Get unlimited digital access to $0.99 for 4 weeks.


Martin Luther
Pope Benedict and the problem of leadership
Pope Benedict and the problem of leadership

When Pope Benedict XVI shockingly announced his impending retirement this week, it was a sign that the contemporary world's relentless reinvention of leadership has reached into even our oldest institutions. The Catholic Church's official list of popes, the Annuario Pontificio, names 265 popes (excluding some Antipopes), stretching back two millennia to St. Peter himself. In all that time, just four have resigned. And Benedict is the first to do so in six centuries. Why him, and why now? The immediate answer is that Pope Benedict realized that at 85 he is too old to carry out his duties; "strength of mind and body," he says, "has deteriorated in me to the...