Pope Benedict XVI’s Resignation

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Dr. Anthea Butler, an associate professor of religious studies and graduate chair in the School of Arts and Sciences, is an advocate for the public understanding of religion.  She is a contributing editor to Religion Dispatches. She is the author of Women in the Church of God in Christ, Making A Sanctified World and the forthcoming The Gospel According to Sarah: How Sarah Palin's Tea Party Angels Are Galvinizing the Religious Right

Quote: “The pope may have hinted at this resignation two years ago when he visited the tomb of the last pope who resigned, Celestine V. It is rare for a Pope to resign, but the troubles at the Vatican (sex abuse scandals, Pope's butler stealing documents) may have played a part in his declining health and decision to resign”

Dr. Ann Matter, professor of religious studies in the School of Arts and Sciences, teaches and studies the history of Christianity in the Middle Ages and Early Modern periods. Dr. Matter's research encompasses the history of interpretations of the Bible and the history of Christian culture.  Her most recent books include The Voice of My Beloved: The Song of Songs in Western Medieval Christianity and Creative Women in Medieval and Early Modern Italy.

Quote: “This is really unexpected, but it reopens the discussion that swirled around the last conclave, when Benedict was elected, that is, will the next pope be a non- European?  That will be interesting to see.”

Dr. Melissa Wilde, associate professor of sociology in the School of Arts and Sciences, is the author of Vatican II, A Sociological Analysis of Religious Change. She led a team of researchers that investigated data from the Vatican Secret Archive to determine the critical factors influencing how bishops voted at the Second Vatican Council. 

Quote: “I believe that he's actually really sick, watched John Paul II decline publicly and wants to avoid a similar fate.”