Analysis

Vatican Sources: Power Struggle Continues, Cardinals Intent on “Governing Reformer” as Pope
Pope Benedict XVI prepares to speak to cardinals who have arrived at the Vatican to select his successor before he retires tonight. Benedict urged the cardinals to work in unity and promised his 'unconditional reverence and obedience' to his successor as he becomes the first pope in 600 years to resign. (AP Photo/Vatican TV)
February 28, 2013
| Security
| Europe
Summary
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The heated power struggle that marked the period leading up to Pope Benedict XVI's announcement that he would resign continues in full fury. Cardinals will soon meet in conclave (possibly next week) to choose his successor and decide on a clear path forward for the Church.
 
LIGNET first reported on this power struggle as key to understanding the full context of Benedict's resignation, noting the scandals at the Vatican Bank and allegations of sexual misconduct at the highest levels of the Church hierarchy played a role in the Pope's decision to have a younger successor deal with these weighty problems.
 
Since LIGNET's intelligence briefing of February 20 on these matters, the Italian and international press have reported numerous new allegations. Vatican sources tell LIGNET that some of these are true and some are false, but what is indisputable is that many of the press stories have been generated from within the Vatican itself. The Holy See is filled with internal strife and the press, eager to publish lurid stories of intrigue and conflict, has been used as a tool by competing sides to influence the selection of the next Pope.
 
The stage has been set for a truly momentous gathering to choose the next Pope.
 
Vatican sources tell LIGNET the Cardinals are intent in using this papal selection to stop the Church's public relations hemorrhaging. The latest intrigue involving the selection of the next Pope and the four leading contenders are detailed in this report.
Pope Benedict XVI will step down today at 8 p.m. Rome time, the first Pope to do so since Pope Gregory XII resigned in 1415. He will keep the name Benedict XVI and will be known as the Roman pontiff emeritus or pope emeritus. His papal ring will be destroyed. Benedict will live in a convent on the Vatican grounds for a life of prayer and meditation and has said he will be "hidden from the world" after he steps down.
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