for years to come.
A theologian and scholar by training – read his official biography at the Vatican’s website – Benedict has continued to write extensively even as he governs the church. Vatican experts say his body of writings, speeches and homilies may be as significant to understanding his pontificate as John Paul’s travels and public outreach were to assessing his reign.
The experts also note, however, that Benedict has traveled widely, and he has appointed many of the bishops now serving in dioceses around the world, as well as most of the cardinals who will vote on a successor in a conclave.
This edition of ReligionLink provides background, resources and contact information for experts for reporters taking stock of the papacy of Benedict XVI.
Why it matters
As the spiritual leader of more than 1.1 billion Catholics worldwide, and more than 60 million in the United States, the pope can have enormous influence on the religious, ethical and political choices of a large percentage of the population. His reign is watched with particular interest in America, where scandals have left the Catholic Church — the nation’s largest denomination — in turmoil. Moreover, the pope is considered an important global statesman who regularly receives other world leaders. He also makes his views known through his delegates to the United Nations, where the Holy See has a high-profile diplomatic mission.
Coverage of the pope’s decision
- Read the Feb. 11, 2013, New York Times story on Benedict’s announcement.
- Religion News Service provided a breaking-news explanation of what happens next at the Vatican, a roundup of reactions and a look at a dozen potential candidates to succeed the pope.
- ABC News posted five things for which it says the pope will be remembered.
- USA Today’s coverage includes stories about other popes who have stepped down and about some possible contenders to fill Benedict’s shoes. See also a Washington Post story about past papal resignations.
- President Barack Obama, whose relationship with U.S. Catholic leaders has been strained, told USA Today that he warmly remembers meeting the pope in 2009 and extends his best wishes to Benedict and those who will choose his successor.
- The Washington Post says Benedict made his decision months ago and told his brother, who is also a priest.
- A CNN blog post explores the possibility of the next pope being from Africa or Latin America.
- A Los Angeles Times blog post gives the reaction of Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, who participated in the 2005 conclave that elected Benedict as pope and who will travel to Rome to help choose the next pontiff.
- Radio Free Europe posted a Q-and-A interview with Kishore Jayabalan, who heads the Rome office of the U.S.-based Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. Among other things, the institute official speculates that Benedict might move back to Germany.
- Time magazine provided reactions from German leaders to the news about their native son.
- NBC News posted a timeline of the pope’s life.
Significant events and themes of Benedict’s papacy
Major writings: Benedict has written three encyclicals, which are the most authoritative documents a pope can issue. The Vatican website also has all of his apostolic letters and exhortations, as well as his speeches, sermons and other addresses organized by the year they were given. In addition, Benedict has written two popular books about the historical Jesus that reflect many of his major concerns about belief in Christ in the modern world. The first book, Jesus of Nazareth, about Jesus’ ministry, was published in 2007; Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week was published in 2011. A third book, on the infancy narratives, is expected to be published by Christmas 2012. One of his U.S.-based publishers, Ignatius Press, will publish this newest book. Ignatius has a complete list of their books by the pope. Our Sunday Visitor Publishing also publishes works by Benedict. A full list is here.
The Second Vatican Council: Benedict’s papacy is coinciding with 50th anniversary celebrations of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), regarded as the most significant event for the church in the 20th century. The council, often called Vatican II, paved the way for numerous reforms that were hailed by liberals. But they also sparked a reaction by conservatives. The battle for the legacy of Vatican II, and over how much it changed the church, or not, is a key template for viewing Catholicism in the age of Benedict XVI. The pope himself is seen as an ally of the conservatives, though he was considered a progressive reformer during the council, which he attended. Benedict set out his views on interpreting Vatican II in a December 2005 address to the Roman Curia.
Miscommunications: The so-called Vatileaks scandal, in which a papal aide, a “butler” by the name of Paolo Gabriele, allegedly passed along reams of internal Vatican memos to the press, generated enormous coverage in 2012. It also contributed to a perception that the Vatican under Benedict has been mismanaged and has been a hotbed of bureaucratic infighting. Actions were taken in 2012 to improve the Vatican’s communications structure in an effort to coordinate media strategy and better publicize papal initiatives.
Missteps: Other perceived missteps include the pope’s address in Regensburg in Germany in 2006 that included a passage about Islam that infuriated Muslims; the rehabilitation of several right-wing bishops from the schismatic Society of St. Pius X; the creation of an “ordinariate,” or special Anglican province, to create a haven for Anglicans upset with their church’s stands on the role of women and gays; and the pope’s remarks about condom use as he traveled to Africa in 2009.
Reconciliation with traditionalists: A priority for Benedict has been trying to heal the schism with the traditionalists who largely reject the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s and want to return to old rites like the Mass in Latin and in the Tridentine format. These traditionalists are concentrated in a breakaway group called the Society of St. Pius X, or SSPX. In January 2009 the pope rescinded the excommunications of four SSPX bishops despite their history of anti-Semitic statements and associations. One of the bishops, Richard Williamson, was known for minimizing the Holocaust. Still, efforts to bring the SSPX back in communion with Rome seemed to founder in 2012.
Changes to the Mass: In July 2007 Benedict decreed that the old Latin Mass, which had largely been replaced by a new rite in the vernacular, could be celebrated anywhere in the world. The old Mass is often known as the Tridentine rite, after the 16th-century Council of Trent. The move was part of the effort to reconcile with the SSPX, but it was also a longtime priority for Benedict. He followed up that move by promulgating a translation of the new, post-Vatican II rite that was aimed at reflecting more closely the original Latin texts. The new translations sparked widespread criticism, in the United States in particular. Benedict’s penchant for using centuries-old vestments is also a notable aspect of his approach to the liturgy.
Relations with Judaism: The reintroduction of the old Latin Mass also upset many in the Jewish community, who worried that its language signaled a retreat from the new relationship between Judaism and Catholicism that grew out of Vatican II. The tone of Benedict’s addresses to Jewish groups, particularly early in his papacy, also dismayed some in the Jewish community.
Clergy sexual abuse scandal: Early in his papacy, Benedict came under scrutiny over questions about his own record when he was head of the Archdiocese of Munich in the 1970s, and for questions about his approach to abuse cases while he was a top Vatican official in the 1990s. As pope, Benedict was viewed as taking a more aggressive stand against abusers than did his predecessor. Critics said Benedict still did not go far enough. In the United States, the 2012 convictions of a high-ranking church official in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Bishop Robert Finn in Missouri for covering up for abusers raised further questions about the hierarchy’s commitment to accountability.
Investigation of American nuns: The announcement in April 2012 that Benedict was launching an overhaul of a leading group of American nuns, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, touched off a long-running controversy that seemed to pit the male leadership in Rome against the sisters, who remain very popular with the public. The LCWR rejected the Vatican’s claims that the nuns were dissenting from church teaching or spending too much time on social justice issues. The furor clouded prospects for the investigation. An earlier Vatican-led “visitation” of all communities of women religious in the U.S. was toned down after adverse publicity over the move.
Reining in dissent: The Vatican was also perceived to be targeting women when it sharply criticized the works of a well-known nun and theologian, Margaret Farley, in June 2012. A year earlier, the U.S. bishops had criticized the theological works of another theologian, Sister Elizabeth Johnson. But under Benedict, the hierarchy was continuing a policy of critiquing and sometimes silencing theologians whose works it claimed went against orthodox church teaching. In 2007, Jesuit theologian Jon Sobrino was criticized by the Vatican, and the Rev. Peter Phan of Georgetown was also put under scrutiny. In 2009, Jesuit theologian Roger Haight was disciplined for his writings.
Restocking the hierarchy: As of September 2012, it was estimated that Benedict had appointed about 60 percent of all U.S. bishops, and he had named most of the leaders of the pre-eminent dioceses, such as New York, Washington and Los Angeles. Benedict had also named 84 cardinals, a majority of the voting-age members of the College of Cardinals.
International travels: Benedict made two dozen trips outside of Italy, despite his age and increasing concern about his stamina and an arthritic condition in his legs that causes him pain. See a list of all his trips at the Vatican website.
Books and biographies
- My Brother the Pope is a 2012 memoir by the pope’s brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, that provides many personal insights into Joseph Ratzinger.
- Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times is a 2010 book-length interview with Benedict that sheds light on his views on a range of topics.
- The Rise of Benedict XVI: The Inside Story of How the Pope Was Elected and Where He Will Take the Catholic Church, by John L. Allen Jr.
- Pope Benedict XVI: A Biography of Joseph Ratzinger is a reissue of a 2000 biography of Ratzinger by Allen, subtitled The Vatican’s Enforcer of the Faith. Allen later said he thought that book was too harsh on Ratzinger.
- God’s Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church, by George Weigel.
- The Making of the Pope 2005, by the Rev. Andrew M. Greeley. The well-known priest-sociologist-novelist updated his 1978 classic for the last conclave.
- Pope Benedict XVI: The Conscience of Our Age, by the Rev. D. Vincent Twomey, a longtime friend of the pope’s who at one time was a doctoral student under him.
- A Church in Search of Itself: Benedict XVI and the Battle for the Future, by Robert Blair Kaiser. Kaiser is a former priest and author of several books on the Catholic Church.
- Holy Father: Pope Benedict XVI: Pontiff for a New Era, by Greg Tobin, an author and spokesman for the president of Seton Hall University in New Jersey.
- Pope Benedict XVI: Successor to Peter, by the Rev. Michael Collins, an Irish priest teaching in Rome.
- We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI, by Matthew E. Bunson, an expert on the church and author of numerous books on Catholicism.
- Pope Benedict XVI: A Personal Portrait, by Heinz-Joachim Fischer. Fischer, Rome correspondent for a leading German newspaper, focuses on Benedict’s career as a cardinal and head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He has known Ratzinger since 1976.
- The Thought of Pope Benedict XVI: An Introduction to the Theology of Joseph Ratzinger, by the Rev. Aidan Nichols. This is an update of a book on Ratzinger’s theology written in the 1980s by Nichols, an English Dominican.
- Pope Benedict XVI: His Life and Mission, by Stephen Mansfield. Mansfield is a Protestant and author of a spiritual biography of President Bush.
- Benedict XVI: The Man Who Was Ratzinger, by Michael S. Rose, a trenchant conservative whose other books have excoriated modern church architecture and the presence of homosexuals in the priesthood.
- The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved, by Matthew Fox. Fox is a former Dominican priest and theologian who was silenced by the Vatican in 1988 for his writings. Fox is now an Episcopal priest.
- Read the text of the pope’s announcement.
- Ignatius Press in San Francisco is the publisher of many of Benedict’s works in English, including all those he wrote as a priest and cardinal. The CEO of Ignatius Press is Mark Brumley. Contact 415-387-2324, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Image Books, a division of Random House, has published two of his English-language books, including his most recent. In addition, Image will publish the Spanish-language edition of The Infancy Narratives in the United States in February 2013. Contact Beverly Rykerd, publicity manager for Random’s WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, 719-268-1935, email@example.com.
- Vaticanologist Sandro Magister is an Italian journalist whose web site, Chiesa, has an English-language archive of Magister’s insider essays on the Vatican, including all the developments of Benedict’s papacy.
- The New York Times has a Times Topics page on Benedict.
- The BBC profiled the pope on Sept. 3, 2010.
- For useful links and much fun and lots of Pope Benedict XVI merchandise, visit the website for the Pope Benedict XVI Fan Club.
See also these past ReligionLink editions:
- The reign of Pope John Paul II (February 2005)
- A handbook on Pope John Paul II and electoral politics in the Vatican (April 2005)
National and international sources
- John L. Allen Jr. is senior correspondent for National Catholic Reporter, a leading national Catholic weekly. He is the author of The Rise of Benedict XVI: The Inside Story of How the Pope Was Elected and Where He Will Take the Catholic Church. Allen is considered a leading English-language expert and commentator on the papacy and Benedict in particular. Contact by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Helen Alvaré is an associate professor of law at George Mason University. She has a master’s in theology and serves as an adviser to the pope’s Pontifical Council for the Laity. She is a former spokeswoman for the U.S. bishops on pro-life issues. Contact 703-993-9845, email@example.com.
- Christopher Bellitto is chair and associate professor of history at Kean University in New Jersey, where he teaches a course on the papacy. His books include 101 Questions & Answers on Popes and the Papacy. He has also written many articles on Catholicism and is a regular television commentator on Vatican stories. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org (email preferred).
- Gregory R. Erlandson is president of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, which produces a number of Pope Benedict XVI’s works. Erlandson is co-author of the 2010 book Pope Benedict XVI and the Sexual Abuse Crisis: Working for Reform and Renewal. He also worked in Rome covering the Vatican for Catholic News Service. Contact Our Sunday Visitor publicist Christine Valentine-Owsik, 215-230-8095, COwsik@osv.com.
- The Rev. Joseph Fessio is a former student of Cardinal Ratzinger and remains a confidant of the pope. Fessio, a Jesuit priest, is a widely quoted promoter and defender of Benedict and of conservative Catholic views. He is founder and editor of Ignatius Press. Contact through Ignatius Press publicist Rose Trabbic, 239-867-4180, email@example.com.
- The Rev. John T. Ford is a professor at the school of theology and religious studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington. He has often used Benedict’s books as texts in his courses on Christianity. Contact 202-319-6501, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Rev. Matthew Fox is a former Dominican priest who was silenced by the Vatican in 1988 for his theological writings. Fox is now an Episcopal priest. He is the author of a 2011 book, The Pope’s War: Why Ratzinger’s Secret Crusade Has Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved. Contact through his executive assistant, Dennis Edwards, 510-835-0655, email@example.com.
- Mary Ann Glendon is a professor at Harvard Law School and a vocal advocate of the Vatican’s views on women, abortion, sexuality and related issues. In 2004, John Paul appointed her as head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, at that time the highest Vatican post ever held by a woman. In 2008-09, she was U.S. ambassador to the Holy See. Contact at 617-495-4769 or through her assistant, Susan Norton, 617-496-2609, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sister Jeannine Gramick is a Maryland-based member of the Sisters of Loretto religious order. She has been deeply involved in ministry to homosexuals but in 1999 was ordered by then-Cardinal Ratzinger to cease her activities because Ratzinger’s office said they did not conform to Catholic teaching. She was subsequently silenced by her previous religious order, which led to her becoming a Sister of Loretto, which has allowed her to continue to speak out. Contact 301-864-3604, email@example.com.
- The Rev. Robert P. Imbelli is a theologian at Boston College and has written and commented widely on the theology and policies of John Paul and Pope Benedict. Contact 617-552-8298, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sister Mary Johnson is professor of sociology and religious studies at Emmanuel College in Boston who has given guest lectures in Australia, Europe and North America on Catholicism. She is a co-author of Young Adult Catholics: Religion in the Culture of Choice. Contact 617-735-9830, email@example.com.
- The Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak is professor emeritus of religious studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Komonchak has written frequently about Ratzinger’s thought and theology, and his June 3, 2005, article “The Church in Crisis: Pope Benedict’s Theological Vision” in Commonweal magazine was recognized for its insight. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Robert Mickens is an American journalist in Rome, where he works as Vatican correspondent for The Tablet, a highly respected Catholic weekly published in London. Contact 011-39-329-748-7708, email@example.com.
- J. Peter Pham is director of the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C. He is a former Vatican diplomat who worked under John Paul II and is author of Heirs of the Fisherman: Behind the Scenes of Papal Death and Succession. Pham is a frequent commentator on papal politics and processes. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Rev. Thomas J. Reese is a Jesuit and senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Woodstock Theological Center in Washington, D.C. Reese is the leading political scientist of the church and author of Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church. He was also the longtime editor of America magazine, a national Jesuit weekly of opinion, but stepped down after Benedict’s election, reportedly at the insistence of Benedict just before the conclave. Reese has not commented on that episode but is widely quoted on other aspects of the church and the papacy. Contact 202-687-3532 or email through Georgetown’s website.
- Jon Sweeney is editor-in-chief at Paraclete Press and author of The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death and Salvation (2012). The book tells the story of Celestine V, described as the only other pope in history to resign willingly and of his own accord. Contact publicist Katie Moore, 719-268-1936, email@example.com.
- George Weigel is a conservative Catholic theologian and commentator and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. He is the author of God’s Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church. He also wrote Witness to Hope, essentially the authorized biography of Pope John Paul II. Contact through Stephen P. White, 202-715-3512, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lisa Sowle Cahill is the J. Donald Monan Professor of Theology at Boston College and a veteran writer and commentator on issues of sex and gender in Catholicism. Contact 617-552-3890, Lisa.Cahill@bc.edu.
- The Rev. Anthony J. Ciorra is assistant vice president for mission and Catholic identity at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn. He can discuss the significant themes of the Benedict XVI papacy, including key differences with those of John Paul II. Contact 203-371-7912, email@example.com.
- Nancy Dallavalle is an associate professor of religious studies at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn., where she teaches a course on the papacy. She is an expert on popes and the papacy, the pope as a world leader and media treatment of the pope. Contact 203-254-4000 ext. 2364, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Thomas Groome is professor of theology and religious education at Boston College. His areas of expertise include the contemporary and historical Roman Catholic Church, the laity and the papacy. Contact 617-552-8449, email@example.com.
- Alice L. Laffey is an associate professor of religious studies at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. She has written a history of papal statements and the evolution of papal teaching, and she can address issues regarding women and gender. Contact 508-793-3359, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Paul Lakeland holds the Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., Chair in Catholic Studies at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn. His areas of expertise include the role of the laity in the church and recentralization of authority under recent popes. Contact email@example.com.
- Stephen Pope is a theology professor at Boston College and a frequent commentator on church affairs and the papacy. Contact 617-552-3892, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mathew N. Schmalz is an associate professor of religious studies at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. He specializes in global Catholicism, the papacy and Catholicism/culture issues in the U.S. Contact 508-793-2557, email@example.com.
- The Rev. Thomas Worcester is a history professor at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., where he teaches a course on the papacy. He is co-editor of The Papacy Since 1500: From Italian Prince to Universal Pastor (2010). Contact 508-793-2784, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Frank J. Coppa is professor emeritus of history at St. John’s University in Jamaica, N.Y., and editor of the Encyclopedia of the Vatican and Papacy and The Modern Papacy Since 1789. Contact email@example.com.
- Chester Gillis holds the Amaturo Chair in Catholic Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. His books include (as editor) The Political Papacy: John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Their Influence. Contact 202-687-4259, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- John S. Grabowski is an associate professor of religious studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He specializes in ethics and moral theology and in particular can discuss the teachings of Pope John Paul II, especially those related to marriage, the family and sexuality. Contact 202-319-6509, email@example.com.
- Monsignor Kevin Irwin is professor of liturgical studies at the Catholic University of America. He can discuss the progression of Benedict’s views on human stewardship of natural resources in his major discourses of moral teaching. Contact Irwin, who is currently in Rome, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Stephen D. Miles is an associate professor of theology at Immaculata University in Pennsylvania whose teaching and research interests include the Catholic Church and the pope. Contact 610-647-4400 ext. 3669, email@example.com.
- The Rev. Mark Morozowich is dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He can discuss Benedict’s legacy, particularly his contribution to the Eastern churches, and general topics related to the Vatican. Morozowich is an authority on early Christian liturgy and eastern Churches (Orthodox and Catholic). Contact 202-319-5684, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Rocco Palmo is a Philadelphia-based writer and a frequently quoted expert on Vatican developments. His blog, Whispers in the Loggia, is one of the most popular sites in the Catholic blogosphere. Contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Kenneth Pennington holds the Kelly-Quinn Chair of Ecclesiastical and Legal History at the Catholic University of America and is an expert in church history and canon law. Contact 202-319-5150 or 202-319-6264, email@example.com.
- Christopher Ruddy is associate professor of historical and systematic theology at the Catholic University of America. He wrote about the theology of Pope Benedict in a June 3, 2005, Commonweal magazine article titled “No Restorationist.” Contact 202-319-6506, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Greg Tobin is a senior adviser for communications at Seton Hall University in New Jersey and an author. His books include Holy Father: Pope Benedict XVI, Pontiff for a New Era, and Selecting the Pope: Uncovering the Mysteries of Papal Elections (2009). Contact 973-378-9856, email@example.com.
- Monsignor Robert Wister is a leading expert on the history of the papacy. He is professor of church history at Immaculate Conception School of Theology at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. He earned a doctorate in church history at the Gregorian University in Rome. Contact 973-275-2032, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Rev. Gerald P. Fogarty is a professor of religious studies and history at the University of Virginia and an expert on the Vatican. He is author of several books. Contact 434-924-6707, email@example.com.
- Joseph Iannone is dean emeritus of the School of Theology and Ministry at St. Thomas University in Miami, Fla. He is well-versed in the issues facing contemporary Catholicism and the papacy. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Phillip Thompson is executive director of Emory University’s Aquinas Center of Theology. The Aquinas Center is one of four independent Catholic intellectual centers at a non-Catholic U.S. university. Contact 404-550-9046, email@example.com.
- The Rev. Peter J. Bernardi is associate professor of religious studies at Loyola University in New Orleans. He can talk about the papacy in the contemporary world. He contributed an essay to the collection in Catholicism Contending With Modernity: Roman Catholic Modernism and Anti-Modernism in Historical Context. Contact 504-865-3941, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Rev. William F. Maestri is a theologian with a specialty in bioethics. Maestri can be reached through the communications office of the New Orleans archdiocese, 504-596-3023, email@example.com.
- The Rev. Steven M. Avella is a history professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee and an expert on the papacy. Contact 414-288-3556, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Rev. Richard Costigan is professor emeritus of theology at Loyola University in Chicago. He is an expert on the papacy and papal history and controversies. Contact email@example.com.
- Dennis Doyle is a professor of religious studies at the University of Dayton and a frequent commentator and author on Catholic issues and the papacy. Contact 937-229-4219, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Rev. Michael A. Fahey is professor emeritus of theological studies at Marquette University in Milwaukee. He is an expert on the history and office of the papacy, and papal elections. Contact email@example.com.
- Rabbi Abie Ingber is an adjunct professor of theology at Xavier University in Cincinnati. He can discuss the pope as a world leader in Catholic-Jewish dialogue. Contact 513-745-3780, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ulrich Lehner is an associate professor of theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee. He knows Pope Benedict XVI personally and studied in his department at the University of Regensburg in Germany. Contact 414-288-7333, email@example.com.
- Sandra Yocum Mize is chair of religious studies at the University of Dayton and specializes in the history of theology, which is Benedict’s forte. Contact 937-229-4321, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Rev. Charles E. Curran is the Scurlock Professor of Human Values at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He is a liberal theologian who was dismissed from the Catholic University of America for his teachings on human sexuality after an extended struggle, which included meetings with then-Cardinal Ratzinger. Contact 214-768-4073, email@example.com.
- Robert Blair Kaiser covered Vatican II for Time magazine and is the author of several books on the Catholic Church, including A Church in Search of Itself: Benedict XVI and the Battle for the Future. Kaiser lives in Phoenix, Ariz. Contact 602-358-7274, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Rev. James Eblen is an associate professor in Seattle University’s School of Theology & Ministry who can speak about the papacy. Contact 206-296-5339, email@example.com.
- Brother Charles Hilken is a history professor at St. Mary’s College of California. Papal elections and the history of the papacy are among his areas of expertise. Contact 925-631-4611, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Rev. Patrick Howell is rector of the Jesuit Community at Seattle University and professor of pastoral theology. He co-edited the book Empowering Authority: The Charisms of Episcopacy and Primacy in the Church Today. Contact 206-296-5331, email@example.com.
- Christopher Kaczor is a philosophy professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and author of The Seven Big Myths About the Catholic Church: Distinguishing Fact From Fiction About Catholicism (2012). He can discuss Benedict’s legacy and likely successors. Contact 310-338-5170, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Rev. Thomas P. Rausch is a professor of theology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. A Catholic priest, Rausch is the author of Pope Benedict XVI: An Introduction to His Theological Vision (2009). Contact 310-338-7670, email@example.com.